Make It Your Own: The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies

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North Carolina do it yourself large chicken coop from plans

Caity and family built and customized a beautiful Garden Coop a few years ago for their backyard flock in North Carolina, full of added features and decorative touches. Now they’ve completed yet another amazing coop — a Garden Loft that outshines even their earlier masterpiece. The rest of this post comes directly from Caity. . . .

We started keeping chickens about six years ago, and we built The Garden Coop. It has held us in good stead, but, as happens, we have caught the chicken bug and decided we wanted more hens—and a bigger coop.

As it turns out, this was right when the new Garden Loft plans came out, so it was a no-brainer! We made quite a few changes stylistically, but the bones are true to the original design. The plans were, as last time, awesome, easy-to-follow, and error free. And. . . . . . ta-da!

Three quarters view of Caity's backyard chicken coop built using The Garden Loft plans

The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies chicken coop art

We made several modifications to make our coop more flexible. Our ideal number of hens is 4–6, but it’s not easy to guess exactly when to get the new chicks to keep the numbers consistent, not to mention the headache of merging young pullets with older hens.

To make that easier, we essentially divided The Garden Loft into two coops. One side is for the older hens and one for the new flock, until they’re used to each other and can be merged. The side for the new flock has removable roosts, so when we’re not merging flocks we can use it to store food/bedding in a perfectly pest-free place. Using it for storage is also why that side has two large doors instead of a pop door — easy access.

Double sided henhouse in modified Garden Loft walk in chicken coop

Door to the raised henhouse on The Garden Loft chicken coop

Hen house door to backyard chicken coop

Removeable perch roost in hen house

In the event some of our older hens hang on longer than expected, the interior wall is also removable (6 screws) so we can open it up for more space. The ladder for the chick side is attached with a quick-release hinge so we can take it off when not in use. There are hooks under the hen house so we can store the ladder, unseen, when we don’t need it.

It’s not usually cold in North Carolina, but a couple weeks a year it gets in the single-digits, so the chick side is also insulated and doesn’t have a window or an external nesting box. So if we’re worried about weather, we can pop them into the chick side where they’ll be warmer.

Checking for eggs in the backyard chicken coop

Rear side of The Garden Loft walk in chicken coop from plans

As for the outside of the coop, I really liked the elevated look of the original Garden Coop, so we shortened the siding to leave it open at the bottom and did a faux board-and-batten just because I like it. We added a window with a plexiglass shutter because we like to peek in, and to add circulation in the summer.

We also made the entire footing out of cinder blocks so we could fill the run with sand. We did this with our other coop and it worked awesome both for drainage and for keeping it clean, as we scooped it once a day with a kitty litter scoop.

Side view of The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop from plans

Because we were cutting the henhouse in half, I added exterior nesting boxes to free up some space. I have two tots, so I built on a ladder so they can get the eggs, and it stows away for when they’re not using it (and to make it harder for the 1-year-old to get on there unsupervised). I added a gas lid support to the nesting box so little fingers won’t get smashed, and the nesting box opens up on the bottom for easy clean out.

Collecting eggs for breakfast from the backyard coop

External laying boxes for chickens

Child lifing the lid of the laying box

Folding ladder to chicken coop nest boxes

We’re in the process of adding the hardware cloth skirt, then we’ll be done! As for our old coop — the neighbors are arguing over who gets to take it off our hands. Farewell old friend!

Caity's Garden Coop backyard chook house

P.S. One quick tip: if you decide to replace the recommended roofing panels with galvanized metal like we did, add an extra panel to increase the overlap. Ours flooded like crazy and we had to go back and fix — ugh!

Many thanks to the Swifts for again sharing their pictures and notes. They’ve built and personalized another amazing chicken coop using our plans as a starting point!

Like what they’ve built? Please let them know with a comment below. Then keep browsing to see more of our Make It Your Own coop profiles.

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19 Responses to “Make It Your Own: The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies”

  1. Grace Montague says:

    I know this is an older post, but maybe you’ll see this. What do you mean by using cinder blocks? We are going to build this coop, and I’d like to get it off the ground a bit.

    • Grace, the plans describe this. Basically, for the foundation on this design you set out a pattern of level pier blocks or cinder blocks that elevate the frame a few inches off the ground. In the coop shown, they chose to do a continuous foundation so that the blocks fully contained the sand they used on the ground in the run.

  2. Beth Godbey says:

    Love your sign! Did you have it made?

    • Caity says:

      Thanks Beth! No, I made it myself. I designed a stencil in Adobe Illustrator then cut it out of removable vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo, then painted it. The trim around it is plywood I cut with my jigsaw and sanded.

  3. Karla Anderson says:


    Your coop is amazing! The customizations really add flair. I would like to do a solid door like yours. Did you buy one pre-made that fits the size of the door frame, or did you have to modify one?

    Thank you!

  4. ella says:

    what are the measurements of the coop and run

  5. lisa says:

    Not sure if this is still being monitored, but wanted to ask if you also divide the run, or just the coop space, when you have chicks and older birds sharing the pen? I love this idea and am considering it, but wonder how to make the run part easily dividable.

    • Caity says:

      Hi Lisa, When we have chicks we use baby gates to enclose part of the run under the coop (we also did this when we had an injured hen). The gaps in the baby gate are big enough for the chicks to get into but too big for the adult hens.

      Similarly, I hung a board down the middle of the pop door on the chick side so it was too narrow for the big girls to enter. This way the chicks always had somewhere to get away from the big girls while they all got used to each other.

  6. Alex says:

    What kind of white paint was used? Flat or semi-gloss?

  7. Dave says:

    Ok thanks for the insight. I do plan to put a roof on but was thinking of mixing mulch, leaves, grass clippings, pine needles and leaves together.

  8. Dave says:

    Do you recommend using any mulch for the coop run? I have brown mulch, but not sure if I should use it. Any thoughts much appreciated.

    • Dave, I find that finer material (e.g., straw, dry leaves, pine shavings) is better at mixing with the poop to keep odors down and begin the composting process. But if your run is uncovered, and you want bedding that will be more durable in the weather, mulch works well.

  9. Adrienne says:

    Amazing coop! I am planning to build one similar this year with The Garden Loft plans. Can I ask how you insulated the one side and what you used? We live in Wisconsin and have bitter winter months. Also, do you have a photo of the opposite side of the roost support on the chick/storage side? I think it’s a brilliant idea. Thank you!

    • Caity says:

      Thanks Adrienne! We just used insulation board in between the plywood. We live in NC, however, so it never gets THAT cold for very long. I don’t have a picture, but the roost support is the same on both sides. A hinge on the back connecting the 2x2s, then a latch on the front. So far it’s worked really well for us!

  10. Madree Page says:

    Wow! That is amazing! I love the double doors and removable roost for storage. What is separating both sides? Is it removable to give more space?

    • Caity says:

      Thanks Madree! The middle board is removable to make more space–It’s held in place only by a few screws. If you look at the picture of the removable roosts you can see that the roost support is not screwed into the 2×4 frame of the hen house, only into the removable wall, and into the other roost support on the other side (which you can’t see) which IS actually screwed into the frame of the coop. So to take it down, I just have to remove the roost support and a couple extra screws, take out the board, then screw the roost support back into the roost support for the other side of the coop.

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