Chicken Coop Tour No. 17: Ten Large Backyard Chicken Coops Built from The Garden Loft Chicken Coop Plans

In this seventeenth installment of our virtual chicken coop tour, we visit ten backyard coops built using The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop plans. Many of these were built during the isolating years of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s heartening to see how people were able to direct their energies to projects close to home that involved their families, food, and health.

Coop #1: Clare’s Garden Loft from DIY Chicken Coop Plans and Hardware Kit, Los Gatos, California

Clare and team’s Garden Loft is simply picture perfect. I love the addition of the cafe door and the column of chicken nameplates. . .

Large walk-in chicken coop with a cafe door built from plans and hardware kit.

As novice carpenters, this project took us 4–6 weekends to complete, with an additional 2–3 weeks to order the lumber (COVID can be blamed for that delay). We are very pleased with the final result. Hopefully the 9 hens love it as much as we do.

If this helps future customers: We were about $500 over budget with the lumber and delivery (we opted for nicer lumber and hardware, where possible), but we’re confident this beautiful coop will last a long time. 

Coop #2: AnnMarie’s Garden Loft Chicken Coop with Potting Shelf, Derry, New Hampshire

I really like the plant shelf on the front of AnnMarie’s chicken coop. Not only is it pretty and functional, but it creates some additional shade for the chickens down on the ground.

Thank you for the beautiful plans. We built this in about a week when my husband was home on military leave. Still need to add the egg boxes, and I’m already looking to extend with The Garden Run plans. Have received many compliments!

Coop #3: Nathan’s Black and White Chicken Coop, Clever, Missouri

I almost can’t believe this coop. Even the chicken is black and white. 😉

Barred rock chicken walks in front of a large backyard chicken coop painted white

Coop #4: Allan’s Garden Loft Chicken Coop Build, Sunderland, Northeast England, United Kingdom

One of the nice things about The Garden Loft is that while it fits well in a backyard, it’s sizable enough to anchor a community garden like this one in the UK. . .

Large chicken coop painted dark green in an allotment in NE England

As many others have mentioned, COVID-19 was the catalyst to our decision to build it. The site is on one of two allotment plots which the brother-in-law and I are developing into a Community Garden called Hendon Regenerative Culture Garden. We felt the design was just what we needed to encourage local people to come to the Garden.

We made the two longitudinal centre ceiling panels drop down on hinges for better access to the ‘loft’ space. Extending the depth of the egg box and slanting the floor of each nest box allowed us to create a roll-away for the eggs. We’ve enjoyed making it so much that we’ve dowloaded the plans for The Garden Ark.

Coop #5: Chris’s Spacious Backyard Chicken Coop, Ivor, Virginia

I love Chris’s idea of building the base first and using it to measure out the foundation blocks. That could simplify things.

Large walk-in chicken coop in a grass field with a white picket fence and woods in the background

I recently finished building The Garden Loft, and I just want to thank you for such great plans that have so much detail and how-to outside of what I’d expect in a set of plans. I’m in no way a professional, so it was very helpful. Some things I changed are:

  • I made the base before laying out the foundation blocks and marked off measurements on that to make block placement a little easier.
  • I opted to use pressure-treated wood for the construction, and I didn’t realize pressure treated 2x2s don’t have the same dimensions as non-pressure treated. Not a huge deal, I just wish I realized it sooner.
  • Instead of using mending plates to join the sole boards I ripped a long 2×4 down to 2×2.
  • The foundation was a challenge because I was in a rush. . . so I didn’t spend as much time as I probably should have leveling the blocks. Small error from the start added up to bigger error in the end. Nothing grossly off. . . I thought I was going to have to shim the foundation a little bit, but after construction it all worked out.
  • I live in SE Virginia, which is impacted by hurricanes. I went and bought some 30” auger type anchors and wrapped steel cable around the frame with a turnbuckle to anchor the coop to the ground. [Editor’s note: See our Buyer’s Guide for a link to an auger anchor kit. Also see this post on how to secure your chicken coop in a high-wind area.]
Auger anchor and cable to secure a chicken coop in a high-wind area

I hope my feedback helps out, I’ll definitely be building another one of these if/when I move!

Coop #6: Rob’s Garden Loft Chicken Coop with Large Rain Barrel, Melbourne, Australia

Rob did some light excavation to level the ground for his foundation. And I appreciate the gutter and rain barrel he added to the back. This is critical in a climate like Australia’s, but I think just about anyone with the space for it could benefit from collecting rainwater off their coop roof.

