garden coop

Give Your Backyard A Makeover With These Ideas Including Splash Pads And Chicken Coops!

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

heating for coopsOk, 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.
beautiful coop

Improve Your Backyard By Making It Feed Your Family Using Chicken Coops And Vegetable Gardens

Have you ever had dreams about being a farmer? Of quitting your corporate job and just ‘living off the land’ like an all-American rugged individualist, just like our forefathers? We’re sure that most corporate workers have had this sort of fantasy but of course, not many (or perhaps none at all) go through with it, for obvious reasons. That being said, there are ways to partially fulfill your dream of living off the land while still keeping your nice cushy corporate job, and that is true the use of vegetable gardens and chicken coops. No need to get overwhelmed; just read on!

Starting Your First Vegetable Garden

Anyone who’s ever done some cooking knows that the difference between fresh and day-old vegetables is night and day. When it comes to herbs and vegetables, freshness is paramount to taste, and when it comes to optimal health, making sure that it hasn’t been hosed down by a dozen different pesticides will probably make a huge difference as well. Of course, all of the above problems are solved by simply having your own vegetable garden. Let’s talk about the basics.

First, you need to plot out the ideal location. If you already have a nice fertile patch of soil in your garden, great! And if that spot is also a spot that receives a lot of direct sunlight and good shelter from heavy winds, then perfect! As you can tell, the ideal vegetable garden spot has the 3 ‘S’ good soil, sunshine, and shelter.

Next is the design of the vegetable garden itself. When it comes to backyard gardens, the most efficient design are like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon only much more modest in scale and using commercially bought vegetable beds instead. The reason is that most people’s backyards are simply too small to make the vertical ‘vegetable row arrangement’ work. Unless you have a huge space in your backyard to dedicate to a vegetable garden, a row arrangement would yield you a pitiful amount of herbs and vegetables.

Lastly, you’re probably wondering what kinds of herbs and vegetables you should start with as a beginner pseudo-horticulturist. And the answer is whatever vegetables you like to eat! To be honest, all the information is out there nowadays and if you have the drive to seek it out you’ll be able to find all the necessary information on cultivating specific herbs and vegetables on the Internet.

Getting Your First Chicken Coop

Your chickens need a home and that home is the chicken coop. Now, a chicken coop is not really a major investment but guess what it’s not really a minor one either. And even if cost is not an issue for you, then the time wasted most definitely will be. So it’s rather important that you choose or build the right chicken coop for you the first time round. First let’s discuss the 3 types of chicken coops.

  • Chicken Tractor – This is the most basic version of the chicken coop and is more of a cage really; a bottomless, portable cage. Basically the idea is you move the coop around from patch to patch to forage in. This is ideal if you have a very small flock, or to use as an addition to a standard chicken coop (see below) for ‘out of coop time’ for the chickens with the benefit of additional predator protection.
  • Mobile Chicken Coop – This is like a standard chicken coop but comes attached with anywhere from 2 to 4 tires for transportation purposes. Obviously it’s not bottomless like the chicken tractor either.
  • Standard Chicken Coop – The most comfy option for your chickens, really. And while I refer to the basic skeleton design as ‘standard’, in reality there are numerous variations in sizes and designs when it comes to your options.

chicken coop rampNow that we’ve talked about the types of chicken coops, and you’ve decided which type is best for you given your own unique circumstances let’s look at some characteristics that individual chicken coops should share regardless of design.

  • Ideal Size – Depending on the size of your chicken breed you are going with, each chicken will need anywhere from 2 to 4 square feet of indoor coop space and about 8 to 12 square feet of outdoor or ‘run’ space. Plan accordingly depending on the size of your backyard. And here’s a tip, always build your chicken coop bigger than what is needed for your first flock size, leaving yourself room to expand. Check out this useful guide on how to construct a chicken coop – it really comes in handy especially if you are a first timer!
  • Adequate Protection – If you’re not careful, it won’t be only you and your family’s mouths that the chickens will be feeding, it’ll be some other predators as well. Predators such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and weasels are always on the prowl and would turn your chickens into a tasty snack if you give them the chance. Avoid the sissy chicken wire; persistent predators (especially the larger ones) will tear through them. Instead, opt for hardware cloth.