Birdbath Water Garden

Nancy MacDonald Wallace
by Nancy MacDonald Wallace
6 Materials
1 Hour

Have you given any thought to transforming your birdbath into a water garden? Well I have, and after a couple of years experimenting with various aquatic plants, I’m sharing my ideas here.

This is a birdbath that I converted into a water garden, and you’d be surprised how simple it is. Choose a complementary pot to go with the birdbath, then choose your aquatic plants to fit inside the planter.

Aquatic Plant: Lobelia x gerardii 'Vedrariensis' (Purple Cardinal Flower), which attracts hummingbirds.

Aquatic Plant: Colocasia (Elephant Ears), a dramatic foliage plant.

Aquatic Plant: Actaea simplex 'Black Negligee' (Black Bugbane). During the summer, this plant will product slender, white, fragrant, bottlebrush-like flowers.

Aquatic Plant: Iris ensata 'Variegata' (Japanese Water Iris) has striking green and white foliage.

Assembly: place a square piece of window screen (about 4” x 4”) over the hole in the bottom of your chosen planter. This prevents dirt from leaching into the birdbath and clouding the water. Plant the container with your favorite aquatic plants, pulling at the roots before installing so they take root quickly in their new home.

Once you’ve combined the plant materials, water the planter thoroughly before placing it in the birdbath so the plants are saturated beforehand. 

Carefully place the planter in the birdbath and fill the bird bath. I top-dressed this planter with decorative stones.

The water in the birdbath stays clear because of the screen placed inside the planter before the plants are installed.

My birdbath base came with an option to install additional plant materials. I used Pachasandra in the pockets, a shade-loving ground cover. (These plants are watered separately from the birdbath by a small hole that accommodates a garden hose.)

This is the product I use to keep mosquitoes at bay: Mosquito Dunk (or a dusting of Mosquito Bits). Follow package directions carefully and use gloves when breaking the disks apart.

Add 1/4 disk of a Mosquito Dunk to the bird bath, which will not harm plants or wildlife.

Depending on the weather, I clean the water in the bird bath every 7-10 days (adding a fresh 1/4 disk Mosquito Dunk each time I change the water). Storms, pollen, summer temperatures and other environmental factors dictate when I change the water, but the screen in the bottom of the planter keeps the water fresh and clear. At the end of the summer, I transfer the plants from the container into a suitable landscape environment. 

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away For Good

For more information about getting rid of these pesky critters using DIY hacks and natural methods, check out our guide on how to keep mosquitoes away without using harmful chemicals.

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
  • Ken31914827 Ken31914827 on Mar 05, 2018

    Definitely, I already have bird bath & strawberry pot. Like the idea of painting it all turqoise blue. Hope my birds will like it too, Have never heard of mosquito blocks? Wonder if they will work in my fishpond? Where to buy in Canada, BC

  • Charitie Drye Charitie Drye on Jul 16, 2018

    Where did you get your bird bath? I've never seen one like it before

  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on Mar 20, 2024

    Can extra stakes be bought for the birdbath? Mine did not have any in package. Therefore tilts over easily.

Join the conversation
2 of 29 comments
  • Kathy Cornman Kathy Cornman on Apr 26, 2018

    This is beautiful! I love it! It's time to go shopping for the pots and a bird bath like yours. Thanks for the tips!

  • Carey Carey on May 22, 2018

    Great Idea! I am going to create my own bird bath and use this idea to put it to a different use! Thank you for sharing your idea!