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Basic Chicken Coop Plans


The Garden Coop chicken coop plans give you the foundation — and the freedom — to build and customize a beautiful, secure walk-in coop for your backyard chickens.

 The Garden Coop Chicken Coop Plans

This highly functional design is more than a coop. It's a central part of your garden. From how it looks to how well it protects, The Garden Coop makes keeping backyard chickens more effortless and joyful.


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The Garden Coop
Walk-In Chicken Coop Plan eBook (PDF)



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Key features of The Garden Coop:

  • » Keep up to 8 hens or customize for more
  • » Ample ventilation and light
  • » Measures about 9.5'w x 5.5'd x 8'h (2.9 x 1.7 x 2.4 m), outer dimensions. Henhouse: 15 sq ft (1.4 sq meter). Run: 52 sq ft (4.9 sq meter).
  • » Walk in through the full-sized door
  • » Spread your wings in the roomy run
  • » Know your flock is safe with a 360° barrier against rodents and predators
  • » Easily modify to suit your flock, climate, and needs or to house other critters like quail, ducks, rabbits, pigeons, and more
  • » Hardware Quick Kit available (U.S. only)
  • » Built with pride. . . by you!


About The Garden Coop chicken coop plans:

  • » 45+ pages of illustrations, photos, and step-by-step instructions
  • » Written for beginners, with simple cuts and techniques
  • » Includes full tool and material lists
  • » Features extra details, photos, and construction tips based on years of customer feedback
  • » Metric version is available
  • » Compatible with iPad and other PDF-friendly mobile devices
  • » Only $29.95 — satisfaction guaranteed



LOOK INSIDE THE PLANS! Download a free preview of The Garden Coop
chicken coop plans to see exactly what to expect.


Efficient, integrated design.

You can think of The Garden Coop as a box within a box — a raised henhouse that opens into a secure enclosed run, or yard. Building your chicken coop like this has many advantages.

For one, it puts the henhouse at a comfortable height for access and cleaning. You can hang your feeder and waterer beneath to save space. And the full footprint of the coop is available for the chickens to scratch around, relax, and make the best compost your garden has ever known.

But one of the biggest advantages of The Garden Coop's integrated design is that, since the run is fully secured, you can leave the opening between the henhouse and run open all the time. So your chickens are free to come and go as they please — and so are you. No having to let them in and out each morning and night.

See how others are customizing The Garden Coop:

Garden Coop Chicken Coop Texas
Rustic Garden Coop
Rustic Garden Coop
Indiana chicken coop - plans from

and more. . .


Less waste. More coop.

It was important to us when designing The Garden Coop that we use easily accessible materials — and show you how to make the most of each one. The plans tell you exactly what you need to buy or gather, then exactly what to do with it. So you get a gorgeous, professional-looking coop at a more modest do-it-yourself price.


Make it your own.

The Garden Coop has been built by backyard chicken keepers around the world since 2008. When you set out with these plans, you enjoy the benefit of the collective knowledge, ideas, and examples of this community of builders.

Paint it your kids' favorite colors, repurpose salvaged building materials, collect rainwater, keep bees in an adjacent run, generate solar electricity, attach a tool rack, expand it to add bunnies, add features for quail, ducks, or pigeons  these are just some of the ways others have built upon the foundation you get with The Garden Coop plans. What will you dream up?


See how others are making The Garden Coop their own.


Scroll down for more photos and for answers to common questions about this chicken coop design and our chicken coop plans. Click here to buy and download the plans. Or email us with any other questions.




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More views of The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop

Kids like — okay — love, love, love gathering eggs from the little egg door at the front of the henhouse, and the full-sized door lets them easily walk into the chicken coop to help with feeding, watering, and cleaning. How to build these doors is all explained in the plans.


Walk-in door on The Garden Coop protects your chickens while giving you easy access


The henhouse gives plenty of space for the hens to roost indoors when they choose. It's also where they nest and lay the freshest, richest eggs you'll ever eat. You can play with the configuration of the roosts to fit the number of hens you have.

