My Chicken Coop Garden Makeover + A Clever Edger How-to

I’m still marveling at my super woman powers.  Last weekend I took on an epic challenge – I had three graduation parties to attend, single parent responsibilities (due to my husband’s business trip), and a chicken coop garden to singlehandedly makeover.  And when I say makeover, I mean inside and out, plants, trees, grass flowers, painting, siding repairs – all of it.

Four days later, I am still bone tired. But I seem to gather energy every-time I walk outside and enjoy the pretty and organized new view.  I think I need to just go roll around in the new garden to soak up enough fuel to get me through this weekend (2 more parties, fathers day and houseguests – I seriously need a weekend away from my weekends).

Want to take a tour of the makeover?

This is my garden shed, turned chicken coop,  turned scary dilapidated mess.  When we decided to stop keeping chickens 4 years ago I just didn’t have the heart/energy to clean it out so there it has sat – a chicken goo covered eyesore  graced with a few alliums and a bunch of weeds. .

Garden Before:

before -Chicken Coop garden makeover

Step 1:  Remove the Run.  Four years of aged chicken poo in that run is pure garden gold – I just had to be able to get at it.   Plus not having an ugly chicken wire box hanging off the side of the building is already a huge improvement.

before - Chicken Coop garden makeover

I’ve been needing to take on this project for a while – but when Troybilt asked me if I’d do a makeover project in my own garden as part of their Flip the Yard challenge, I jumped at the opportunity because, TOOLS.  If you are trying to pull off super woman feats – you need tools to turn your sweat and toil in heroic acts of beauty making.

Chicken Coop garden makeover

I hauled away the rotten wood and rusty chicken wire in the EZ Stow Hauler –  It’s bigger than a regular wheel barrow and the sides each fold up or down independently so you can load and unload it easily.  It has the handle attachment on it now – but I am eager to swap it out for the tow bar to hook it up to my ride on mower so I can pull off hauling even more junk away!.

Chicken CChicken Coop garden makeoverChicken Coop garden makeoveroop garden makeover

With the chicken run gone, the full grotesqueness of the side of the shed revealed itself – but that is nothing that good power washing can’t handle.  I used the Troybilt Pressure Washer  inside and out on this project. You should thank me for not sharing photos of the inside… and especially me, after washing the chicken poo covered inside with a power washer.  Suffice today, 3100PSI of pressure does something to caked on chicken goo in an enclosed space.

It removes it, of course, but it also reconstitutes it and sends it flying in all directions landing on all surfaces.

Good times.  I’m hoping I’ll see the results of this highly experimental alternative beauty treatment in my skin sometime soon.  😉

Chicken Coop garden makeover

What do you do with years of garden gold laying on the ground – first you scoop a whole bunch of it up and spread it all over your garden.  Aged chicken manure is one of the best kinds of manure you can add to your soil because it doesn’t have any seeds (like horse or cow manure) – and plants love it.  What is left, you work into the undersoil with a rototiller (I used the Colt FT Garden Tiller)  to create the best garden bed ever.

Before Tilling:

before the tilling - garden makeover

After Tilling:

after the tilling - garden makeover

A coat of black paint, the addition of a new tree (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) and lots of dahlia tubers (that you can’t see yet because they are still under ground)) will make this even more of a spectacular garden this fall.


Chicken Coop garden makeover

Back around the front, I had some serious weeding to do, and a path to create.  After leveling everything off, I installed a few rolls of sod to bring some order to the mess. Chicken Coop garden makeover


And then I brought in all the tools.   More Power Washing, more tilling, some mowing, and finally – my new favorite tool – edging.

Chicken Coop garden makeover

Have you used an edger before?  I’ve always done the job with a half moon edger and hose to create the line.  But things get a whole lit easier when you have a power edger.  Plus I think I discovered an edger hack that I want to share with you.  If you are an edger pro, please don’t burst my bubble and tell me that every edger owner already knows this because I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Here is my Clever Edger How-To:

If you have a garden area that really isn’t anything more than a bunch of plant that kind of just melds into a grassy area then you need this hack.

If you want to create an edge where have a line already – this tool will help you clean things up really fast.  But what if you don’t even have an edge?  You have nothing?

Just cutting a line will not help – so here is what you do:

  1. Set the edger blade to cut at the max angle  that you can to the left.
  2. Run it down your line that you want to create at the deepest depth (this is also adjustable).
  3. Then set the edger blade to the cut at the max angle that you can to the right.
  4. Run it down your line (again) at the deepest depth – but this time move over a few inches (making a parallel line).  What do you get?  A perfect wedge that you pull right out like you are cutting sod and waa-la! – new perfect edge.
  5. If you need your tiny trench wider, now you can just run another line.   What would have taken me hours to dig out – literally took about 5 minutes. The power edger is my new favorite garden tool.

Chicken Coop garden makeover


Garden After:

Chicken Coop garden makeover

There is no before shot of the inside – it seriously was too gross, and I couldn’t even get in there! — but look now – all the tools have a nice home.


Garden After:

Chicken Coop garden makeover

The flower bed in front is also filled with dahlias – so I’ll have to share more pictures later this fall when everything is big and blooming.  I added a window box full of pretty annuals to keep it looking lovely while the dahlias grow.

Chicken Coop garden makeover window box

If you want to see more about the makeover as it happened – check out my instagram stories.  Also tonight at 7:00pm (June 14th, 2018) I’ll be live on instagram answering questions about the project, so if you are curious about anything – join me and ask away!

Disclosure: This project was sponsored by Troybilt and all tools were provided by them. 

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  1. Great makeover! I’m sad you don’t have chickens any longer – I like the garden shed to chicken coop makeovers better…but your shed looks gorgeous now and I agree, all that great chicken manure that had been aging for four years! Gold!

    • Yes Lisa – Pure gold! – but I have to say I am quite happy to no longer be harried chicken (and turkey and guinea hen) owner… all too much with Kids, work, life, travel, dog (who likes chickens too much), etc. etc. – I am all about simplifying, paring down, and focussing on the most important things (minimalistically) and with that goal in mind, life has gotten a little easier in these last few years. And now – I have a nice place (that still smells a bit chicken-y) to store my tools. whew.

    • Yes Lisa – Pure gold! – but I have to say I am quite happy to no longer be harried chicken (and turkey and guinea hen) owner… all too much with Kids, work, life, travel, dog (who likes chickens too much), etc. etc. – I am all about simplifying, paring down, and focussing on the most important things (minimalistically) and with that goal in mind, life has gotten a little easier in these last few years. And now – I have a nice place (that still smells a bit chicken-y) to store my tools. whew.

  2. You made a great job, it’s cool.
    I’m so happy to find your blog, it’s very interesting to read.

  3. Jim Flowers says:

    I like what you did with your garden problem. This doesn’t reflect bad on you, but you, as a professional, had fallen into the pot as other professionals, electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. They make everybody else’s homes look gorgeous, but their own is in disrepair. Now you have broken away from the others by making your home look gorgeous.

  4. Emmett Calvert says:

    It looks very nice. Even a country feller like me can glare at this accomplishment and respect all your hard work,blood,sweat,and tears. I go through this landscaping job at home continuously. I did have a Troy-Bilt Horse Tiller but it broke down and cannot get a cylinder head for it. I do have a Troy-Bilt Weed eater with a Tiller attachment. It works good on small jobs like flower beds and such. I mow my 2 acres with my John Deere 54″ Zero Turn with mulching blades. It works real good to. I will try doing this backyard landscaping similar to what you have done and thank you for the pics and suggestions.

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