Want creative and unique birdhouse ideas? This photo gallery features all sorts of decorative bird home with lots of rustic, homemade touches including different paint colors and stone finishes.
You may also like these 7 Tutorials for Garden Art Flowers.
What’s Your Favorite Birdhouse Style?
You can tell a lot about a gardener’s style by their choice of birdhouse. This gallery has everything from stone to wood, rustic to modern, traditional to eclectic. See which ones are your favorites.
The most important thing to know about birdhouses is that most are not actually suitable for birds to nest inside. This explains what a nesting box is and why decorative birdhouses can be dangerous for birds. To keep things safe, if it’s garden decor, block off any entry holes.
If you love bold colors, also see 12 Colorful Garden Ideas. I’ve got some freshly-painted birdhouses in my garden too!
Birdhouse Painting Tips
- For best adherence, you may need to slightly rough up the surface with sandpaper before painting to provide better grip.
- For untreated wood, start with an exterior primer or all-in-one primer-paint product. This may be acrylic or oil-based.
- To protect the paint, use an exterior sealant over the final coat of paint.
For best results, follow product instructions including required drying times.
Creative Birdhouse Ideas
Pick a beautiful, strong paint color and work it!
2Rustic Wood Birdhouses
Old weathered wood is perfect for creating rustic birdhouses.
These nesting boxes were made by Empress of Dirt Facebook friend Gaye.
While we hope they’re safe, homemade arty birdhouses tend to be dangerous. Predators can get in or chicks get trapped inside. For this reason, if you like this idea, just use them as garden art and block off any entry holes.
Want to paint leather or vinyl? Rough up the surface with sandpaper and use patio craft paints.
4Stone Birdhouse With Funnel Roof
The first birdhouse I ever made for my garden was a stone birdhouse.
I had seen a rather magnificent one for sale on a garden tour and, after seeing the sticker price ($275), I thought it might be a good idea to try making my own instead.
Several of the photos in this series come from the same garden. The artist, Mike, uses all sorts of random bits and bobs to create birdhouses and other garden art.
You know how I said decorative birdhouses can be dangerous for wild birds?
This one has a good solution: paint the entry hole rather than making a real one. Problem solved!
Related: Gallery of Garden Art Chairs
I’m a big fan of using color as a recurring theme throughout a garden.
Best Outdoor Glue?
I use GE II Silicone Sealant for all of my garden art projects. It forms a permanent bond that lasts forever.
We saw this on the front of a store on the shore of Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada.
9St. Toad’s Cathedral
This toad house is next level! I’m not sure if His Majesty was at home when I took the photo.
This idea became popular years ago when country style furnishings were ruling the crafting world.
Just create picket tops, add faux roof pieces and drill holes.
This one is in my garden. I bought the martin house at a yard sale. I blocked off all of the doors except one. The wrens use it each spring.
This next one is not a birdhouse but a bird feeder made from a repurposed toy dollhouse:
11Tree Stump Birdhouses
This multi-branch tree stump makes an excellent birdhouse apartment complex.
Black can be a bold color choice in a garden. This design could be used as a bird feeder too.
You can see more examples of black paint in the garden shown here with black fence and arbor.
Not quite a birdhouse but more of an entertaining area for birds!
14Clay Nesting Box
This one is used as a nesting box. Again, always be sure you can open and clean anything that birds may nest in.
A lovely, scrappy piece made from old barnboard and sheet metal scraps.
16Red and Yellow Birdhouse
This one has a modern art vibe. I quite like the addition of the tree branch on the porch.
17Chicken Coop Birdhouses
You’ll notice in several of these photos where the gardener has grouped a bunch of birdhouses together.
Creating collections is a great tip for displaying garden art.
Go glitzy or go home! This birdhouse is bedazzling.
I love old wood patina paired with masses of flowering plants.
20Green Tin Roof
Check out the junk boxes at thrift shops and Habitat for Humanity stores to find odd pieces for your birdhouse.
