Bird Bath Rejigger and Fall Color in My Garden


Time to update my bird bath post, which declared the bath to be awaiting use by actual birds. I had temporarily moved it away from the house and close to the bird feeder, hoping the birds would see it. That resulted in one bird visit.  

Other wildlife found it right away.  

Admittedly, I was told by neighboring bird enthusiasts that the bird-bathing season was pretty much over and I should wait until next spring. But a larger problem quickly became apparent to me – I don’t want to have to refresh the water every day. I’d stopped growing annuals in the back yard and loved not having to deal with the hose every day.

So when a Rant commenter suggested using the bird bath as a planter, I mentally high-fived her and proceeded to have some drainage holes drilled for just that purpose. 

Bird bath by Studio M used as planter

And I’m declaring the result a keeper! I choose a grass and some trailing Sedum because their roots are shallow enough and they’ll need little, if any, supplemental watering. On either side of the bird bath are Ninebark shrubs, and below, my favorite groundcover for sun – Sedum takesimense.

amsonia hubrichtii fall color

On another positive note, fall color in my back yard has been great. In the center here, the Amsonias turned yellow, then eventually bright orange. The colors of the oakleaf hydrangea complement the barn-red bench, hanging dragon and shed roof. That teak bench (bought in ’85, untreated for decades, but still going strong) had been a dull grey until I got the color bug and painted it to match the dragon (a $3 yard sale find).

Osakazuki Japanese maple

And here’s a shot of the Osakazuki Japanese maple at its peak.

If you look through the leaves you’ll see some dangling silver CDs. I hung them from rebar poles to give local deer the message they should find another route through the neighborhood! They were not only snacking on my latest plant purchases but even lying down in the border for a peaceful nap. It’s been about a month and so far, no trespassers.


  1. Dont give up on the birdbath idea, they are endless entertainment, and birds do rely on them in the winter for water if you don’t mind adding some now and then. It looks like the bird bath in your photo is too deep with rather slippery sides; not so attractive for most birds. Imagine yourself a little bird, with short legs, and bathing means just standing knee deep and flitting water about. That basin does not fit the profile. And you want a nearby tree or shrub to hop to if you feel threatened. Be sure it is someplace where the real you can easily see the action without looking like a threat.

    My new initiative isn’t up yet, but you can sign up, or ask me questions about it. I sure hope you might write a bit when we are up and running. Your candid reviews are delightfully refreshing.

  2. The measures we go to to attract our feathered friends. How ungrateful when they reject our offerings. Unfortunately, those slippery sides aren’t liked much by the birds. Adding a large rock or pebbles so they have something to stand on, allowing them to just dip their beaks in, works well. Your back garden looks stunning right now.

  3. I agree with the others about the shape of the bird bath. We had a shallow concrete one with a heater and birds flocked to it all winter. We didn’t need to change water every day, maybe every 3 days or so? We used 2 buckets, 1 to throw at it from the side to clean it out, the 2nd bucket to fill. This method of cleaning out kept ice from building up right at the bird bath.

    Your garden is gorgeous!

  4. Agree also on the shape of the birdbath making birds hesitant. Also I’ve used a birdbath heater for 20 years and attracted birds all winter. Even the years I did not feed in the winter. An open source of clean water is hard for birds to find any time and especially in winter. I also had squirrels stop by sometimes. I live in upstate New York.


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