In the picture below, the floor of the henhouse is bare. You can also paint it or cover it with linoleum for easier cleanup. Because it's raised, the henhouse is at a comfortable working height for keeping things tidy. We simply brush the chickens' droppings and used litter down into the enclosed run to begin composting with the rest of their bedding.


Raised henhouse viewed through the access door of The Garden Coop backyard chicken coop

Chickens entering the henhouse of The Garden Coop through the hole in the henhouse floor

Fresh eggs raised in The Garden Coop backyard chicken coop

Americauna hen comes down the ladder from the hen house into the run of The Garden Coop


Remember, the entry into the henhouse does not need to be closed at night. The outer perimeter of The Garden Coop is fully secure, with bolted doors and hardware cloth trenched down on all sides of the chicken run.

Building your chicken coop this way takes some extra planning and work up front, but it beats having to go out every night to close your hens in (and every morning to let them out). It also allows your hens the choice to roost in the outer run at night, which our flock prefers almost year round in the Pacific Northwest.

As for the placement of the ladder, there are two orientations discussed in the plan. Many people like it to come up through the hen house floor, because it's tucked out of the way. Others prefer to have the chickens' ramp come up the side wall of the henhouse at the rear wall of the coop. This gives you uninterrupted floorspace in the henhouse, which becomes more important the larger your flock. It also may provide some advantage at preventing updrafts in colder climates.

Point is, you have plenty of options. And that's the great thing about building your own chicken coop — you get final say on how to do it!



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There are also several options for where to mount a roost in the enclosed hen yard (run). You can use a branch for a roost or a two-by-two or two-by-four. Figure that each chicken needs about ten to twelve inches of roost space.


Chicken perched inside the run of The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop


Assembling the coop can be mostly a one-person job, but your family, friends, and neighbors will probably want to get in on the fun. Several aspects of The Garden Coop design make it extremely predator proof, including trenching down the hardware cloth around the coop. If your friends offer to help you with this part of the chicken coop construction process, be very nice to them.


An easy chicken coop to build, The Garden Coop makes a great DIY project

Building the frame of The Garden Coop chicken coop plans

The Garden Coop chicken coop design plan - working with neighbors

Make your chicken coop safe from predators by digging a trench around the perimeter


Grow vines or pole beans up the side of the run for extra shade (and food) in the summer. The picture below shows pole beans. The following year, we planted hops, a perrenial which vines aggressively, but can be cut back every year. It also did an excellent job providing summertime shade for the chicken coop.


Grow pole beans up the side of your chicken coop for shade and food in the summer


Most chicken keepers will only ever need one chicken coop to start and sustain their hobby. But if you ever want a second coop — to expand your flock, brood chicks, separate out a broody or sick hen, or to add the function of a mobile tractor to your existing walk-in coop — The Garden Coop pairs perfectly with either The Garden Ark or The Basic Coop. And we offer a discount when you get mulitple plans (or kits) at the same time.


Garden Coop and Garden Ark Chicken Coops

image courtesy of customers Abby and John F.


And if you want an easy, elegant way to add secure space to your chickens' day yard, check out our plans for The Garden Run modular enclosure series. These designs let you add a little or a lot, while creating new ways to blend your chickenkeeping with your gardening.


Garden Top on half-height module


Secure Chicken Run Plans


Pergola chicken coop run extension plans



» See more photos and videos of The Garden Coop.




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Questions about The Garden Coop:


How skilled do I need to be at building?

It would help for you to have used a circular saw and a cordless drill before. You should also know how to use a tape measure. And a hammer. If you have those skills down and you work safely, you should have no problem building this coop. All the cuts are simple and straight. . . come to think of it, there are only two cuts in the whole plan that are not at a right angle. There are no complicated joints either. There is some digging involved, and some wrestling with rolls of hardware cloth, but you won't need any special skills there, just maybe an extra pair of hands. You can do it.

