How to Transform an Old Bird Bath or Fountain into a Unique Planter

Oh no! After a long, hard winter, the bowl of your bird bath has cracked due to ice freezing and thawing. With this new leak, there’s no way you can fill it with water. But wait, don’t toss it out yet! Instead, give new life to your old bird bath or fountain by transforming it into something completely different, a stylish flower planter. This article will teach you how.

What Plants to Use?

Bird Bath

The bowls of fountains and bird baths have a similar design to a planter. Because of this, these water features can be easily filled with soil and converted into a planter to grow beautiful plants and flowers. The biggest difference between planters and the bowls of a bird bath or fountain is that the bowls are typically very shallow. Because of this, it is important to choose plants that have shallow roots. Some stylish choices include succulents, ground covers, or vines. If you are unable to move your fountain or bird bath, you should also take note of the amount of light the area receives and choose plants that will thrive under those conditions.

Preparing Your Bird Bath or Fountain

Sunnydaze Grecian Garden Reinforced Concrete Bird Bath - 16"

Before you begin planting your flowers, there are a few steps you need to take to convert your fountain or bird bath into a planter. First, you need to provide some form of drainage. This can be achieved in a few different ways. If your fountain or bird bath has cracked, you already have some convenient drainage holes in place and can begin planting right away. Otherwise, you can place a planter with pre-drilled drainage holes in the bowl of the bird bath. Plant your flowers in that container instead of the bowl itself to ensure that the roots of your plants are properly drained and won’t get soggy. Another trick is to simply place a hanging basket on top of the bowl and use the bird bath as a display stand.

You can drill holes directly into the bottom of the bowl to provide drainage, however, depending on the condition of the fountain or bird bath and what material it is made out of, this could cause the entire structure to break apart. Take time to examine the structure before you drill any holes.

Designing Your Plant Arrangement

Fairy Garden

Now that you know what type of flowers you need and have prepped the bird bath or fountain, it’s time to design the layout of your flowers. There are plenty of themes, colors, and styles that you can use. Here are a few tips:

Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers

A tried and true method for designing container gardens, this technique is a good rule of thumb for planning your new planter as well. When filling a planter, you want to choose a variety of plants to create a balanced composition. Most gardeners recommend choosing a combination of tall, vibrant plants ("thrillers"), full, low-to-the-ground plants ("fillers"), and cascading vines or flowers to hang over the edge of the planter ("spillers").

For more information on how to use this technique for container gardens, check out our blog article, 5 Tips for Gardening with Large Planters.

Plant Textures

In addition to choosing a variety of plant types, you should also look for different plant textures to give your planter a striking and unique look. Using a combination of leafy greens, beautiful blooms and even rough moss provides plenty of visual interest.

Incorporate Non-Plant Materials

Besides plants, a variety of other elements can be incorporated into your garden. Use fairy garden accessories to create a miniature fantasy world or add a gazing globe and surround it with pebbles or marbles. You can even create a container garden pond by filling the bird bath with water and growing water plants. For some ideas, check out our blog 10 Aquatic Plants for Your Fountain: Free-Floating Flowers and Greenery.

Planting the Flowers

After you’ve selected your plants, choose the location for your bird bath. You want to make sure you’re happy with the location before you start planting as it will be very heavy and difficult to move later. Next, fill 2/3 of the bowl of the fountain or bird bath with a lightweight potting soil.

Remove your plants from their pots and gently pull apart the roots. Position the plants where you want to place them in the bowl and spread the roots as widely as you can. Space each plant a few inches apart so each plant is able to have its own space. Once you’ve planted them, cover them with a light layer of soil to keep the roots covered (even after watering). Finally, give your plants a light spray of water with a watering can or garden sprayer. Add any extra accessories like fairy garden pieces or decorative accents to complete the look.

Just because your fountain or bird bath is done serving the birds or providing the soothing sound of running water, doesn’t mean you have to toss it. These beautiful structures can be used to give your garden a fresh new look with lovely plants and blooms. For more gardening tips, check out our other Outdoor Living blogs.


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