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Step by step instructions on how to create a birdbath planter.
Difficulty: Easy
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
I came away from my recent trip to Nova Scotia with a renewed fascination for some of plant world's smallest members.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
Back home in Ontario, I have two miniature gardens that I created a few years ago using old concrete birdbaths.
I like the birdbaths because they bring these delicate looking plants up where you can best admire their texture and diminutive blooms.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
I decided to create a third birdbath planter for the front garden.
Like most birdbaths, this terra cotta birdbath comes in two pieces. (purchased at Terra Nurseries in Milton, ON)
(Terra cotta will crack in winter, so this birdbath will need to be stored in a cool, dry place like a heated garage overwinter. So far (knock wood!), I have had not problems with my concrete birdbaths cracking in winter.)
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
To start your birdbath planter, fill the top saucer halfway with fine gravel. I used pea gravel, but if you can find a finer gravel, so much the better. (Note: I have never drilled a hole in the bottom of my birdbaths for drainage. The gravel alone seems to provide enough drainage.)
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
Find yourself an empty pot and mix together equal portions of fine gravel and a good quality top soil. Gauge the amount of topsoil/gravel mixture you need according to the size of your birdbath.
Now pour the gravel and topsoil mixture on top of your first layer of pea gravel. Ideally when you are finished pouring, the soil/gravel mixture should be just below the top lip of the birdbath.
Now you are ready to start planting.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
For plantings suggestions please visit my Three Dogs in a Garden blog post. There is a link at the bottom of this Hometalk post.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
Begin planting along the outer circumference of the top saucer. Plants that will trail or spill over the lip of the birdbath are a nice choice.
As you dig down carefully, you will displace some of the soil and gravel to make room for the roots of the potted plants you are adding.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
Spread the displaced soil evenly, slightly mounding it up in centre. In doing so, you are creating a bit of a rounded mushroom shape. (If you need to, you can always discard some excess soil mix back into the terra cotta pot where you created your soil/gavel mixture.)
Top dress any gaps between your plants with a sprinkling of more gravel. Add any decorations you want. I added a trio of little ceramic mushrooms purchased at the Dollarstore.
  • creating a garden in miniature, gardening
Water well until your plants are established and enjoy!

To see more: http://threedogsinagarden.blogspot.ca/2014/06/creating-garden-in-minature.html

  • Debbie Jackson
    Debbie Jackson Walhalla, SC
    on Jun 29, 2014

    A word of caution/safety. With terra cotta birdbaths like these, please be anchor them carefully and together. Do this esp if you have small children wanting to looking them or touch the contents. I had a friend toddler son die after one feel on him as he played in the water. It caused internal ingeries.

    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      Three Dogs in a Garden Canada
      on Jun 30, 2014

      @Debbie Jackson Thank you Debbie for bringing up the issue of safety. The incident you describe is tragic! Birdbaths are heavy, especially the concrete ones. I agree that any homeowner should be cautious about placing a birdbath where a young child might accidentally topple it over.

  • PK
    PK New London, WI
    on Jun 30, 2014

    Thank you for sharing ....I love repurposing things in my yard :) I just removed some hens & chicks from an old mailbox which I had cut off the top half . They had been in there for well over 6 years and they decided they needed a new home ...now I can make them one :)

  • JudyLee
    JudyLee Westminster, SC
    on Jun 30, 2014

    I love it !

  • Elaine
    Elaine Montross, VA
    on Jun 30, 2014

    Just really love this! Thank you for such nice easy to follow instructions! Your mini garden is so beautiful and happy looking!

  • Bernadette
    Bernadette Lake View, NY
    on Jun 30, 2014

    Love it

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!