Locks, keys, gears, doorknobs, and more all work.
21Quirky Topsy Turvy Birdhouse
There was a crooked man… What a fun and quirky project. Love the bell tower!
22Rustic Stone Birdhouse
This one seems to be made from a basic wood birdhouse covered in grout with stones pressed in.
23Log Cabin Birdhouse
I love this one. Wish it was mine!
This is a simple idea for a fairy or miniature garden.
Take a small piece of wood, drill a few holes, add a perch, and top it with a tiny piece of scrap metal.
25Rustic Quirky Birdhouse
If you have old wood scraps, they work nicely for a house like this one.
Don’t worry about creating patina: a year or so of exposure to the elements starts aging wood nicely.
26Tree Stump Birdhouse
Years ago, it was considered a faux pas to leave tree stumps in place when a tree must be removed.
While some may resprout, the stumps provide valuable food and habitat for all the insects and microbes that keep a garden alive.
Here’s another option: use seashells instead of stones to decorate a birdhouse.
This is a sweet idea: use an old hand tool to mimic a perch.
If your birdhouse needs dressing up, consider hand-painting some designs on it. A picket fence with flowers works too.
See How to Hand Paint Flower Pots for recommended craft supplies.
Raid that thrift store and find items like this old lock to use as birdhouse decor.
31Old Man Tree Stump
He’s alive! This old tree stump holds the laundry line and lots of garden art including the birdhouse on top.
Sometimes these tree stump faces are available on Amazon.
There is an entire gallery of tree stump art ideas here.
32Rustic Simple Birdhouse
33Tall Blue Birdhouse
There are a few creative details here: the faucet handle and drawer pull as accessories, the teardrop entry hole, and the addition of a vintage water fountain.
This one was shared by Empress of Dirt Facebook friend Lee who created a lovely birdhouse village on her garden fence.
35Stone and Wood
Pretty fancy! The turned wood and detailing looks gorgeous with the embedded stones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Birdhouses can be painted with an exterior primer and paint or all-in-one product made for outdoor conditions. This may be acrylic or oil-based. Keep in mind that decorative birdhouses should not be used for birds, just as decor. You can prevent problems by blocking off any entry doors or other openings. Provide proper, species-specific nesting boxes for nesting birds.
Birdhouses should not be used to attract birds—use proper nesting boxes instead. Nesting boxes should be natural, untreated wood and blend in with their natural surroundings. Birdhouses, when purely decorative, can be painted any color you like, of course.
Decorative birdhouses should have their entry holes blocked to prevent birds from using them. Use them as garden decor, not for nesting birds.
Unless a unit is properly designed for a specific bird species, a bird may use it for nesting but put themselves in danger.
If entry holes are too small, their young cannot exit at fledging time.
If entry holes are too large, predators get in.
If there is a perch by the entry hole, predators have yet another way to attack the brood.
Buy Unique Birdhouses
Check local artists, yard sales, and art sales.
Etsy is also a good source for unique garden art and birdhouses.
25 Garden Art Projects & Ideas
by Melissa J. Will
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Attracting Wild Birds to Your Garden
- Avoid the use of any products toxic to birds and their food sources including caterpillars.
- Grow plants, trees and shrubs for habitat and be messy: dead and decaying things nourish life.
- Keep pets out of your garden.
- Choose plants that provide food, nectar, or habitat for other living things.
- Birdhouses: Use as decoration only.
- Nesting Box Tips and Nesting Box Plans: Choose species-specific designs.
- Bird Feed: Provide nutritious food and fresh, clean water.
- Bird Feeders: Clean frequently. Remove feeders immediately if you notice any sign of disease or problems like salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis, or avian pox are reported in your area.
Remove feeders and stop hand-feeding birds if there are known outbreaks of pathogenic diseases spreading throughout wild bird populations.
TIP: Use a motion-sensitive wildlife camera in your garden to see what goes on when you’re not there.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