10 DIY Water Features You Can Add To Your Backyard To Attract More Birds

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

They say bird-watching sneaks up on you. One day you barely notice them, and then suddenly you find yourself staring into the backyard, muttering in excitement, "Is that a woodpecker?" Who can blame us? These little dinosaurs are beautiful, and there isn't much that beats sipping coffee while watching them splash around in a birdbath. If you have a yard, no matter how big, the good news is that you can likely convince them to stop by for a drink. When it comes to attracting birds, you want to offer them some or all of their basic needs: food, shelter, and water. Food and shelter can be accomplished with bird feeders and native shrubs, but water can be a bit more complicated than simply leaving a bowl of it lying around. Here are 10 DIY water features you can add to your backyard to attract more birds.

A small waterfall over rocks

It turns out that birds love the sound of moving water. This clever homeowner used a kiddie pool, pond liner, and some scavenged rocks to build a lovely waterfall in their yard. The sound of the water will help attract thirsty birds traveling nearby, and the flat rocks are perfect for them to perch on for a quick bath and drink. While you can commandeer the little one's pool for a cheaper solution, there are pond liners with different depths, like this one from Home Depot.

A potted pond

For a more plant-dense yard, adding a small pond in a barrel pot could be a fun way to keep the birds coming back to your yard. A resin barrel pot like this one from Home Depot is the perfect size for nearly any yard. However, a couple of warnings are in order. First, make sure to weigh down your pot with rocks in the bottom. Second, birds do prefer shallow water about 2-3 inches or less deep. You should consider creating a place for them to perch or escape the water if they fall in. 

An arch rain shower with plants

While there isn't much of a tutorial for this project, there are multiple ways to run with it! The winning points for birds are the places to perch on the arbor, the trickling of water, and the pond below. As we saw in some of the other DIY videos, a pond liner or even a small plastic pool can make a good base. Then add rocks to create perches and escape routes for them. You can also try this greenhouse misting kit attached to your arbor for a misty archway.

A floating rock bubbler

You can also do a combination of moving water and aesthetic pot with this water feature. To find a large pot without a drainage hole, you may have more luck looking for a "planter," like this gorgeous urn planter from Wayfair. Thankfully, pond baskets are pumps are usually easy to find at your local nursery or pond supply store. The TikToker, @birding_by_ear, is a fantastic account to follow if you're looking for DIY projects specifically for a bird-friendly yard

An island getaway birdbath

This island getaway birdbath provides some shelter and places to drink and bathe, all while looking incredibly cute in your yard. The Instagram user @akankshasiwach utilizes the materials that grow natively in her yard, but you can find similar twiggy wreaths all year on Amazon. She also uses a flat circle of wood not only to hold the terracotta house but to slow down the flow of the water without needing a dial on the pump. Also, remember that birds only want an inch or two of water, so the more rocks, the better!

A multi-tiered, low-budget rain shower

Who says you need to break the bank to impress the birds? The project that @hey_its_carm came up with is a few dollars worth of Tupperware containers and decorative rocks, but it looks like a bird paradise! The slow trickle of water is exactly what they are looking for, and the containers aren't too deep. If you wanted to upgrade the look a bit though, this six-tiered plant stand on Amazon would be perfect for letting the water through. You could even use large plastic drip trays instead of Tupperware.

A potted watering station

This watering station from Sophie is an adorable idea that lets you not only attract birds but water the bees as well! Using large rocks to fill up the tub is ideal for keeping birds, especially hummingbirds, from drowning. There is a U.S. alternative to the pump she uses available on Amazon for under $20. As for the plants, you will want to use a marginal variety, a plant that enjoys having its roots submerged in water. Not all plants will tolerate it, but many "bog" or "pond" plants will love it.

An in-ground rock fountain

This project looks great in the landscape! Similar to our waterfall project, we want falling water, but instead of an open pond at the base, the reservoir is underground, cleverly camouflaged with decorative rocks. The most difficult part will be drilling through rocks that size. According to The Tool Geeks, you will need a hammer drill and a carbide or diamond drill bit. Alternatively, you can look around for places that may sell pre-drilled rocks, such as Barton Fields for UK readers. 

A water bottle bird shower

While this DIY birdbath from @kuslarin.evreni is absolutely genius, it was made for an indoor bird. However, if you already have frequent bird visitors, you may be able to convince them to stay a little longer for a dip with this water bottle birdbath. By poking holes in the lid and inverting the top, there is a built-in reservoir. From there a simple entryway and grass cuttings are all you need! You can also consider placing this bath somewhere open and off of the ground to keep them safe from cats.

A Dollar Tree birdbath and Amazon fountain combo

Sometimes we just want to do something cute and crafty without busting out the power drill. To make this Dollar Tree birdbath, the most expensive part is the solar-powered fountain. Head over to Amazon to spend between $11-19 on the fountain, but bust out your hot glue gun to make the rest. It is worth noting that there is no way to control the water pressure with this one. Even if it's too aggressive for your avian visitors, you at least have a soothing new addition to your yard for under $40.