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How much do the materials cost?

Prices will differ by region and by store. If you get what's on the plan's materials list new at 2020 Home Depot prices, you'll pay around $900–$1,050 USD pre-tax (expect this to increase a few percent each year). Also, add in your local sales tax.

Here's the approximate (2020) cost breakdown by category, in USD:

        • » Wood: $345$420 (Or more. Lumber prices have increased during the pandemic.) 
        • » Hardware: $170 (see optional Quick Kit)
        • » Roofing: $155
        • » Hardware cloth: $185 (This is one item worth comparison shopping for. Check with the large farm/feed stores or wire distributors in your area. They sometimes stock bigger rolls, which may be more economical. Occasionally, you'll find a deal on Amazon too — see our Buyer's Guide for links.)
        • » Miscellaneous (caulk, plexiglass, cinder blocks, etc.): $65
        • » Wood treatment, paint, or sealer pf your choice: around $100

There are many ways to save on — or add to — this cost. I chose polycarbonate roofing at around $23 per 8-foot panel. Clear PVC is much cheaper (though far less durable). You could even build an economical roof out of plywood decking and asphalt shingles if the transparent roof is not critical to you. You can make decorative door pulls and handles out of wood scraps or hardwood branches, instead of buying the metal ones new. You could use sheet siding instead of individual siding boards; OSB instead of plywood.

We also offer a Quick Kit for The Garden Coop (U.S. only) that includes everything you need to build the coop except for the bulky stuff (wood, hardware cloth, roofing, paint, pier blocks, etc.). It's priced competitively with what you'll find locally, but it's pre-shopped and pre-packed in one easy box. It also ships free with no sales tax added.

There's no easy way around the cost of hardware cloth, but that's something you DO NOT want to skimp on. (Check your nearest farm & feed stores for local deals on longer rolls, or see our Buyer's Guide for links to it online.) Also, you certainly have some of these materials, like fence boards and two-by-fours, that you can recycle from other projects, neighbors, and so on.

What will save you money on your coop for sure is having a clear idea of what you're building, not overbuying, and not mis-measuring and making costly mistakes. A solid, time-tested plan will help you with that. And when you factor in the time you save by working from a well made plan, the materials cost seems like "chicken scratch." (Sorry. . . trust me, I'm holding back.)

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How long does it take to build The Garden Coop?

If you've read through the plan, have your materials together, and allow time for treating or sealing the wood, you could build The Garden Coop in 2 to 3 weekends. Past customers have told me this is about right, while others take their time with it, making adaptations, and for them it was a little longer.

As with any project worth doing, hopefully you'll learn some things as you go along. There's a good mix of steps too. That is, there are steps that are easy but give you a dramatic result, like framing the coop. There are some, like digging, that are just mindless. There are some that require more attention to detail, like the doors. Then there are those steps where you are just so excited to see it all coming together that you get into a groove and go, like installing the wire mesh or the roofing panels or whatever finishing touches you dream up. Click over to see how others are making The Garden Coop their own.

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What tools will I need to build this chicken coop?

We designed The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop and plan for someone with beginner-level skills. The cuts are all straightforward (no tricky angles to measure), and the tools are pretty common ones that you likely either have or can easily borrow or buy. Here's the list from the plan:

  • » Tape measure
  • » Pencil
  • » Circular saw
  • » Jig saw (OPTIONAL, for special curves, e.g., windows)
  • » Handsaw
  • » Pair of sawhorses
  • » Hammer
  • » Cordless power drill/driver, with various bits
  • » Level
  • » Wire snips
  • » Leather work gloves
  • » Shovel
  • » Ladder
  • » Combination square or speed square for marking crosscuts. (See picture, above right.)
  • » An extra pair of hands, on occasion (best if attached to a strong body)

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What are the approximate dimensions of The Garden Coop?

The coop measures about 10'w x 6'd at the frame. Add a foot or two all around at the top for the roof overhang. Inside, the coop gives you just over 6 feet of clearance (since it's set up on pier blocks). And it's about 8 feet tall, including the roof.

