A bird bath is a great way to attract feathered friends to your backyard or garden. Birds are naturally attracted to water, so by providing them with a place to bathe and drink, you’ll be sure to see more of them in your outdoor space.
Of course, you can easily go out and buy a brand new bird bath, but if you’re feeling creative and would like to save some money, read on for some great homemade bird bath ideas for you to try.
How to Make a Bird Bath
There are many styles of bird bath, but the main aim is always to provide a source of clean, shallow water in a position that’s visible to passing birds and safe from potential predators. The main component will be the bowl or reservoir. This will need to be able to hold 2 or 3 inches of water and provide a safe way for birds to get in and out.
You could just place the bowl at ground level, but it’s usually a good idea to raise it off the ground somehow, so that birds have some protection from predators, such as cats. Mounting options will depend on the size and weight of the bowl itself. You might use bricks, upturned pots and planters, or you could even place the bowl on a table or chair.
If the bowl is light enough, then you could also consider hanging your bird bath from a tree, a pergola, or using a mounting bracket like those used for hanging baskets.
What Can I Use for a Bird Bath Bowl?
When it comes to finding a suitable container for the water in your bird bath, there are two options: upcycle or make something from scratch.
If going for the upcycling option, there are almost limitless things you could use. To start off, see if you have any of the following items to spare…
- Plant trays/saucers
- Old kitchenware – bowls/saucers
- Ceramic Baking Trays
- Old glassware – bowls/dishes
- Pet Bowls
- Fruit Bowls
- Galvanised Bin Lids (turned upside down!)
- Old Sink
If making a bird bath bowl from scratch, then it’s a case of finding a suitable material that you’re comfortable working with.
What is the Best Material for a Bird Bath?
There’s no definitive answer when it comes to the best material for a bird bath bowl, as there are many different options available, each with its pros and cons.
Some of the most popular materials used include:
Often used for larger bird baths or those that will be left outside all year round. Concrete is very durable and can be easily moulded into different shapes and sizes. It’s also relatively inexpensive.
Another popular option, particularly for more natural-looking bird baths. Stone is hard-wearing, but can be more difficult to work with than some other materials.
A classic choice that will give your bird bath a traditional look. Terracotta is quite fragile, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking for something that will last for many years.
A cheap and easy-to-use material that is often used for smaller bird baths. However, it’s not as durable as some other materials and may fade over time if left in direct sunlight.
A popular choice, as metal is very strong and durable. It’s also easy to clean and maintain. However, metal can become very hot in direct sunlight, so might not be the best in direct sun if you’re in a hot climate.
A classic choice that will suit any garden. Wood is strong and durable, but it will require some treatment and maintenance to keep it in good condition.
A more unusual choice, but one that can look very attractive. Glass is fragile, so it’s not the best material if you’re looking for something that will last for many years.
Another classic choice that will give your bird bath a traditional look. Again, ceramic is quite fragile, so not the best hard-wearing option
DIY Bird Bath Ideas for You to Try
Plant Pot Bird Bath
This is perhaps the easiest way to make a DIY bird bath, and if you already have some old pots or platers laying around it makes for a great little upcycling project! As we mentioned earlier, there are many things you could use for the bowl, but in this case, the best option might be something like a large saucer.
Terra cotta is best but plastic could work too – provided it is secure and won’t fall over. Remember, you can also add a splash (or spray) of paint to make a cheerful, more artistic piece for the garden!
In this video, Graham Ross takes us through the process and explains some of the key things to consider:
As Graham suggests, you want the bird bath to be around waist-high. This helps to protect bathing birds from predators, such as cats. Besides using pots laying around in your garden, you could also find them for pretty cheap in homeware suppliers and charity shops, or even try your local recycling centre or ask your community on Facebook.
DIY Hanging Bird Bath
There are probably hundreds of ways to go about making a lightweight, hanging bird bath. Out of all the ideas I’ve found this method by Lori Byle is certainly one of the best:
It’s cheap, it’s easy and the final result is very attractive!
Lori chooses an attractive glass bowl in this example, but if you want something ultra cheap, or if you’re worried about it falling, then you could easily make a plastic version
DIY Concrete Bird Bath
A concrete bird bath is a good long-term option, as it should be tough enough to withstand the outdoors and weather well. There are many videos on YouTube which demonstrate how to make a concrete bird bath from scratch, such as this one:
It might be a bit fiddly for some, but if you have the time and want something a bit more polished, then why not give it a try? If you get it right, you’ll have a finished product similar to that you might buy in a garden centre. However, making your own gives you the option to customise the design and size to your liking.
Of course, you might like to paint the bird bath afterwards or even set things like stones or beads into the concrete before it sets for a unique look.
Bird Bath Fountain Water Feature
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for an extra fun DIY project, why not make a bird bath water fountain? The added movement will oxygenate the water, helping to keep it fresher for longer and minimising algae. You’ll also get to enjoy the soothing trickle of water, which is known to have a relaxing effect.
As this video shows, building your own homemade bird bath water feature might not be as tricky or expensive as you might think:
There are many ways to approach it, but the basic idea is as follows…
- Create a tower of containers of increasing size
- Place a pump in the bottom container and feed the water to the top using plastic tubing
- The pump might be powered by mains (consult an electrician), or you could go for a solar-powered option.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Deep Should a Bird Bath Be?
The depth of a bird bath will depend on the type of birds you want to attract. However, as a general rule of thumb, it should be around 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep. If possible, it’s good to create a gentle slope of some kind so that the depth is variable to suit different-sized birds.
Should a Bird Bath Be in the Sun or Shade?
This is a matter of personal preference, but generally speaking, it’s best to place the bird bath in a spot that gets some sun during the day. This will help to keep the water warm enough for bathing birds. However, if you live in a hot climate, it might be best to place it in a shaded area to avoid the water getting too warm and excessive evaporation.
Do I Need to Clean My Bird Bath?
Yes, you should clean your bird bath on a regular basis, especially if you live in an area with a lot of birds. A good rule of thumb is to give it a thorough clean at least once a week. However, if you live in a hot climate, you might need to do it more often.
How Do I Clean My Bird Bath?
You can clean your bird bath with a mild detergent and a soft brush. Avoid using harsh chemicals as these could be harmful to the birds. Some people say that a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part vinegar is a good natural option. If you’re not sure what to use, you could always ask your local bird sanctuary or vet for advice.
Should I Put Rocks or Stones in My Bird Bath?
You can if you want to, but it’s not necessary. Some people like to add rocks or stones to their bird baths as this can give the birds something to stand on while they’re bathing. This is particularly useful if the bowl has smooth, slippery sides. However, it’s important to make sure that the rocks are clean and free from any chemicals before adding them to the bath.
Where is the Best Place to Put A Bird Bath?
This is a matter of personal preference and will depend on the layout of your garden. However, as a general rule, it’s best to place the bird bath away from trees and shrubs so that the birds have a clear view of any potential predators. It’s also important to make sure that the bird bath is in a level spot so that the water doesn’t spill out.
Building your own bird bath is a great way to add a touch of style to your garden. Not only that, but it’s a great way to attract wildlife and give them a place to drink and bathe. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can create a beautiful and unique bird bath that will be the envy of your neighbours.
Did you make your own DIY bird bath? How did you do it? What did you use? And most importantly…what kind of feathered visitors have you had? Tell us in the comments below!