It’s no secret that people love home makeovers, as evidenced by the 100 home makeover shows you can find on the TLC network on any given morning, afternoon, evening, and night. You get the picture. For some reason, watching these home makeover shows give us a vicarious thrill much in the same way that people who can barely fry an egg will religiously watch Masterchef. So don’t be one of those people who endlessly watch home makeover shows while living in a dump; instead get off your ass and go improve your home!
The backyard is a great place for you to begin your home makeover project because it causes minimal disruption and is the most forgiving of any mistakes. Also, the backyard is the area in most people’s homes that needs the most improvement anyway. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Give Your Kids a Play Area with a Splash Pad
While your wealthier neighbors might decide to sink at least 50k in building a backyard pool (which is by the way, a bad idea as spending 50k on a pool will NOT increase property values by 50k and in fact may actively turn off potential buyers, plus not to mention the fact that your pool will be covered in an unsightly tarp for many months of the year) you can opt for the smarter and cheaper route by constructing a simple and cheap splash pad. All you need is a garden slide (you may already have one), a hose or sprinkler (you definitely already have one of these) and a tarp (which will actually be put to good use).
The setup is simple, simply spread out the tarp at the bottom of the slide, keep it nicely wet and slippery with either the hose and sprinkler and voila! you’re good to go! The best part is that the splash pad can easily be ‘put away for another day’, something you can’t do with a huge pool dug into your backyard.
Give Your Family Fresh Eggs and Meat with a Chicken Coop
Ok, so obviously a chicken coop itself won’t provide you with anything; but its (future and potential) occupants will! While going from a splash pad to raising your own backyard chickens is admittedly quite a leap, there is actually no better way to turn your backyard into a space that works for you instead of against you. Are you worried about the prevalence of hormones and antibiotics in poultry raised in the agricultural industrial complex? You should be, so why not avoid all that nonsense and raise your own chicken flock? And of course, building your own chicken coop can be a very rewarding project (these 2017 chicken coop plans are the best for beginners!) and if you’re clumsier than someone with two left hands then you can purchase one outright off the web. Whichever route you decide, make sure your chicken coop can achieve the following objectives.
- Predator Protection – Don’t let other animals eat your chickens! If you give them the opportunity they definitely will. Even if you buy a chicken coop wholesale, you’ll still have to buy either chicken wire or hardware cloth (we recommend the latter as it is much sturdier) to surround the coop and run space.
- Comfortable Living – While we’re not suggesting that you treat your chickens like a celebrity’s dog, we don’t want to subject them to cramped and inhumane conditions like their unfortunate factory farmed brethren. As such, we want to give each chicken a minimum of 3 square feet of coop space and at least 9 square feet of outdoor run space.
- Healthy Environment – Unhealthy chickens make for lousy eggs. Two things are important for this: proper cleanliness and adequate ventilation. The first part should be a no brainer; you want to keep your chicken coop cleaned and well maintained as chickens are, honestly speaking, not the cleanest animals: don’t expect them to be anything like cats. Ventilation on the other hand is something that needs to be built into the chicken coop itself; we recommend a very minimum of one ventilation panel per side of the coop, including the roof. One ventilation panel per coop will simply not cut it; in adequate ventilation results in a buildup of ammonia which has negative health effects.
- Easy Maintenance – People don’t like doing things are that are difficult (especially regularly) and you are not a special snowflake in this regard. A poorly designed chicken coop that is hard to clean and maintain will mean less motivation for you which will lead to a failing flock. Our recommendation? Make sure the coop is elevated, have an easy access door for humans only and avail yourself of the latest chicken coop accessories such as hanging feeders and automatic water dispensers.