How to make a bird house for your garden

Make a bird house for your garden

There are a number of jobs in the garden that can really help us get back to nature, like creating a veg patch, learning how to grow flowers from cuttings, and making a DIY bird house. Today, it’s the birdies’ turn. Once you’ve completed this project you’ll love the sights and sounds it’ll bring. Here’s how to build a birdhouse for your garden.

How to make a bird house

There are many rewards for making your own DIY bird house: bringing new wildlife to your garden, enjoying the sweet sounds of birdsong, and doing your bit for the environment. And whilst you might be thinking that’s it’s going to be a lot of hard work, it really isn’t. In fact, once you’ve learned how to build a birdhouse you’ll probably make two… or three. You just need a piece of wood, some tools, nails, screws, a little patience and a step-by-step guide. 

Simply follow these steps and you could have the birds flocking in no time:

  • Pick up a sheet of wood (or order online) from your local DIY store. Around 1.5m x 15cm will do. Plywood, oak or pine are good options, depending on the durability and finish you want. 
  • The next five steps are for the grown-ups. Cut three pieces for the front, back and base using a saw – or find someone who’s handy with the tool to do all the cutting for you. You’ll want a 35cm piece of wood for the back, 20cm for the front and 12cm for the base. The base is shorter so that the sides and roof can hang over the front of your birdhouse a little.
  • Mark out a bird-sized hole in the front piece by drawing around a toilet roll tube, and cut out the hole. 

Store the tube from a roll of Cushelle toilet paper after you’ve finished it (somewhere tidy, to avoid any family arguments!)  It’s the ideal shape to make a cosy entrance tunnel for the birds.

  • Cut out further sheets of wood: 20cm for the roof and two sloping pieces for the sides – cut 20cm on one side of each piece and 25cm on the other to create the slope to hold the roof.
  • Nail the sides, back and front together, wrapping around your base piece. Leave a gap of 50cm at the bottom of the back piece. 
  • Next up on your bird house DIY project is to put on the roof. The best way to do this is with screws, through the top edge at the back, so you can remove easily if you need to. Use a weather seal on the area between where the top edge of the roof affixes to the back piece – a piece of rubber works really well. That seal will not only stop water getting in, it’ll act as a hinge too. 
  • That’s your frame done; now onto some creative ideas for birdhouses. This is the really fun part and the bit that kids can get involved in when you make a bird house. 
  • If you’re going to use paint, make sure it’s non-toxic. And make sure all the materials you use are bird-friendly. But other than that, let your creativity run wild!
  • Finally, fix your bird box to your chosen wall, tree or fence post. Screw through the exposed top and bottom parts of your back plate for a secure fix.

Further ideas for birdhouses – furnishings and foods

To make your birdhouse more homely, you can add your own creative touches to the outside of your birdhouse – perhaps a sweet sign or a perch – but leave the inside free for the food. 

Important: make sure you smooth down any rough edges of wood. 

Now for the food. Here are some ideas you might like to try:

  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower hearts
  • Suet
  • Millet

Keep the pieces small and you should attract a variety of the following birds:

  • Finches
  • Sparrows
  • Tits
  • Blackbirds

Try different foods and mixes to see which birds fly your way. Keep the birdhouse swept clean regularly, otherwise you might find that they don’t come back. And test out different locations if you’re not having much success attracting the birds.

If you’ve got the DIY bug, why not offer your garden visitors some tasty sustenance with a homemade bird feeder, too?

 Give this bird house DIY project a go and look forward to seeing what comes your way!

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