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About The Garden Coop


The Garden Coop LLC is a small family business located in Portland, Oregon. We got our start back in 2008, when I put together a plan to show an acquaintance how to build a coop I'd designed for our family's chickens.

My wife and I had been thinking about keeping chickens for a while. But only when she came home with a box of five chirping chicks did I (have no other choice but to) get serious about building something to house them in.

Turns out, there was a lot to consider about keeping a small flock of chickens in the city — cleanliness, space, security, aesthetics, cost. I designed The Garden Coop to address these issues and more, innovating ways to do the roof and foundation that are gradually finding their ways into other coop designs. For me, it was also important that our coop be both easy to build and transparent. What I mean by that is I wanted there to be no mystery when you look at the coop as to what it is, how it functions, and how it would all come together.

I added the design plan for The Garden Ark the next year, mainly in response to customer requests for a smaller, portable design. There are some nice A-frame designs for chicken tractor/arks out there, but I wanted something that was a direct take on the modern style of The Garden Coop and that would come together with very few angled cuts.

I love building the ark, by the way, and because of its compact size I've been able to build a number of them over the years. That repetition led me to source hardware in bulk and eventually offer Quick Kits for our coop designs.

Next, I completed the design plan for The Basic Coop stand-alone chicken coop. I was looking to create a simple design that could be built affordably and get the most coop out of the fewest materials possible. It also had to be easy to build. Fully functional. And beautiful.

I followed that up with The Garden Run, a series of modular enclosures you can mix and match and create a flexible backyard habitat that keeps your chickens engaged and protected. And most recently, I designed The Garden Loft — a solution for those who want the features of a modern, open-air, walk-in coop like The Garden Coop, but are looking for even more space. It's twice the size (and twice the project!), and I'm very proud of how it turned out.

As you can probably tell by how wordy this is, I'm a writer by profession and a gardener and do-it-yourselfer by hobby (or compulsion, if there's a difference). Hopefully, all of the above comes through in my plans, products, blog posts, and tutorials. I believe you shouldn't have to think like an architect — or have to work backwards from an image or diagram — to build a coop that's both practical and beautiful.

Nor should you be limited by anyone's instructions, including mine. For many people, these plans and designs are just a starting point for coops that are much nicer than what I could ever dream of creating.

I mentioned at the beginning that this is a family business. It's by no means our only work, but we love it. My wife, Gie, has contributed her insight to the plans and business and her artistic touch to our coops. And my two kids help with everything: building, teaching workshops, packing, shipping, even modeling for photos and videos.

Perhaps most importantly, they do most of the daily chicken chores. Truth is, if that were all they did, I'd be happy knowing that we've been able to provide them with meaningful work and a deeper connection to a living, breathing source of their food, despite the fact that we live in a city.

Thank you for your interest in us and for your support of our efforts. Please email if you have any questions or thoughts to share. I look forward to hearing from you.

John Carr


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