Will the coronavirus pandemic impact construction prices? Learn more about this complicated question.
What is a ranch? – A rendered aerial view of a ranch.

Other Tangents

What Is A Ranch?

Ranches conjure up all sorts of imagery in our imaginations. But when it comes down to designing one, what are we really talking about? It’s more than just the land, and it’s more than just the built structures — it is the symbiotic relationship between the two, and cultivating that requires careful exploration and design.

July 30, 2020

The word “ranch” conjures up such strong imagery — vast open plains, majestic mountain views, architectural features like a barn, or a long sturdy fence. Maybe you have had the good fortune to have been raised on a ranch, worked on a ranch, or currently own a ranch. Wherever your imagination takes you when you hear “ranch”, we can probably agree it all starts with the land. The larger the acreage, the larger the dream! The greater potential there is to engage with nature and to work with the landscape.

Mosey on up and let’s dive into a little bit about ranch design.

What is ranch design?

Breaking it down to its elemental components, ranch design is about working with the structures and the site, together: working with positive space — the built structures — and negative space — the land.

A black and white hand-sketch of Timothy hay fields.
Timothy Hay Fields

Perhaps when you think of a ranch you think of vast stretches of land. We like to think of them as a place where the functionality of nature and the built environment meet.

We strive to enhance the structures through the connection to the landscape, and enhance the enjoyment of the landscape, through the connection to the structures. It is a kind of symbiotic relationship, like yin and yang.

Depending on the type of ranch, its location, and the goals of the ranch owner, there are numerous features we might see in a design. A bold entry gate, the main house, a guest house/guest cabin, a caretaker residence, a horse barn, a vehicular barn, a riding arena, pastures, lean-tos, a tennis court, a swimming pool, walking trails, outdoor terraces, driveways, water features, gardens, vineyards, utility areas, those much needed back-of-house spaces for storage; the list could go on!

Black and white hand sketch of abandoned farm equipment.
Form & Function

When designing a ranch property, we consider the beauty a structure adds or takes away from the natural world as much as we consider the utility of each structure.

With a gazillion potential features, how does one plan a beautiful and functional ranch? We like to start a ranch design with a master plan for the whole property. A successful master plan captures the desired features, connects those features, and then ties those features to the land. As with any good design, there are always options. We want to show our clients the possibilities and like to work together to achieve that “aha” moment. It is a definitely fun process, too!

Often, the property is an existing ranch. In that case, we evaluate existing buildings, develop an understanding of the function and attributes of the place, and start the design process from there.

Cabins in Eastern Washington – Board & Vellum
Connecting to the Land

This cabin, placed on an existing ranch, was located on a previously developed area to reduce the burden of a new-build on the land.

Whether it is a new master plan, or designing around an existing ranch, we strive for sustainable solutions and this leads us back to the land.

Would you like to read more from the team?

If you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it, that just makes our day! You might also enjoy a few of the related posts below. And, if there is a topic that you wish we would cover, let us know!

What Is A Ranch?

Ranches conjure up all sorts of imagery in our imaginations. But when it comes down to designing one, what are we really talking about? It’s more than just the land, and it’s more than just the built structures — it is the symbiotic relationship between the two, and cultivating that requires careful exploration and design.

Top 5 Tips for Working From Home

So, you’re working from home. Maybe you’ve been part of a remote team for a while, or maybe this is your first foray into the world of telecommuting. Either way, Board & Vellum’s got your back with our Top 5 tips for working from home.

Use Your Words (Even When You Can’t)

Even in a profession where we quite literally draw pictures to communicate, words are incredibly important, too. Use them carefully, and precisely to get the job done right, and don’t forget that words can communicate very differently if they are said out loud versus written down, and there’s a time and place for both.

Considering a project? Or, just curious about something?

Send us your questions about design, architecture, interiors, landscape, third places, LEGO rooms… Anything, really. We’re always eager to meet new people, and we’d love to get to know you, your project, and your goals.

Get in touch.