Patty’s New Home

Converting a 20 year old playset to a chicken coop

There are places on the internet where you can find information about building or buying chicken coops, so i’m not going to duplicate all of that here. I wanted a chicken coop, but what I had was a 20 year old wood play set given to my by a generous cousin when my kids were small. Although they are nostalgic about it, they no longer play on it with their friends.

playset full view
Creative Playthings wood playset with a green slide

This is the playset before we began the alterations. The first thing we had to do is move it because it might be too close to the property line where it is- we have a 25′ setback for these structures in my town. But it’s heavy, so first we took off the climbing wall on the back, the slide, the side piece that includes the ladder and the monkey bars, the other ladder, and finally the roof. This was harder than expected because I didn’t really know how to use a socket wrench and had trouble finding the right size, and even when I did some of them were rusted so I had to do the thing I didn’t want to do- ask my husband for help. He’s mechanical in a way that I am not. Sometimes I call him the “mechanical object whisperer,” usually with affection. He just has the knack. Even so, some of them we just had to break off.

With the help of a brawny teenager (thanks Ryan!), we moved it to it’s new location.

I hadn’t planned on replacing the roof, but a closer inspection revealed more rot than I anticipated. There was also rot on the bottom where the 4X4’s have been sitting on the ground. It was pretty easy to cut off the rot on the bottom with a saw. I stained the bottoms to protect the remaining wood, than laid down a lot of expensive (and currently hard to find) 1/2 inch hardware cloth over 4 paving stones that “we” (did I mention that with 3 teenagers in the house if I’m willing to harangue I can get free labor?) dug 18 inch holes for and set in with gravel and sand to make an inexpensive base.

rotted 4X4
Sawing off rotted wood at the base
4X4 stained and mounted on a concrete paver
The rotted 4X4 was trimmed, stained, and rests on a 7 inch square concrete paver and 1/2 inch hardware cloth

The pavers were a journey all by themselves. I thought a lot about how to make a base, considered a bunch of options like pouring concrete. I’m not crazy about an industrial look and I also need to keep costs down, so I settled on this method. The hard part was getting the stones level so I allocated a day just for that. I’d say it took a few hours to get it right but once we set the playset on the stones, it’s darn near perfect. Close enough. The one flaw is that the wood is not screwed to the stones. You can buy concrete bases that fit a 4X4, but they’re pretty ugly. I’m counting on the weight of the structure keeping it in place, but we are considering finding a way to screw/attach it more securely.

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