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
Is 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
How 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.