The Garden Coop offers 15 sq. ft. of space in the henhouse and 48 sq. ft. in the enclosed run.

Click here for metric dimensions and questions specific to the metric versions of our plans.

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Why did you design The Garden Coop to be nearly 8-feet tall?

It's a matter of preference, for you and for your birds. The Garden Coop lets you stand upright and move around without banging up skulls and elbows. Remember, the coop is not just for your chickens — you'll be in and out a lot, changing water and food and tending to the birds. We also just enjoy watching our chickens perch up high!

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How many chickens will The Garden Coop house?

The Garden Coop will house up to 8 hens, or you can customize it for more. This number is based partly on the minimum space recommendations in Barbara Kilarski's book Keep Chickens: 2 sq. ft. per hen in the henhouse and 4 sq. ft. in the run. As designed, The Garden Coop offers 15 sq. ft. in the henhouse and 48 sq. ft. in the run. That would be 7.5 chickens in the henhouse (for the sake of that seventh-and-a-halfth chicken, let's say 8) and 12 in the run.

What a lot of minimums you'll read don't take into account is how the space is designed. The Garden Coop is an integrated henhouse/run, so your hens are free to move between the henhouse and run as they please. Since they're never confined solely to the henhouse, floor space in that part of the coop is less of an issue than it otherwise would be. More critical is that your hens have adequate roost space (10-12 inches per hen), protection from the elements, and proper ventilation.

I've kept 8-9 hens (standard breeds) in my Garden Coop successfully for years. In 2011, I asked customers on our Facebook page how many chickens they keep in theirs. Of the 39 responses, it was a pretty even distribution:

    • » 8+ hens: 12
    • » 6-7 hens: 11
    • » 4-5 hens: 11
    • » Less than 4 hens: 5

As with any sub-/urban backyard flock, it helps if you have only hens (no roosters) and that they have all been raised together. If you have an extra fenced-in day run to provide, your flock will appreciate all the foraging/grazing space they can get. And if you want your Garden Coop to be larger or smaller for any reason — by all means go for it. It's a flexible design, and you're in control!

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Is The Garden Coop suitable for cold climates? Hot climates?

Yes. More than anything, what chickens need year round is proper ventilation and protection from the elements, and The Garden Coop provides this. You can also regulate the amount of ventilation by inserting a panel over a portion of the open-air ceiling in cold climates/seasons or adding ventilation to the sides of the henhouse in hotter climates/seasons.

The henhouse is optionally double-walled, creating an insulating pocket of air. (Peek inside the henhouse on the Swivel Latch video here.) And the inside panels of those walls are designed to be removed seasonally, in case you want to insert a sheet of Styrofoam insulation in the winter. You get a glimpse of how this is designed in the free preview of The Garden Coop plan.

To see some of the extreme climates where people are successfully keeping chickens in The Garden Coop, and for information on preparing your chicken coop and flock for the winter, see the winter-tagged posts at our blog, Coop Thoughts.

If you're in an especially hot or tropical environment, consider adding ventilation in the henhouse walls. We generally recommend keeping the hens' access to the run (at the top of the ladder) open at all times no matter what climate you're in so your chickens can enter and exit the henhouse as they need to. You can also keep the larger henhouse access/cleanout door fully open when it's especially hot and/or muggy. Or add a fan.

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You say "360-degree" protection from rodents and predators. What does that mean exactly?

The predators and pests you have to deal with will vary, but let's stick with two for now: rodents and raccoons. Rodents will look for any hole to crawl through to get to the chickens' food, and they can squeeze their bodies really small to do it. The Garden Coop is completely enclosed, top and sides, with 1/2-inch (13 mm) hardware cloth. Anything wider, like poultry netting or rabbit fencing, will not keep rodents out. Anything smaller, like 1/4-inch, could be too brittle. The mesh is buried a foot or more down in the ground on all sides, making tunneling a tough prospect for even the most determined rodent. (There is also a "no-dig" method for preventing tunneling in The Garden Coop plan.)

