How To Turn An Ordinary Wine Barrel Into A Beautiful Bird Bath

Truly distinctive lawn decor can often be hard to find for an affordable price. This includes bird baths, which can run in the hundreds of dollars for stone models and uniquely shaped fountains. If you are looking for a great way to create a rustic bird bath to attract wildlife to your yard — and a budget-friendly DIY with the benefit of upcycling and sustainability — look no further than your local winery or distillery. Wine or whiskey barrels, which are plentiful and durable, make a great receptacle for a bird bath with a few easy modifications. 

Created from solid wood planks bent into shape to hold the year's vineyard yield, these unique barrels are often quite beautiful on their own, usually boasting rich color, black metal hardware, and identifying stamps from the liquor purveyor. You can often find them at flea markets, thrift stores, and antique markets, where they are often sold to be used as planters of various sizes. You can also buy them at home stores for decorative purposes like Home Depot or Ace Hardware.

Creating a barrel bird bath

Converting a wine or whiskey barrel into a fun bird bath is an easy DIY with many options for creating the perfect design for your yard. Many homeowners use half or partial barrels as the bowl for a bird bath. Others place them on the ground and use the barrel to elevate the bath, which is great for keeping bathing birds away from predators like cats and foxes. 

The optimal fill on a bird bath is 1-2 inches of fresh water, so you will not need to fill the barrel whatever its starting depth entirely with water. A shallower fill will allow you to keep the water and bird bath clean and avoid it being a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Fill the bottom of the barrel with sand or mulch, then use a shallower dish roughly the same size but slightly smaller to rest inside the lip of the barrel. The edge of the barrel will give birds a spot to rest. You can also add some small stones in the water for perching. These great waterproof barrels will only become more charming and aged with time, meaning they will weather the elements from year to year. While barrels will usually swell with added water to remain closed and not leak, older barrels that have dried out may need some additional caulking to seal any holes or gaps. 

More outdoor ideas for wine and whiskey barrels

These wine barrels are also great for more sophisticated water features that can benefit both the local wildlife and your sense of serenity in the garden. You can outfit a full or partial barrel as a calming, babbling water feature with a pump designed for backyard ponds, including ones shaped like iron pumps or cute spitting frogs. You can even place several receptacles together to create a constantly recycling water feature for a porch, patio, or garden. 

These barrels often make great planters as well, which look great when placed in a grouping with those that have been made into bird baths. Large ones make a perfect container for small trees and bushes, while smaller ones work as outdoor tables for snacks and drinks. You can also use one as a rustic rain barrel to collect water for gardening. While they are beautiful when left as they are for a countrified and antiqued feel, you can also paint them to match your exterior decor for a more modern look.