pretty coop

Some Simple And Not-So-Simple Backyard Improvement Tips With Chicken Coops And More

Welcome to our backyard improvement article. In this article we will be giving you a laundry list of things you can add to really spruce up your backyard, from simple DIY projects to much more major ones. Depending on your level of handiness around tools, or just how much additional investment you want to put into your backyard, we are confident that you will take away at least one useful idea from this article. Let’s begin.

Build a Fire Pit

beautiful fire pitAnyone who’s gone camping before, especially as a child, will probably remember with nostalgic fondness the experience of sitting and bonding around a nice campfire, huddled around its heat against the cold of the night. Well, by building a fire pit in your backyard, you too will be able to recreate the experience, minus the hassle of actually going camping. And while you can certainly go out to the store and purchase a fire pit, fire pits are actually one of the simplest DIY projects you can undertake. Here’s a basic formula: using a charcoal grill, concrete tree rings, and some pebbles, you can create your own DIY outdoor fire pit for less than $100.

Add a Tire Planter

Another simple DIY project that can add some life to your backyard. All you need are a few old tires, plants, some paint and BAM, instant awesome backyard ornament! And don’t constrain yourself with the boring old ‘two tires stacked on top of each other’ formula, although that certainly works as well. Do a little searching and you’ll come across and absolutely astounding variety of tire planter designs, some of our favorites that we have seen are the ‘tire planter frog’, the lady bug, tea cups, the wishing well, and lastly, love it or hate it, a Minions tire planter. Maybe don’t use that one as your first tire planter!

Grapevine It Up

Grapevines are a great way to add a touch of nature and shade into your garden. You’ll be thankful for them when the peak of summer hits and if you get the kind with fruit, it makes for an even better atmosphere. If you already have awnings (if you don’t, then that’s another great idea for your backyard!) then just start growing some grapevines on them; you can also intertwine them with flowers such as jasmine or roses, which look just absolutely beautiful.

Build a Chicken Coop

chickensDoes this suggestion seem to stand out from the rest? No doubt a chicken coop is a much more major undertaking then all the ideas previously listed, but with a more major investment comes more major rewards. In this case, of course you would only build a chicken coop to house actual chickens, and that is where the real reward comes from: a constant supply of fresh eggs and possibly meat (if you so choose) that are hormone and antibiotic free for you and your family, plus the nice feeling you get in your heart from not contributing to barbaric factory farming practices.

Now before we explain further, we will go right ahead and say it: yes you can indeed buy a fully-completed chicken coop right off the market, if you so choose (there are also chicken coop kits that you can buy and then assemble, similar to IKEA furniture). However, based on our personal experience if you have the necessary handiwork skills, then building a chicken coop may be one of the more rewarding DIY projects that you can undertake. While you’re here, take a look at these 2017 best chicken coop plans which has everything you need to know about planning and building a chicken coop! Let’s take a look at what each chicken coop needs.

First, it needs to protect your chickens from predators. Go for hardware cloth instead of the often recommended chicken wire as larger and more persistent predators WILL tear through chicken wire to eat your chickens. And don’t forget to bury the hardware cloth too; wily foxes and weasels will burrow underneath to get to your chickens if all you have are above ground barriers. Don’t forget that protection from predators cannot merely be limited to the chicken coop itself; you are also responsible for providing sufficient protection in the ‘chicken run’ or outdoor space where your chickens will roam.

Second, it needs to be of adequate size; 2 to 4 square feet of coop space per chicken in fact. Why the large range? Well, that’s due to the large range in sizes of the various chicken breeds. And don’t forget the outdoor space! That’s a further 6 to 12 square feet per chicken.

Third, it needs to be adequately ventilated and possibly insulated. Ventilation is an absolute must, make sure all sides including the roof have at least one ventilation panel. Lack of ventilation can cause a buildup of ammonia which can be detrimental to the health of your flock. As for insulation that depends on how cold your region is; anything with a US Hardiness Zone 2 or below will need extra insulation or heating.

red coop

You Probably Have Not Thought About These Backyard Improvement Ideas (Chicken Coops, Tiki Torches & More)

Ok, so we’re going to be honest with you here: the backyard improvement ideas presented in this article are not related to each other at all. If you decide to implement ALL of them in your backyard, it will be an absolute monstrosity. So, please pick and choose like a buffet, or as Bruce Lee said “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not”. Alright then, let’s look at our backyard buffet of ideas!

Get Yourself a Chicken Coop

chicken rampWe’ll just throw the most radical idea out there in the beginning; get a chicken coop for raising your own backyard chicken flock! No this is not a joke, we’re deadly serious. This is actually part of what is known as the ‘urban farming’ movement and it’s actually gaining in popularity so nobody (or at least not many people) will think you’re a total kook. And if you’re the kind of person who needs celebrity endorsement then know that comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan also has a chicken coop with backyard chickens! If you are concerned with the sources of your food or just animal welfare in general, then having your own backyard chicken flock is one of the best ways to alleviate your concerns in this area.

Now, you should know that a chicken coop is not a decision to be taken lightly; don’t fire up Google and buy the first chicken coop that pops up in the paid search section. Instead, make sure you plan everything out from the beginning. Ask yourself the following: do I want chickens for just eggs or both meat and eggs? How many eggs do I want per day? For reference, a hen lays on average an egg per day. For inspiration on how you want your chicken coop to be, check out these top coop designs for chickens.

Your flock size (and thus your chicken coop’s size) will also be constrained by the size of your backyard. Remember that a chicken needs not only indoor coop space but outdoor run space as well. Each chicken needs about 2 to 4 square feet of indoor coop space and triple that for outdoor space. Smaller chickens need less space, obviously, so it depends on the breed you intend to get. Also, we advise you to start with a small flock but build a larger coop than necessary to leave yourself room for expansion later.

Your chicken coop must be a castle against predators. You may read online people recommending chicken wire. We say skip the chicken wire as it’s for… chickens! Jokes aside, go for hardware cloth instead as it will keep out the larger and hungrier predators. Keep the gaps under and inch apart and bury it a couple feet into the ground as well (if you have softer ground) to keep out those sneaky digging predators.

Weather protection. Chicken feathers are insulation enough unless you live in a US Hardiness Zone that is a 2 or below. Regardless, use pine wood chips inside the coop as it will help prevent frostbite on their feet. And finally, ventilation is an absolute must or ammonia gas will build up from you-know-what and will have bad health effects for your chickens and you as well.

Get Some Tiki Torches

Don’t put these around your chicken coop! This is a great addition to stick to your backyard fence to give it that nice ‘island resort’ kind of vibe. Put your discarded wine bottles to good use; fill them up with citronella oil and add a wick at the top. Using some clamps and rivets, stick them to your backyard fence.

backyard swingMake a Backyard Swing
Whoever told you swings are only for kids lied! They’re fun for kids and adults alike (although with America’s obesity crisis, probably less than 50% of the population can use swings) and if you have sturdy tree branch or some really strong rafters than you can easily DIY your own backyard swing using some rope and either a wooden pallet, for a multi-person swing, an old chair, or even get this, a skateboard for a one person standing swing.

 

 

 

Stakes and Hammocks

According to figures we just made up, 99.999% of people love hammocks (although again, because of the obesity crisis, not recommended for most people). The biggest problem is that people lack two beams with ideal space in between to string one up. Well, solve that problem right now with stakes; they’re not just for killing vampires! You can use fence posts as well; simply drive them into the ground and string up a hammock or even a trio of hammocks. Here’s the math: for a single hammock you need two stakes, however for three hammocks strategically placed you only need four stakes!