One step closer to urban chickens

Our backyard makeover is progressing, but I’m wondering if it will ever look nice again. It’s a rough work in progress at this point.

backyard makeover

Main elements of three raised beds and herb garden are in place, with more work on the path and new pond needed.

We got our permit from the city to keep hens (YAY!), but I’m still not done with the coop. I had to move a flagstone pathway to make room for the coop, and I’m still resetting the stones. Lots of work remains to be done.


Chicken coop still needs some minor work, but the structure is finished.

I want to make some changes to the coop before we get our hens. The latch that our carpenter put on will be too easy for a raccoon to open, so I’m adding a door latch that varmits can’t operate. I also got a latch and chain so I can partially open the “egg-gathering” door on hot days for increased ventilation. I also plan to lay tile in the floor of the coop (not the run, which is dirt) to make it easier to bleach the floor on occasion.


I'm still working on resetting the flagstone pavers.

 I’m shopping for a wooden planter box that I can nail to the side. I’m picturing succulents flowing down from the box, something like burro tail. I plan to make a “green roof” for the top of the coop, and have already begun potting plants to put up there. That area gets a lot of sun and should make a great place for starting seedlings next January.

mission art

The mission at Carmel in concrete

And the coup de grace for the coop (would that be coop de grace?) is some concrete art that I found in our garage that will look perfect on the coop. These pieces are sculptured concrete, possibly poured into a mold, and framed for outdoor hanging. One is of redwood trees and the other is of the Spanish mission in Carmel. They will look perfect hanging on the coop once I get that second coat of paint applied. I mean, really, this is going to be some Cluckingham Palace.

(To read more of Lou Murray’s environmental writing, see her weekly column, Natural Perspectives, in the Huntington Beach Independent at, under columnists.) This week’s column is on our photo club’s trip to Monterey and the agriculture tour. See it at

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a retired medical researcher, retired professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I wrote a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent for many years. I also supervised environmental restoration projects and taught at the Orange County Conservation Corps before retiring in the summer of 2016. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks. I am also dedicated to combatting global climate change.
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2 Responses to One step closer to urban chickens

  1. Eileen says:

    You are so energetic! I wish I had your energy.


    • You should see how slow I work! But still, it’s not bad for nearly 67. I’m no longer working in the field with my Hispanic gang members at the Corps, only nature walks and classroom work now, so working in the yard and growing my own food is my physical activity. Can’t believe how fast the years go by at this age. The garden seasons all kind of run together.


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