Add instant charm to your garden with this creative container garden for the birds.

By BH&G Garden Editors
Updated August 24, 2020
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Putting up a birdhouse is an easy way to add a cute and stylish decoration to your garden, plus it helps make it more welcoming to winged visitors. You could always go with a commerically available model, but this DIY birdhouse is a unique option you can put together in a couple of hours. Not only does it provide shelter to feathered friends, but it also doubles as a planter so you can showcase a few of your favorite succulents or small plants. Just remember to include drainage holes to allow water to run through the planter. Without them, water would accumulate inside, making the wood and plants more susceptible to rot. Here's how to make this one-of-a-kind birdhouse planter.

finished birdhouse planter in garden
Credit: Jacob Fox

What You Need

Before getting started, make sure you have all of the tools and materials you need:

  • Compound miter saw
  • Large clamps, at least 14 inches wide
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 1 ½-inch spade drill bit
  • Regular drill bit
  • Screw gun
  • 1x6x8 cedar lumber
  • 1x8x8 cedar lumber
  • 1x3x8 cedar lumber
  • 11 ¼-inch x 24-inch piece of poplar lumber
  • Wood glue
  • 1-inch brown panel nails
  • Neutral colored outdoor paint
  • 16 1-inch L-brackets
  • ½-inch screws
  • Two 1-inch hinges
  • Clear waterproof tape
  • Groundcover-type sedums
  • Potting soil

How to Cut the Wood Pieces for the Birdhouse

Start by cutting all of your wood pieces to the right sizes. Once each piece is cut, the entire birdhouse and planter will quickly come together.

  • Using a compound miter saw, cut an 8-inch section of 1x6 lumber for the left wall.
  • Cut three, 9-inch sections of 1x6 lumber for the right, front, and back walls.
  • For the left wall, make a 15-degree angled cut on the top edge so that it will slope toward the left when looking at the front of the birdhouse.
  • For the right wall, make a 15-degree angled cut on the top edge so that it will also slope toward the left when looking at the front of the birdhouse.
  • For the front wall, cut a 10-degree slope down to the left of the piece. The left edge of this piece should measure 7 3/8 inches tall and the right edge should measure 8 3/16 inches tall.
  • For the back wall, cut a 10-degree slope down to the right of the piece. The left edge of this piece should measure 8 3/16 inches tall and the right edge should measure 7 3/8 inches tall.
  • Cut a 9 ¾-inch-long piece of 1x8 for the roof.
  • Cut down the poplar piece to 11 ¼ inches x 12 ¼ inches for the tray base.
  • Cut 2 pieces of 11 ¼-inch-long 1x3 lumber for side lips of the tray base.
  • Cut 2 pieces of 13 5/8-inch-long 1x3 lumber for front and back lips of tray base.

How to Build the Birdhouse

When all your wood pieces are ready to go, it's time to start building! Just follow these step-by-step directions:

drilling entry hole in the front of birdhouse
Credit: Jacob Fox

1. Make Entry Hole

In the front wall of the birdhouse, use a 1 ½-inch spade drill bit to make the entry hole, centered by width and closer to the top of the piece.

using clamps to hold birdhouse walls together
Credit: Jacob Fox

2. Attach Side Walls

Use wood glue to attach the side walls of the birdhouse to the front and back walls. Then use large clamps to hold them in place.

hammering panel nails into birdhouse
Credit: Jacob Fox

3. Use Nails to Secure Walls

After the glue has completely dried, add two 1-inch panel nails per edge (eight nails in total) for extra support.

using clamps to hold planter base together
hammering nails into planter base for birdhouse
Left: Credit: Jacob Fox
Right: Credit: Jacob Fox

4. Make Planter Base

Make the base tray for the planter by wood-gluing the four 1x3 lumber pieces to the sides of the 11 ¼-inch x 24-inch piece of poplar lumber. Then add 1-inch panel nails around the tray for extra support; use two nails per edge, just like the walls of the birdhouse (eight nails total for the base).

drilling holes in base of planter
Credit: Jacob Fox

5. Drill Drainage Holes

Use a regular drill bit to make drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. Add one in each corner and one in the center of each side, equidistant from the corners. This will let extra water escape whenever it rains or when you water your plants.

using a drill to attach birdhouse walls to planter base
Credit: Jacob Fox

6. Paint Birdhouse Walls and Attach to Base

Paint the four outward-facing sides of the walls of the birdhouse, leaving the roof and base natural. Then, using a screw gun, attach the house to the center of the tray using eight 1-inch L-brackets and ½-inch screws.

attaching roof to birdhouse with screw gun
Credit: Jacob Fox

7. Attach the Roof

Secure the roof to the birdhouse with two hinges on the outside of the top right wall, using half-inch screws with a screw gun. The birdhouse should open easily from the roof for cleaning.

adding waterproof tape to birdhouse
Credit: Jacob Fox

8. Waterproof the Planter

Use clear waterproof tape to line the inside of the tray. Make sure you go all the way up to the sides of the four tray lips and up the walls of the birdhouse 1 ¾ inches to create a waterproof barrier between the soil and the wood.

planting sedum in birdhouse tray
Credit: Jacob Fox

9. Add Plants

Fill the tray with potting soil and plant low-maintenance and shallow-rooted groundcover sedum in the tray. Varieties that are used as groundcovers won't grow too tall and overwhelm your birdhouse, and they'll be able to survive in the tray.

attaching birdhouse to stand
Credit: Jacob Fox

10. Attach Birdhouse to Stand

Attach your birdhouse planter to a 4x4 post using 1-inch L-brackets and ½-inch screws.

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