Natural wood and gray chicken coop in Melbourne Australia

Excavated slope to prepare a pier on grade foundation for a large chicken coop

Large grey rain barrel collecting rainwater from the roof of a chicken coop

At the beginning of Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown, I purchased The Garden Loft chicken coop plans to build on our newly bought 10-acre property. I would just like to say that — from a self-confessed handyman, but by no means builder — I have now finished the coop and am truly proud of it. Thank you for providing such a comprehensive and easy-to-follow set of plans. . . and for those metric measurements!! 😊

Coop #7: Christi’s Garden Loft, Basic Coop, and Garden Run from Plans, Fort Walton, Florida

I really like the color combo Christi went with. It fits with the coastal aesthetic and those gorgeous live oak trees. If you look closely, you’ll see she has anchored the coop with auger anchors and cables and added a side door for the chickens to come and go.

The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop painted aquamarine with natural wood stain on the henhouse and a clear polycarbonate roof.

Large chicken coop in the foreground with smaller coop and run in the background in a Southern backyard with live oak trees.

Freestanding chicken coop and secure run painted aquamarine.

Thanks for the great plans. I finished The Garden Loft up the middle of October, and I just love it! It cleans up easily, and the chicks seem very happy. I also put a fence around it to give them a nice yard space.

I went ahead and painted before the build because I knew it would be difficult to do that once the wood turned grey from weather (due to the attached hardware cloth). I like how it turned out. Easy to wipe down too. I think we will string fishing line over top to help thwart hawks. I wanted to put a netted top, but with all the trees, it seems impossible.

I also added The Basic Coop with Half-Height Garden Run as a brooder for my new chicks. Again, thank you for your wonderful plans and all the help you have given me!

Coop #8: Sylvan’s Amazingly Productive “Egg Plant” Chicken Coop, Western Washington

Sylvan lives in a co-housing community in Western Washington where she is in charge of the chickens. As you can imagine, on a property like this, the chickens serve several important roles — stirring compost, tilling the soil, digesting scraps, and of course, providing breakfast and entertainment. Take a look at how Sylvan customized the design for their flock and needs. . .

Large purple and green chicken coop on an urban co-housing homestead

This is “The Egg Plant.” We used The Garden Loft plans in mirror image so that the door is on the right.  

I designed the exterior nesting boxes. There are 4 boxes. Two doors, top and bottom, drop open downwards. We used the same easy system for clean out that you designed for the hen house, with pressure-fit wood blocks to prevent straw falling out that can be removed for clean out. I cut up an old foam kitchen standing mat to line the bottom of the boxes to cushion eggs. We get a lot less breakage now! The top of the nest boxes are protected with a scrap of linoleum. We got it for the inside of the hen house, following a tip from your blog, but found that it was so easy to clean that it wasn’t necessary. 

We used natural wood for the roosts and the cleats on the ramp. You can see those in the photo of one of the community youth holding a hen. The big doors along the front of the coop open to the inside. We use the deep litter method, so the hen house litter is scooped to the inside. The door is wide enough for a wheel barrow, for the clean-out every three months. 

In the “under construction” photo you can see the self-closing hinges and latch. I highly recommend these! Great when your hands are full and you have hens eager to go back outside. 

The guy installing the door backstops in that picture is an architect. He designed the shed roof and water catchment. He also designed and installed a French drain when we built the coop. There’s a bit of a hill where the coop is. To avoid a wet mucky floor in winter, all of the water coming down the hill is directed around the coop via a drain. It exits at the low point on the southwest end. So our hens have dry feet even in winter! 

After a couple of years of use we decided that it needed a water catchment barrel and a second roof along the back to protect feed and straw. Both roofs feed water into a single gutter, which fills the barrel on the southwest corner. The barrel spigot is high enough for a bucket to fit under. 

I highly recommend hanging the feeder and waterer rather than setting them on the ground. The sturdy beam that supports the front of the hen house was a perfect place to screw two large hooks, and the perfect height for the chickens to drink without scratching litter into their water. 

Using your detailed plans was so easy! I’ve used other purchased building plans that were a nightmare. Having the blog helped a lot too. We got lots of useful tips and ideas from your posts and other people’s coops. I recommend your plans to everyone I know who is interested in keeping chickens. 

Our “flock of butterflies” is the delight of our CoHousing neighborhood! Everyone from the 2-year-old to the 95-year-old comes to watch them. 🙂

Coop #9: Damian’s Impeccable Garden Loft Chicken Coop + Tips, Norwalk, Connecticut

Imagine if something in your backyard were to suddenly appear 3,000 miles away. That’s how I feel looking at Damian’s Garden Loft. It’s beautifully done — and practically indistinguishable from the coop I see outside my kitchen window. Feels like I’m in an episode of Dr. Who. 🙂

Damian was kind enough to also send a few detailed notes from his chicken coop build, so check those out below if you haven’t built yours yet.

Spacious wooden chicken coop and run with predator protection at the bottom in a leafy Connecticut backyard.

