Fairy Yardmother Landscape Design

by Kathy Oberg, Landscape Designer, Los Angeles, CA.

Thank you for visiting my site. I enjoy bringing you pictures of gardens, plants, and ideas from sunny Southern California. I love sharing after-photos that show how my landscape plans, plant lists and layouts come to life.
As a designer, I use plants to create drama, provide color and form, and compliment the architectural style of your home.
I strive to provide a buffer from sun, street, and neighbors while still fostering connections.
Inspired plant choices and site layout can make any space a success.
I am a Certified Watershed Wise Professional, with techniques to improve soil health and keep more water on your property.
I can help you makeover your patio, paths, planting areas, or entire property. I will consult with you, choose a look you love, and compose a plan and plant list to update your landscape, re-using what you already have wherever we can.
Each project is different because it is about making your space really shine.

Monday, March 28, 2011

DIY Bird Bath

I often notice Bushtits and other birds eating insects off my plants. I've been wanting a bird bath for a long time to encourage them even more, especially during late Spring and Summer, when the pests are at their worst, and the birds need supplemental water the most.
But I always balk at the price of the bird baths I really like. I finally got it together, and made one out of things I already had!

I came across this lovely glass serving plate I got as a present, and always liked but rarely use. I realized it reminded me of a flower, and I started wondering if I could somehow re-purpose it as garden art. Re-purpose-ing an object you don't use, and therefore don't really enjoy, seems like such an ultimately healthy, responsible and fun thing to do. You give the object a new opportunity to please you every day, instead of letting the poor little thing sit unused and forgotten on your highest shelf year after year!

We found this old metal table leg years and years ago -- one of those things you stash away saying, "I'll use this for something..."  It could have been repainted, but I decided it looked pretty cool "distressed" and why go out and buy paint, which is not so pro-enviro, when the whole point is to have no footprint with this kind of project!

The leg is hollow, so all I did was take an old broom stick and pound it into the ground about three feet. It had just rained, so this was fairly easy. Then I shoved my metal leg down onto the broom stick, took my handy dandy tube of "Amazing Goop" and spread some goop around the top of the metal leg, and gently slapped that purple plate on it's new base! I plan to plant some trailing rosemary around the new Bird Bath, at my 8-year old's request. He likes rosemary!

You can adapt this to yourself fairly easily. Look around for a shallow bowl or concave plate, and then scan the garage (or hardware store) for potential stands. You could use one thick wooden dowel. Paint or stain if you like. Pound one end into the ground, apply glue to the other end, and affix your plate or shallow bowl to the top. Please let me know what you come up with!

I've always heard that birds want their bath water shallow, so a shallow plate should be perfect. I'm proud of myself for finding a use for all these things I had lying around. I'm proud of myself for getting a bird bath I truly like for free. And I love the feeling of being in this sustainable-recycling-creative mode. I'll update when I see whether or not the birds are as impressed with me as I am!


  1. How beautiful! I love what you have done here. That is truly a piece of art!!!

  2. Good use of a seldom used piece. The only thing they could like better would be if you can rig some way for fresh water to drip into your birdbath.

    Birds don't seem to mind where they get water and baths. I saw a mockingbird bathing in water 5 inches deep in the dog's water dish (an repurposed pressure cooker with no handle) yesterday! He was having a good ole time, too.

  3. Brilliant!! It's really pretty, too. Now I've got to "shop" my unused stuff!!

  4. Thank you for the kind words, and I love the image of the bird in the dog's dish!!

  5. I found this post so interesting and creative I linked to it in today's post. I think my readers will glean a lot from your article.

  6. What a wonderful idea! I've had a cut glass platter sitting in the pantry for 22 YEARS. It was a wedding gift, and I've used it maybe twice in all that time. Now to find a leg for it!

    I frequently use old cut glass bowls for plant saucers, so my "new" birdbath will match those.

    bobbi c., earthly gardener

  7. Thank you, Sage Butterfly.
    Wonderful, Bobbi! Send a pic when you complete yours please!

  8. Lovely job, a piece of art indeed!

  9. Wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!

  10. That broom stick won't last many years--a four-foot piece of rebar, at least one-quarter of an inch, would last forever, and is easy to pound into the ground. If it were too small to prevent the metal post from moving a little, you could just fill the post with sand or pebbles or even soil.

  11. Beautiful! I found an old cast iron candleholder and just set the plate on top. When winter comes, I can take the plate off easily and put the candle stick in the garage. Hopefull it will last longer.