backyard chicken coop

Give Your Backyard A Whole New Look With These Unique Ideas Including Chicken Coops And More!

Ever gaze out of your window into your backyard and wish that you could magically wave your hand and change the look of your whole backyard? Well, you’re most probably not the only one. The backyard is typically one of the most neglected parts of our homes and in large part because of its size, remodeling and improving it can seem like a time and cost-intensive task; one so daunting that it creates so much inertia that we can barely bring ourselves to even get started in the first place.

Fortunately for you, in this article we will be going over a few unique ideas that you can undertake to totally change the look of your backyard; with much less investment than you would think! Let’s get started.

rope lightingRope Lighting for an Otherworldly Effect

Want to make your backyard look more like something out of a sci-fi movie? Try rope lighting! Easily available online (and rather cheaply too, we might add) this waterproof lights are great for illuminating the boundaries of your garden or backyard for an effect that looks especially outstanding, particularly in the darker winter months.

 

Mirrors and the Illusion of Space

Let’s use some magic to make your backyard appear larger; with mirrors! Just like how painting a room white makes it seem larger, adding mirrors (like they do in hotel rooms) are a great way to make your backyard seem much larger than it really is. What you want to do is place mirrors at strategic location on your fences facing toward the backyard. We recommend getting old ‘window-sill’ style mirrors instead of the modern kind, which look better indoors.

 

Build a Swing

What better way to change the look of your backyard than by having more people hang out in it all the time! Adding life is the ultimate improvement. You can easily purchase a swing online or simply build your own using some supplies from your local hardware store. If you aren’t too handy though, please consult a professional as the last thing you want is your kid or some other kid getting hurt from a swing that detaches itself mid-swing!

 

Build a Chicken Coop

cute chickenSpeaking of adding life to your backyard, why not add the kind of life to your backyard that can literally feed you and your family (as it is not the best idea to eat children). Join the ‘urban farming’ movement, which will benefit not just your family but the environment as well. We’re talking about raising backyard chickens for eggs and possibly meat, and not the antibiotic and hormone-laden kind you find in the supermarket either. Of course, your chickens will need a place to stay and that place is the chicken coop.

Whether you decide to build your own chicken coop from scratch, or buy a pre-assembled one off the Internet, it is imperative that you understand the key characteristics each chicken coop must have. Check out these useful plans for chicken coops which will guide you and teach you everything you need to know about building a coop.

 

  • Sufficient Room – No one likes living in cramped conditions and chickens are no different. Depending on the size of your selected chicken breed, each chicken will need anywhere from 2 to 4 square feet of indoor coop space. And before you build a ‘McMansion’ chicken coop that takes up so much space, remember that chickens need outdoor ‘run’ space as well: 6 to 12 square feet per chicken in fact.
  • Predator Protection – If anything’s going to be eating your chickens, let’s make sure it’s a human. Surround your chicken coop with chicken wire or hardware cloth to keep out hungry foxes, coyotes, dogs, weasels, and minks. And some of these predators can burrow underground too so make sure your chicken wire or hardware cloth is not just above ground.
  • Climate Control – While chickens have no need of air-conditioning or external heating (with some exceptions), they will always need sufficient ventilation. Without proper ventilation, ammonia gas builds up and may cause health problems. Plus, it stinks. Place at least one ventilation panel on each wall and the roof. And as for external heating, chicken feathers are more than enough unless you live in a really cold area, with ‘really cold’ specifically meaning US Hardiness Zones 2 or under.
  • Convenience – This point has nothing to do with the health and safety of the chickens and everything to do with you; their caretaker. The easier your chicken coop is to manage, the higher your motivation and thus the higher the chances of raising a successful flock. Design your chicken coop for maximum convenience (raised floor, human-specific entryway are two basics we recommend) plus invest in accessories that will make maintenance easier such as hanging feeders and automatic water dispensers.
small coop

Simple Ideas To Improve Your Backyard With Chicken Coops, Hammocks And More

According to studies that were probably completely made up, the backyard is the most neglected area of the home. While the previous sentence was a bit of a joke, one only needs to do a little bit of logical thinking to see that this isn’t really a far-fetched statement. Just think about your own home when it came to redecorating, remodeling, and general improvement; which area of your home did you focus on first? Most likely it would be the living spaces that you spend the most time in which would likely be the interior of the home as well as the exterior façade (got to impress the neighbors after all), which tends to leave the backyard of the home the neglected stepchild.

