Over the years I have refurbished several old birdhouses and I still have them in the garden. On my trip to Portland for the Garden Bloggers Fling a couple of years ago I saw a bird house that I wanted to buy. The only problem was it had plants and soil on it and I knew I couldn’t sneak it across the border to Canada. I have always wanted a green roof bird house. This week Farmer Jim decided to try making one of the birdhouses so I could have one. He is truly the best!
He has a ton of scrap lumber that he wants to use up. He had a plan to go by that he found in a garden magazine. We sat and looked at different designs online and came up with one he liked. I wasn’t sure if I liked the roof. It looks out of scale with the bottom of the house. He got busy cutting pieces for the birdhouse while I planned what would be planted on the top. Farmer Jim found an old drawer pull and fastened it to the front like a perch. I love repurposing things. The base was an addition to the original plan. It has been built so that the bird house sits on a 4″ by 4″ post. All you have to do is add an edge along the roof that is deep enough to plant. Our edge is two inches deep.
Okay, it was time to do some magic. I lined the inside of the roof with roofing paper. Farmer Jim drilled holes in each of the corners so water will drain easily. Metal flashing under the roofing paper covers the peak so our feathered friends will stay dry. We have so much rain here, drainage holes are a must. I used masking tape to hold the stiff roofing paper in place. It isn’t perfect but it will work. I think next time we will forego the roofing paper and use metal flashing on the whole inside of the roof.
Next I filled the roof with a layer of good potting soil and added some organic 4-4-4 fertilizer. I realized that once the plants go in, this two-inch layer of soil will be in place for a long time. I want the plants to flourish. I moistened the potting soil with some water.
Now it was time to add some moss to the top. I placed it carefully over the soil trying to cover every inch. The moss will keep the soil moist.
Farmer Jim attached poultry wire to the top and stapled it along the sides. He used wire with one inch openings so its easy enough to insert a plant. He watered the moss and said the drainage holes worked perfectly. Now its time to plant the roof.
I love using succulents in the garden. I was able to buy a few ‘hens and chicks’ plants from a friend. The rest of the succulents I found in the garden. I carefully poked a hole through the moss and inserted the stem of each succulent. Using a pencil or widger worked to open up a planting hole.
Succulents grow slowly so I will see how it does over the summer. Whats great is it’s so easy to propagate succulents with a bit of stem. They root very easily.
Here is the view from the top. Once the plants were in place I placed the bird house out of the hot sun. It tends to dry out the soil quickly and we want our plants to root and grow well.
Now all I have to do is wait for the plants to grow. Once I see that they are rooted the bird house will be placed on a fence post in the back garden. Did I say he has 15 more bird houses already cut and waiting to be put together? Yes, he is excited to make each bird house a bit different from each other. Its fun to use your imagination and recycle old wood to create something fun for the garden. I still think this first bird house needs a bit of colour so some painting may happen. After all we don’t want the birds to have a boring house, now do we?
For some great ideas on how to build your own green roof bird house, Check out the sites below.
Green Roof DIY Birdhouse by Birds and Blooms
Green Roof Bird House Tutorial by Garden Therapy
Rebecca’s Bird Gardens for some cool ways to decorate your new bird house. Love the creativity on these bird houses.