Monday, May 24, 2010

Make a Birdbath

Creating a natural-looking birdbath in your garden is a simple way to add a water-feature and attract birds. This ground-level DIY birdabath tutorial is from the Better Homes and Gardens website.

A ground-level basin mimics natural water sources and makes your garden more attractive to birds. Place the basin near a tree to give birds a quick getaway in case predators attack and at least 15 feet from shrubs and tallperennials to prevent hiding spots for ambushers.

• Sand
• Spray bottle filled with water
• Waterproof work gloves
• Dust mask
• 50-pound bag quick-setting concrete
• 5-gallon bucket
• Water
• Wheelbarrow
• Hoe
• Small decorative objects
• Sheet plastic

Step 1
Start by gathering your materials and excavating a 15x6-inch bowl-shape hole that will serve as the mold for yourbirdbath. Cover the excavation with a 1-inch-deep layer of moist sand. Shape a flat area in the bottom of the mold so your completed basin will be stable. Spray the sand with water to keep it moist, and pat it smooth.

Step 2

Wearing gloves and a dust mask, blend quick-setting concrete with water in a wheelbarrow or comparable container, following the package directions. Use about 40 pounds. If you use more, the birdbath will be extremely heavy to move. Add water from a 5-gallon bucket to the concrete mix gradually and sparingly, blending the ingredients with a hoe until the concrete resembles thick peanut butter.

Step 3
Move the mixed concrete into the mold, placing it in a roughly round form. Work quickly -- the material begins setting in about 10 minutes. Once all the concrete is in place, shape it into a basin approximately 15 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches thick. The basin should slope gradually from the base to the rim. Form a lip around the outer edge.

Step 4
Press recycled glass bits, shells, or other objects into the still-soft concrete for a decorative surface.

Step 5
Spritz the basin with water so it cures properly. Cover the basin with sheet plastic; use a few rocks around the edge to hold it in place. Allow the concrete to cure for 3 - 7 days; longer curing enhances strength and durability.

Birdbath basics: 

• Make it safe - Situate a birdbath in the open where birds can access it -- and flee -- easily. Place the water source within quick-flight distance of trees. When setting a basin at ground level, avoid proximity to hiding places for predators. Placing a birdbath on a 3-foot-tall pedestal can make it less accessible to cats and other predators. Relocate your bath if it doesn't attract birds.

• Clean regularly - Refill the birdbath daily, and scrub it as needed to keep it clear of algae. Locate a birdbath within easy reach of thegarden hose to facilitate cleaning. Every 10 days or so, scrub the bowl with a 10 percent bleach solution to kill bacteria or other disease-causing organisms.

Better Homes and Gardens

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