One of the nice things about The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is that you can move it around your yard or garden to focus your chickens’ grazing activity where you want it — just roll it across your lawn or place it atop your vegetable rows.
But what if you prefer to garden in raised beds? How can you incorporate The Garden Ark into your garden rotation so that your hens can graze, till, and help fertilize your garden before or after harvest?
In this tutorial, I show you how to build a raised vegetable bed that fits The Garden Ark design perfectly.
A few notes before getting started on your veggie beds
Assess your skill level. If you’ve used our coop plans to build your backyard chicken coop, this project should be a snap.
Time. About 30 minutes per bed? Let me know in the comments.
Measurements. Maybe you altered the footprint of your Garden Ark when building it, or maybe you have another chicken coop design altogether. Feel free to modify the measurements to meet your needs and coop. Metric units appear in green.
Safety. Read our disclaimer. Follow all manufacturers’ instructions when using tools, materials, or equipment. Protect your eyes, ears, and limbs. Build safe, and have fun!
Raised bed plans for your Garden Ark chicken tractor
Materials List (to build one 5′ x 3′ raised bed frame – 1525 x 865 mm)
- 2 8-foot (2400 mm) two-by-tens. You can use two-by-sixes on up to two-by-twelves if you prefer. Note: The wood will be in direct contact with the ground, so either choose a naturally rot-resistant species like cedar or redwood or use a cheaper softwood (spruce, pine, fir) and seal it well or preserve it with a garden-safe product like Timber Pro UV Internal Wood Stabilizer.
- About a 2- or 4-foot length (600 mm) of a two-by-two. See note above.
- About 20 or so 3″ (75 mm) exterior screws
- About 16 or so 2 1/2″ (64 mm) exterior screws
- Circular saw or handsaw
- Couple of sawhorses
- Power driver/drill
- Tape measurer
Cut each of 2 two-by-tens into a 60″ (1525 mm) piece and a 34″ (865 mm) piece. These will make up the outer edges of the frame (see diagram below). Note: if you adjusted slightly the measurements on the skids of your ark to account for the milled dimensions of the lumber you used, make those same adjustments here. You simply want the outer dimensions of the raised-bed frame to match those of the skids on your ark.
Cut the two-by-two into two 11″ (280 mm) pieces. These will be the corner pieces, which will stick up about 1 1/2″ above the height of the frame to “lock” the base of The Garden Ark in place. You only need two at opposite corners to accomplish this. If you prefer one in each corner, cut four pieces.
Lightly sand the cut pieces and paint, seal, or treat them as needed with a non-toxic wood preservative like Internal Wood Stabilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any product you apply and allow the proper time to cure before exposing the wood to moisture.
Attach the two-by-ten pieces together to form the outer edges of the frame, using 3″ (75 mm) exterior screws, three or four per joint. Refer to the diagram for placement. You will probably want to pre-drill the holes to prevent splitting.
Attach the two-by-two pieces in opposite corners using a couple of 2 1/2″ (64 mm) screws. Drive the screws through the two-by-two and into one of the two-by-tens. Notice the direction of the grain in the wood and try to sandwich the grain with your screws. This reduces the chance of splitting. If you want to give the corners of your frame extra hold, screw the two-by-two into both adjoining two-by-tens.
Level out the ground where you will be placing the raised beds. Then set the beds in place, fill with topsoil, and plant your garden.
When you’re ready for the hens, set The Garden Ark atop a raised bed, so that the corners fit around the two raised two-by-twos. Adjust the height of any hanging feeder or waterer, and let the chickens manage the rest. (I should mention, the pop door on the front of the ark pictured here is not described in the plans, but will likely be part of a future post.)
Done! Enjoy watching your chickens enjoy life.
Your chickens will be right at home in — and on top of — your garden!
Whether you use The Garden Ark as the primary home for your chickens or as a complement to your existing Garden Coop — to brood chicks, separate out part of your flock, or simply to use it as chicken tractor — combining this mobile coop design with a few raised garden beds adds to its functionality and gives it a more established place in you garden. In fact, if you plan on stationing your Garden Ark atop raised beds most of the time, see this idea a customer sent in a while back — shaping the ends of the skids to work as handles, which makes moving your coop from one bed to the other that much easier.
And while these measurements are ideal for The Garden Ark, the principle would work with just about any similar-sized coop with an open bottom. So pass it on!
I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful. If you want to learn how to build your own Garden Ark mobile coop, check out our chicken coop plans, available in both U.S. standard/imperial units and metric units. A hardware Quick Kit is also available (U.S. only). You might also like our free plans for grazing frames, which will help you keep your chickens in the green no matter what type of coop you have.
Unlike with the coop plans, I do not offer email support for this free raised-bed plan. But if you have any questions, comments, success stories, or tips on how to incorporate your backyard chickens into your raised bed vegetable garden, please leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to respond.
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2 thoughts on “How to build raised garden beds to fit The Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor”
Great idea! I am currently implementing this in my back yard. I will have 4 chicken on top of a 4x12x12″ box. I will then add hard wood chips week by week. Do you think this will be too much nitrogen for the garden that I will plant in about 5 months? alos, do you have any other recommendations on my design over the future bed.
Maurice, wood chips could take a while to break down, so you’ll just have to monitor how much is needed to balance out the poop. Pine shavings may work better in that timeframe. None of our coop and run plans fit that footprint exactly, but you can use them as a starting point and modify as you wish.