I have seen so many beautiful coop setups here with plantings around the run and hen house. It brings to mind the endless argument my parents had going when I was growing up on the farm: MOM ("I want to plant flowers and shrubs in the run and around the entire perimeter!" vs. DAD ("Only gives the varmints a place to hide!") They usually compromised on spread straw ONLY in the run and a large open space surrounding the entire barn with no plantings at all. (Meaning Dad usually won each season, and Mom had her flowers and shrubs around the house instead.) Removing all potential hiding spots around your coop and run means removing any places that predators use for cover to stalk from. Large open spaces are a deterrent for most chicken predators. (At least that's what I was taught.) Dad wouldn't even allow any stray boards, piles of lumber, or other junk. He kept the grass in the open space perimeter very short and regularly trimmed all the shrubs around it. Of course, this is not possible for many backyard setups in relatively small spaces. And our chickens were lucky enough to free-range during the day, where our dogs and geese kept a close eye on their safety; we lost very few birds. For those of you who can, do you keep open space like this around your coop and run? Have you cleared out any piles of stuff and kept the grass short? How has it worked for you?