Buy Barbara’s Book

Have you always wanted this fantastic manual for how to build and design with bales? Now’s your chance to get to grips with natural building, brush up on your bale dressing techniques – and so much more!

This 2015 edition of the book Building with Straw Bales by our Director Barbara Jones contains the most up-to-date straw bale building techniques, including sections on compression for both load bearing and infill designs, and how to build the roof first for load bearing buildings. Now in full colour for the first time, the beautiful photographs throughout this book illustrate the techniques described and show-case the diverse possibilities of straw-bale building.

A practical manual, it’s ideal for self-builders as well as architects and construction industry professionals. Straw-bale building is accessible to most people and provides immense opportunity for creative fun, enabling you to design and build the sort of shape and space you’d really like.

It covers design principles; different types of foundations; how to raise and stabilise walls and protect them from the weather, including a detailed analysis of how straw performs with humidity and how straw-bale buildings can easily meet Building Regulations requirements.

You can buy it direct from us via BACS for £22 (UK only) or £30 (Europe) including postage. Please email OR You can buy it via PayPal.

If you are from outside Europe, please email us as postage prices are now very high.

Review in Building Limes Forum 

Barbara has done it again and even better with this revised and extended 3rd edition of Building with Straw Bales. It is, as it plainly states on the cover, a ‘practical manual for self-builders and architects’, and those two groups, having read this volume, should certainly be able to successfully build a straw bale house.

It has, though, another quality, and that is its ability to inspire. From the opening lines of chapter one, which state the reasons why building with straw makes so much sense, and the reasons there aren’t more straw-bale houses – the predominant cause is “that there is no profit to be made in the usual way of a business selling a product” – to the final appendix on how to make a limecrete floor (accessed online), the book is full to the brim with a true passion.

It has a technical heart wrapped around with an undeniable philosophy and reads in such a conversational manner, that Barbara might be chatting to the reader over a cup of tea.

It is so comprehensive, however, that I cannot think of a single relevant thing that has been left out, and it is a high quality publication crammed with good, colourful photographs, well presented diagrams and text emplacement that are all a credit to the designer’s art.

The part that lime plays in all this, is a major contribution to the practicality of straw bale building and especially to the aesthetic. The lime plasters and washes on these straw walls look stunning adding a sensuousness to any straw bale design that would be hard to emulate with other materials.

If you have an urge to build a planet-friendly house that will give you great pleasure and satisfaction both to construct and to live in, then this is the book for you.