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
We’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.
Make 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!