Concrete bird baths are notorious for cracking. This porous material takes in moisture and busts open when temperatures change. They’re also rarely designed to be safe for the birds, but they do make great planters. I’ve gathered a bunch of ideas for you here.
If you see a nice, old bird bath at a yard sale, be sure to snatch it up! If it’s cracked, the seller is often thankful to get rid of them.
Cracked Bird Baths Provide Good Drainage
Depending on your climate, you may have to put the bird bath away in storage during the cold months to prevent winter damage. Good planting choices include succulents and annuals. You could also create miniature or fairy gardens with tiny plantings or insert a water-tight container and add a small circulating fountain and water garden.
Here’s some favourite bird bath planters.
1. Bird Baths With Annual Flowers
This is a perfect example of a bird bath that would not work well for the birds. Most birds cannot swim and need a secure place to stand while splashing water onto themselves for bathing. While too hard for birds to navigate, this deep bowl works perfectly as an planter for annual flowers.
2. Bird Bath Water Garden
Water plants (water hyacinth for this one) and a gazing ball turn this bird bath into a container garden pond. This post has instructions for making your own garden pond including everything you need to know about pumps, plants, and pond fish.
You might want to add a little solar-powered recirculating pump to keep the water clear.
3. Broken Bird Bath Bowl Planter
Some bird baths crack along the sides of the bowl, others break off from their stands. Make lemonade from lemons and use the bowl as a succulent planter.
4. Leaky Bird Bath Planter
This is one of the most beautiful bird bath planters I have ever seen. Barb of Our Fairfield Home and Garden converted this leaky old bird bath into a work of art. See her blog post here for specific details on the plants used.
5. Bird Bath Rock Garden
A few succulents, rocks, and decorative snail fill this bird bath planter. If you want something you can keep out year round, leave out the plants or just add them in small pots that you can remove before winter.
- How to propagate succulents
- DIY succulent wall planter
- How to make hypertufa pots
- 10 DIY succulent projects
6. Bird Bath Fairy Garden
Here’s another creative by Barb of Our Fairfield Home & Garden. She found the bird bath in the garbage and brought it home for a makeover. See her post here for details on how she did it.
- How to choose plants for a miniature or fairy garden
- Make your own fairy decor
- How to make your first fairy garden
7. Bird Bath On A Pedestal
This one is not planted but it offers a good idea: prop a bird bath up to the height that works in your garden bed. Then plant it with something eye-popping to create a focal point.
8. Miniature Rock Garden
Lynne of Sensible Gardening & Living created this miniature garden when her concrete bird bath developed a crack that could not be repaired. Visit Lynne here to read the details.
9. Hypertufa Bird Bath
I’m not sure of the story behind this one (I saw it on a garden tour) but it looks like the bowl was made from hypertufa and set on an old pedestal. Perhaps it was always intended to become a planter as it’s way too deep for birds. Set in the middle of the ornamental grasses, it makes a great art piece.
Plants such as thyme (warm, dry conditions) work well in these planters.
11. For The Roses
Sometimes no plants are needed. This bird bath looks fine just as it is. Tuck it under a tree (or climbing rose) to keep it from filling with rain.
12. Words In A Bird Bath
The words on stones just don’t add an artful touch: they also keep the water shallow which is much safer for the birds.
13. Succulents and Stones
Stephanie of Garden Therapy gave her entire backyard a makeover, taking her time to create a beautiful outdoor living space. Come see how this bird bath planter fits in.