I’m on garden art kick right now, gradually adding bursts of colour throughout the garden. I’ll show you what I used to transform a collection of drab birdhouses into a cheerful row of quirky art.
Decorative Birdhouses are Not for the Birds
First things first: painted birdhouses are not for birds. If you want birds to nest and raise their young in a shelter you provide, use proper nesting boxes (shows examples on Amazon) designed for specific types of birds. While birds may try nesting in garden decorations, it is safest for their habitat to be free of paints or stains and blend into the habitat.
No one wants a flashy sign saying, Hey! There’s eggs in here! Want some?
Nor do you want their offspring exposed to any potentially harmful gases from wood finishes.
For DIY nesting box plans, I highly recommend the book, Bird Watcher’s Digest Easy Birdhouses & Feeders: Simple Projects to Attract and Retain the Birds You Want.
Painting Decorative Birdhouses
Last year, on a garden tour, I visited a 90 year-old man who makes birdhouses and feeders. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Just for fun. Apparently it really is for fun because he charges just a few dollars for each one.
I have to say I was not at all fond of the colours (above) but could not resist the bargain.
I finally got around to repainting them recently after deciding to dedicate an entire corner of the garden to bird-inspired decor.
Some links go to Amazon using my affiliate account.
- Patio paints (outdoor craft paint)
- Exterior polyurethane (if you want to provide extra weather protection)
- Rags, apron, soapy water for clean up
If you want to paint animals, houses, and more on rocks and stones, I recommend books by Lin Wellford. You can see them here on Amazon or check your local library.
I used the same paints on my birdhouses.
First sand off any finishes and use outdoor primer to seal and prepare the surfaces.
I actually used leftover chalkboard paint for the rooftops. I also like how this repetition of one colour (black) on each of the birdhouses unifies the collection.
So far the only visitor is the chipmunk who likes to stash stolen bird seed inside. Now to get him to pose for a photo (no luck yet)!
Power in Numbers
My big idea for this part of the garden is to create a natural screen using garden art and plants.
Step one was to line up the freshly painted birdhouses in a row. Next I have to install trellis and plant some vines to block the lovely view of the brush pile. While it’s not exactly eye candy, the brush pile has proven to be such a good resource for the local wildlife that I don’t want to remove it.
Choose Colours you Love
You don’t have to like my colour choices: pick ones you enjoy! As I mentioned, I’m on a colour kick right now, so I am really enjoying painting various decor items around the garden to add some punch.
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~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