How to Make a Cheap Bird Bath

An overturned garbage can lid makes a cheap and effective birdbath.
An overturned garbage can lid makes a cheap and effective birdbath. (Image: trash lid image by Adkok from

Birds enjoy splashing about and cooling down in lakes, ponds, swimming pools and birdbaths. Placing a birdbath in your yard will attract birds to your dwelling and provide them with a safe space in which to relax and spend time. Birdbaths are often expensive, however, which prevents some homeowners from having them in their yard. Fortunately, you can make a functional birdbath that is appealing to birds and an aesthetically pleasing addition to your yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Garbage can lid
  • Pie plate
  • Hub cap
  • Rocks or stones
  • Clay pot and saucer
  • Log
  • Chisel
  • Sand paper
  • Plastic bottle
  • Tin can
  • String

Scout out a location in which to place the birdbath. Birds tend to be quite picky when deciding where they will take their baths. Place your birdbath in an appropriate location to attract the most birds. Avoid placing the bath in full sun or shade--find a location that has a bit of both. Additionally, many birds prefer to have low vegetation under their baths, as well as a low tree or shrub nearby to perch. The vegetation near the bath should require plenty of water, as the birds will likely splash a lot out of the bath. Plants that like high amounts of water include the Spice Bush, Currants, the Desert Willow and the Bush Anemone.

Place a shallow container on the ground that is no more than 1 or 2 inches deep. For instance, turned-over garbage lids, pie plates and hubcaps can be used to make birdbaths. Place rocks or stones inside to keep the bath from turning over. Alternatively, place a clay pot saucer on top of an overturned pot to use as a birdbath. To create a birdbath from a log, chisel out a shallow area—no deeper than 1or 2 inches—and sand the depression smooth. Fill the bath with water for a natural birdbath.

Add a dripping water feature to your bath to attract more birds. Make a small hole—no bigger than a few centimeters—on the bottom of a plastic bottle or tin can. Use string to hang the bottle or can on a branch several feet above the bath, and fill it with water. This mechanism will create a slow drip that will lure birds to spend time in your bath.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dump out the bath water and replace it with fresh water every few days. Use a scrub brush to remove any algae. Never use chemicals to control the growth.

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