Do you want a more eco-friendly yard full of birds and other wildlife? It is said that water is the most important facet in attracting wildlife to your garden.
Water attracts birds all four seasons of the year. Not only do they need a place to take a cool bath during the heat of summer, but you will see them bathe during the cold of winter if you can keep the water from freezing. The birdbath will also be a source of drinking water for the birds as well as other wildlife in your area such as squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks and possum. So why not make a DIY birdbath for your garden?
As a general rule, the birdbath should only be one to three inches deep. Anything deeper will scare the birds and they will not use it. The placement of the birdbath is also important. It can be in sun or shade, but placed in an area where the birds can feel safe.
There should be trees or shrubs nearby so the bird can find shelter quickly if it is startled by a sudden attack from a neighborhood cat or a hawk flying through the area. In winter, one can purchase a heater for the birdbath to keep the water from freezing. In areas of infrequent freezing temperatures, a tennis ball placed in the birdbath will keep the icy water from cracking the birdbath.
Clay Pot Birdbath
A birdbath can be as simple as inverting a clay saucer and filling it with water. To keep the clay saucer off the ground to provide more protection for the birds, turn clay pots upside down and stack several until you find a good height that suits you and the birds.
The clay saucer and clay pots can be painted, decoupaged, sponge painted or stamped to add a bit of art to your garden. If you want to go one step further, mosaic tiles can be placed in the bottom of the clay saucer. The mosaic should be sealed with grout sealer and then on an annual basis.
Another DIY birdbath that works well, but requires a bit more skill is to make a cement birdbath that stays on the ground. First, dig a shallow hole at least 25 to 30 inches across. Smooth the area and cover with sand to make a base to hold the cement. Cover the sand with a plastic liner such as a garbage bag.
Purchase a bag of Quickcrete Vinyl Patch and mix it with water in a wheelbarrow to make a mixture that feels like brownie mix. Place the Quickcrete mixture by handfuls into the prepared area to a thickness of approximately 2 inches with the center a bit thicker.
Remember that the water in the completed birdbath needs to be only 2 to 3 inches deep.
When finished laying the Quickcrete, cover the whole birdbath in a large piece of plastic. Let it cure for about a week. Finally, hose it off and fill with water.
Sand Cast Birdbath
If you are even a bit more creative, you could make a DIY birdbath by using the Quickcrete Vinyl Patch to sand cast large leaves into a beautiful, artistic birdbath for your garden. In this situation, build a mound of sand and dampen it so it holds a shape. Cover the sand mound in plastic. Cut a heavily veined large leaf from your garden such as Host, Elephant Ear, Fatsia, Squash, Rhubarb, Oak Leaf Hydrangeas to name a few.
Invert the cut leaf over the plastic. Working in reverse, shape the leaf so that when you invert it, you will have a cement leaf that will hold some water to serve as the birdbath.
Again, mix the Quickcrete Vinyl Patch with water to the texture of brownie mix. Place the mix by handfuls onto the inverted leaf and smooth to 2 inches thick. Shape the Quickcrete mixture almost to the edges of the leaf, but not to the exact edge. This allows for any run-off of the mixture. Again, cover in plastic for 2 to 3 days.
Uncover the leaf birdbath and remove the leaf. Turn over the birdbath to behold your work of art. The leaf birdbath may be painted with acrylic paint and then sealed with polyurethane.
If you have a creative mind, you will surely think of all sorts of innovative ways to create your own bird bath. Just keep the basics in mind such as location, water depth and purpose. If you live in an area where the ground is rich in clay, you could consider making a bird bath out of baked clay. Simply fashion your bird bath from the clay extracted from the earth and then bake it in your oven until it is hard and cured.
Photo by brandi666, Creative Commons Attribution License