So here are a few simple ideas that you can implement to spruce up that neglected backyard of yours!

 

Add a Hammock for Extra Comfort

hammockIs there any person out there who doesn’t like hammocks? If there are, they’re probably really hard to find for one simple reason: hammocks are one of the best and simplest inventions ever! And if your backyard has an ideal place to string up a hammock, such as between two trees, or between the pillars of a gazebo (if you have one), then your backyard will quickly become one of the more popular hangout areas in your home. Expect family battles over ‘hammock time’ if you do get one.

 

Build a Gazebo

Speaking of gazebos, gazebos are a great idea to add a bit of indoors to your outdoors. Of course, not everybody’s backyard will be sufficiently large to accommodate a gazebo, but if you have the space and the funds (and a non-picky neighborhood association) then a gazebo is an awesome addition that makes your backyard a much more livable space. And with the wide varieties of gazebos out there, you can make yours anywhere from simple understatement all the way up to fancy opulence; the choice is yours!

 

Build Your Own Chicken Coop to Rear Your Own Backyard Chickens

chicken eggsHow did we get from hammocks and gazebos to chickens? Well let’s just say that while the leap may seem a bit jarring, raising backyard chickens is just too good of an idea to not include in this article! With all the organic food, anti-GMO alarmism going around nowadays plus the increased focus on agricultural animal welfare, raising your own chickens is one of the best ways (short of having your own farm or ranch) to make sure as much of the food that goes into your body is antibiotic and hormone free, not to mention ethical as well.

Of course, in order to accommodate said chickens, you will need to build them a place to stay as well, and that means building or buying a chicken coop. Here are some great chicken coop plans for you to get started! Here are the most important considerations you need to take into account before putting the hammer to the nail or buying a chicken coop online.

 

  • Number of Chickens – Unless you have an absurdly huge backyard, in which case we envy you, the maximum number of chickens that you can rear will be based on the size of your backyard. Here’s a good rule of thumb: each chicken will need about 2 to 4 square feet of coop space and 6 to 12 square feet of roaming space, depending on the size of the chicken breed you select. So decide how much space in your backyard you can dedicate to your chickens and work backwards from there. Also keep in mind that local zoning laws may stipulate that your chicken coop must remain a certain minimum distance from your property line.
  • Type of Chicken Coop – Portable or non-portable? Chicken coops can range from the most basic chicken tractor, which is like a travelling bottomless cage, to a portable chicken coop with wheels to the traditional built in place chicken coop. Don’t forget to consider electrical sources as well, if applicable.
  • Local Weather – Chicken feathers are great insulators, which mean that chickens can easily survive most cold climates, especially if you get the hardier ‘winter breeds’. However, some climates are way too cold and external heating and insulation will be needed. An easy check is using the Hardiness Zone rating; anything that is a 3 or above means no external heating is required. However, while insulation is not required in most cases, ventilation is an absolute must. Make sure you have a ventilation panel on each side of your chicken coop, including the roof.
  • Local Predators – Chickens are tasty; and not just to humans. Foxes, raccoons, weasels, coyotes, raptors, and skunks; these are just some examples of predators that would love to make a meal out of your chickens. Providing your chickens adequate shelter and protection is imperative; to achieve this we recommend using hardware cloth over chicken mesh as it is sturdier and provides protection against even the most determined predators.