Raccoons are a different story. They will dig, pry, and even undo a latch to get into your coop. Unlike rats and mice, they don't want your chicken feed. They want your chickens. That's why it's important to staple the hardware cloth properly and to use the right kind of latch on the access door and the egg door. In many cities and suburbs that require a permit to keep chickens, a rodent-proof design is a must.

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Does the plan include instructions for nesting boxes?

Yes. The plan does include specs for two nesting boxes, which fit inside the henhouse at the front. Each is accessible from the egg door. You can also reach them quite easily from the access door. Two boxes should be enough for up to 8 hens (they only go in them to lay eggs). If you wanted more for some reason, you could add a couple more in the henhouse. It's quite roomy. You might then want to modify the dimensions of the egg door or add a second one to give you access.

If you're interested in adding external nest boxes to your chicken coop, see our free exterior nesting box plans for guidance. (Review these plans before framing your coop, as it will alter how you frame the left wall of the henhouse.)

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How do you clean out the henhouse, and how often?

Cleaning the henhouse is done simply from the waist-high door inside the coop. Just brush the litter down into the enclosed run and add fresh bedding. How often depends on the season and how often your chickens roost in the henhouse. You can paint the henhouse floor or top it with a layer of linoleum flooring to make cleanup easier.

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What about cleaning out the yard?

We use a deep-litter method in the enclosed yard. Basically, just adding additional bedding as needed and letting everything compost in place. I may get in there and turn the stuff once a week, then remove it entirely every 2-3 months, taking it to our compost pile to finish decomposing. This happens more often in the summer to keep the odor down.

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Is the coop suitable for raising baby chicks also? Can I use it as a brooder?

If the weather is warm enough, and/or you can provide ample warmth with a heat lamp, you can use the henhouse part of the coop as a brooder for chicks. You'd have to cover the hole leading to the downramp, and you could care for the chicks from the access door inside the coop. We've done this, and it works quite well. You could also fashion a brooder from a cardboard box, set it up in the garage, and keep your chicks in there until they are fully feathered.

Chicks need warmth (from a heat lamp), water, food, and fresh bedding. Don't give them too much space at first, because they get used to it and come to expect it. So if you're using a large box, insert a divider when they're small which you can remove as they grow. Also make sure they have room to get away from the heat of the bulb. That's how they regulate their temperature. If they're cold, they'll move closer. If they're too warm, they scoot farther away. You can search for "chick brooders" online to get some more ideas.

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Can I get the lumber pre-cut at my local hardware store, Lowes, Menard's, or Home Depot?

In my experience, the cuts a hardware store will make for you are often not the most precise. Also, there are many cuts in this plan, and while they're simple to do with a circular saw, you'll need to do them on site as you assemble the coop. That said, you can certainly get the store to make some cuts for you so that your materials will fit in your vehicle.

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Can you send me printed plans instead of the eBook (PDF file)?

We only offer plans as eBooks in the PDF format. This lets us get them out quickly (and always in perfect condition), and it keep costs down for everyone. Some past customers whose computer setups were not ideal told me that they forwarded the file to a friend or relative to view and print. You'd be surprised how much help a dozen fresh eggs will get you.

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Will the plans work on my iPad (or other mobile device)?

Yes. Because our chicken coop plan eBooks come as PDF files, they are fully compatible with the iPad and any other PDF-friendly mobile device. Learn more at this post on our blog.

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Is there a metric version of the plan. And do you accept international orders?

Yes to both! You can learn more about our metric plans for The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark here. You can purchase your chicken coop plans on PayPal using most international currencies and credit cards. Click here to buy and download the plans.

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We're happy to answer any other questions you might have about our chicken coop designs and plans.

Just click here to send us an email. If you currently have The Garden Coop plans, click here to see answers to additional FAQs for current customers.



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