When thinking of how to describe what our side yard used to be like, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite childhood after-school TV shows – “The Land of the Lost”. While there were no Sleestaks nor close calls of being eaten by a dinosaur, it certainly was the part of our yard that we visited the least… providing little to no life to our family…a forgotten space.
With the struggling oakleaf hydrangeas, nandina, and aucuba there was evidence of our home’s original owner’s green thumb, but all beauty and function had been lost to years of neglect and the maturing of the surrounding trees. Given its lack of visual appeal and out-of-the-way location, it became my dumping ground for extra wood from previous projects, random landscaping materials & tools, and anything else I wanted to keep but didn’t want to have to look at whenever I was outside. But I knew that this space had great potential to be much more…it was just a matter of determining for what.
Sparked by our desire to raise backyard chickens and our girls’ wanting bunnies, we decided that our side yard was the perfect space for “Scott Family Farm”. Through intentionally thinking through certain objectives and design elements we’ve created a space that is both attractive and highly functional…something you wouldn’t think would be the case for a chicken coop and storage area…but it is. Now it is one of the most frequented spots of our backyard…and the place our friends most enjoy visiting.
When designing the space I kept these two primary objectives in mind:
- Functionality: Not only did it have to house both our backyard chickens and bunnies, but it also had to provide a place to conveniently store all the associated materials and supplies. In addition, I still needed a place to keep my landscape tools, as well as the materials for my other outdoor projects.
- Attractive: I did not want this space to be an eyesore, because if it was I knew that our time spent there would be minimized. I wanted it to be attractive, enjoyable, and inviting…so I had to think through the design flow, how it connected to the other exterior spaces, which materials and colors to use, and if/which plants should be used.
Unfortunately I don’t have any true before pictures (it was that lost!). But I can confidently say that I’ve accomplished both of my primary objectives…if I do say so myself. Although I would change a few things if I were to do it again (which is always the case), I’m extremely happy with the results. Even if I didn’t have to visit “Scott Family Farm” to check on the chickens and bunny…and retrieve our eggs daily, I’m certain I’d visit it often.
I’ve got lots to share with you in the coming weeks and months regarding “Scott Family Farm”, like: hutch/coop location and design, material selection, introducing our feather friends/chicken selection, tips for raising backyard chickens, etc.). With this post I wanted to at least introduce you to the area that we now lovingly call “Scott Family Farm”.
What have you done to bring life to a lost part of your yard?
What about your chicken coop (or housing for your other pets)…what did you think through when designing it?
We’d love to hear from you…let us know your stories so that we can share them with others.
PS: Here’s a pic of my girls proudly presenting their Christmas present to me several years back…the “Scott Family Farm” sign that greets all our visitors. Definitely my favorite gift that year…for a number of reasons. Leveraging mommy’s creativity and the elbow grease and old fence of our dear craftsmen friend Jon Carr (Right Angle Remodeling), they took great pride in helping create something that would become central to the “Scott Family Story”.