Thank you for your prompt responses throughout my build process and your incredible instruction manual for The Garden Loft chicken coop. As I am a (slight) perfectionist and a person who appreciates detailed instructions and suggestions, I was thoroughly impressed with your level of explanations. Your intro at the beginning and the schematics on the last few pages showing the exact cuts and where they go — amazing.

Here are some suggestions/comments I thought you and others might be interested in:

  • I assembled all four walls on a flat concrete garage floor. With the front wall, while the rear beam sits flat on the floor during assembly, the five 2×4 studs that connect to the beam do not sit flat on the floor — the bottom of the studs will have a slight angle when touching the floor at the bottom. Easy solution: During assembly, raise the bottom of the studs by setting a long 2×4 under them so they are parallel to the rear beam at the top.
  • You mention using a pneumatic stapler with an air compressor. I have a cordless, battery-charged Porter & Cable narrow crown stapler that worked wonders.
  • Instead of metal snips for cutting the hardware cloth, you can use an angle grinder. Cuts through the wire like butter in a continuous motion across the length or width.
  • A sliding miter saw absolutely made a difference on my build, as all of my cuts were perfectly at 90 or 45 degrees, on a stable platform. I would not have felt as comfortable using my circular saw for all the cuts.

That’s it! This was an amazing project for me and the largest of its kind in my life (so far). I am proud of my achievement, my wife and kids think I am a master craftsman, and I truly appreciate everything you have provided and guided me through with regards to this build. Now to devise a gutter and water collection system for the coop!

Coop #10: Kathy and A.J.’s Garden Loft Chicken Coop from Plans, Arkansas

Kathy and her 17-year-old son, A.J., decided to tackle their chicken coop project together. It came out wonderfully. After their build, I received a review from Kathy and a thank you note from her 10-year-old son, Eli, that warmed my heart (see below). I’m impressed with all they ways they’ve found to share their chicken raising experience with others.

Mother and son stand before a large chicken coop they built using The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop plans.

After researching for untold hours, our family chose The Garden Loft coop plans. My 17-year-old son, A.J., and I set out to build it over the summer. Neither of us had much experience with carpentry or power tools, but my husband has skills and tools and agreed to give us some pointers. The plans are so detailed and thorough that we were easily able to follow them, even with our limited experience.

Each night my son and I would sit together with the plans and map out our next day’s work. It was so easy to see exactly what tools and materials we’d need. By the end of the summer, our coop was ready and our basement was full of chicks who were rapidly outgrowing the brooder box. They transitioned to their new home easily!

Sixteen laying hens and one rooster reside in our coop. We have 12–14 eggs per day waiting for us on the other side of the egg door each morning. We have pictures of predators scoping the coop out on our game camera, but none have had any success getting inside. Our chickens weathered the 100+ degree weather of the late summer. They also were able to withstand the coldest winter we’ve seen in our area with temps below zero for days. We only had to make very minimal winter adjustments like heating the waterer and adding straw and extra woodchips for bedding. We didn’t lose any chickens and continued to collect over a dozen eggs daily. 

We get compliments and inquiries on our coop all the time. We have gladly referred people to The Garden Loft plans. They were worth every penny for us! No trial and error needed when using a well thought out, tried and true plan. 

Through the pandemic my youngest son, Eli (10), and I have been conducting virtual coop tours. We let families tag along via Facetime as we tend to our chickens and collect eggs. We will be doing a virtual tour with a group of deaf students soon as part of their speech and language therapy session. We are also scheduled to be guests for a local library preschool story time broadcast. 
 
Thank you!
Kathy C.

And Eli’s letter. . .

Dear Mr. John,

We’re really enjoying the chicken coop, The Garden Loft, and would like to catch you up on how much we love it and how much the chickens love it.

The first thing we would like to tell you how much we like the construction of the coop. It was a simple build, yet a strong one, that withstands the harsh weather. We love it because it’s a nice, clever build.

The henhouse is probably my favorite part of the coop. It keeps the chickens warm and provides shelter from the wind. The chickens’ favorite place is the nesting boxes. They lay almost all their eggs in them. 

The roosting bars are the chickens’ sleeping place. The lowest chicken in the pecking order has to go to bed really early to get a good spot. The highest chicken in the pecking order always gets the best spot. 

The last thing I will tell you is types of chickens that live in our coop. We have five Dominiques. They are the smartest chickens we have. Then we have five Rhode Island Reds. They are the boldest of all the chickens and our best layers. Then we have five Americaunas. They are the prettiest chickens we have. Finally, we have two special chickens named Fran and Sarge. Fran is the lowest in pecking order. She is a Polish/Cinnamon Queen mix. Sarge is our rooster. He is an Americauna/Easter Egger and is the highest in the pecking order.

We are really thankful that you designed this coop. It has been a blessing.    

Sincerely,
Eli C.

A hearty thank you to everyone who shared photos and stories of their experiences building with The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop plans. Like what they’ve done? Let them know in the comments below. 🙂

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