Cover the bottom of a standard cast-concrete birdbath with pebbles for a more natural look. The pebbles also provide traction birds need for sure footing. Make sure your bird bath is no deeper than 3 inches and has sloping sides and an edge to provide a place for birds to perch.
Meet birds half way by suspending a birdbath in a tree. Keep it low enough that filling and cleaning is still easy to do. (Bird baths should be filled with clean, fresh water every couple of days. When refilling, use a brush to remove any algae that may have grown.) This one has a wreath of branches to supply handy perches.
Make a birdbath of hypertufa and it can fill any spot in a yard. Positioned on the ground, it will have the added benefit of providing water for many small mammals, such as squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. If cats frequent your yard, the bath should be off the ground and away from shrubs and brush. Different bird species like different bath heights, so provide a variety or experiment to see what works best for you.
Installing a simple fountain mechanism attracts birds and adds movement and sound to your garden for you.
Another fountain idea: Create a DIY invitation to birds by pounding a nail hole in the bottom of a container such as a bucket or jug; fill with water and hang above the bath. The steady drips will attract birds.
Birds don't care what you use as a birdbath—terra-cotta plant saucers, a garbage can lid with a few stones placed inside. Here a plastic plant saucer rests in branches. Glass rocks (usually used as vase filler) provides safe footing.
Even if a birdbath can't hold water anymore, you don't have to pitch it. With a few added touches, it lives on in its role of garden helper. Or may we suggest filling it with birdseed? Click to the next slide for a clever idea on making a container garden in a broken birdbath.
Damaged and broken items may no longer be useful for their original purpose, but they make great art. A damaged birdbath becomes a succulent garden. Add a base of soilless potting mix, plant with succulents and finish with a mulch of Spanish moss. Decorate with your choice of accessories, such as this candy dish planter, compass and spoon.
A colorful arrangement blooms from this weathered concrete birdbath.
'Pink Champagne' rubygrass bursts like a fountain; 'Blushing Emily' chrysanthemums and Tiny Toes coleus offer pops of red. Green kale, yellow-green Golden Globes loosestrife and bronze 'Dolce Crème Brulee' coral bells round out the mix.
Based on a French floral design technique called pavé, this one-dimensional winter arrangement is composed of natural ingredients squeezed close together, then frozen in place with water. In this example, Minneapolis garden designer Scott Endres used kumquats, polished stones, cranberries and pepper berries.