Step by step instructions on how to create a birdbath planter.
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.
The rockgarden in Truro, Nova Scotia
The rockgarden in Truro, Nova Scotia
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!
Three Dogs in a Garden

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Ardale
    on Jun 2, 2017

    How many little bedding plants did you have to buy to fill your birdbath? Wouldn't they naturally fill your birdbath with fewer starting plants once they start growing? Yours is beautiful by the way and so lush looking! I have two concrete birdbaths that I have planted flowers in for years. I placed a good sized resin statue in the center of one of my birdbaths and have it raised up sitting on an overturned terra cotta pot. Not glued down and has survived up to 80 mile and hours winds for many years so far (Knock on Wood). We live in tornado alley! Looks really pretty with the flowers around it. The other birdbath is larger in size and has a concrete statue that was once a fountain. It's statue is standing in the back of that bowl on a raised lip where the water and pump used to be. You are right they do look pretty with vines draping off the sides and pretty flowers in bloom in the bowls. We don't have any small kids to worry about knocking them over on themselves. That was such a terrible tragedy to have happened that that little boy and my heart is so sad for his family!
    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      on Jun 5, 2017

      Your concrete birdbaths sound nice.
      I lost many of the plants I used to create this birdbath DIY one winter when I let the plants get to dry (I had it stored in the basement. The birdbath is ceramic and would have cracked outdoors in a Canadian winter). Originally I had maybe 5 or 6 low growing plants.
      Since that time I have redone the planting. These days I have a mix of succulents and ground cover sedums. The ground cover sedums have really thrived and now dominate the birdbath. I've added a few ceramic mushrooms and a gnome. The whole thing looks better than ever.

Join the conversation

2 of 16 comments
  • Elaine
    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
    on Jun 30, 2014

    Love it

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