Written December 2006
Bird house/Planter Plans
Leonard A. McHugh
The birdhouse planter when completed is about 29 long. It has a conventional
peaked style bird house at each end with a small
planter area in the center. The planter area is 4 x 4 x 18 and
has two I-bolts near each end for hanging.
are drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. The birdhouse roofs are made to be removable for cleaning
and there are four additional drainage holes inside each house. In a heavy driving rain
could be blown inside through the 1 ¼ entrance holes.
- One 8 foot 1"x6" board
- One 5 foot 1"x6" board
- Two 1/4" x 6" I-bolts and extra washers and nuts
- Eight 1 1/4" #6 or #8 screws
- Pan head or cabinet, aluminum, stainless or galvanized
- Waterproof glue
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Drill or drill press
- Brad nail gun
- Socket set or socket drivers
- Router (optional)
- From the 8 foot board first cut two 28" pieces
- From the 5 foot board cut one 28" piece
- From the remaining 8 foot board cut two 19 3/4" pieces
- From the remaining 5 foot board cut two 15" pieces
- Rip two of the 28" one 19 3/4" and one 15" boards to 5 1/2"
(These will be for the sides, ends and half of the roofs)
- Rip the remaining 28" and 19 3/4" stock to 4"
(These will be for the bottom and back of the birdhouses
- Rip the remaining 15"board to 4 3/4"
(Remaining roof halves)
- This is not necessary, but now take the 2 28" x 5 1/2" boards and chamfer one edge
this will become the outside top edge. Then use a round over bit and
round over the top inside and outside bottom edge.
- Cut the two 19 3/4" pieces in half
- Cut a 45 degree peak on each of the four pieces.
- To trim the outside bottom of the birdhouse measure down from the point
8 1/4" "and that is where to cut the two 5 1/2" wide ends .
- For the 4" peaks measure down 7 1/2" and make similar cuts.
- On the 28"x4" stock, bottom, drill a 1/4" hole centered 6" from each end,
this is for the I-bolts.
- Then use a 3/4" or 7/8" forcener or spade bit to make a counter hole 3/8" deep for
the bottom washer and nut.
- The actual bird house inside will be 4"x4 1/4" so drill 4 1/4" drainage at each of
the inside corners. And 8 or 9 drainage holes in the planter area.
- Now a good idea is to dry fit the planter, clamps and duct tape work wonders. Sstandthe
the two 4" peaks 4 1/4" from each end of the 28"x4" board,
and stand the sides and clamp them in place. Then stand the end pieces and a little tape
will hold them.
- Cut two 7 1/4" roof halves from each of the 15" stock pieces.
- Drill two 1/8" holes in each piece they should be 2 1/2" from the bottom and 1 1/8"
from front and back edge.
This will allow you to later screw the completed roof on the house.
It is important that the roof is removable for cleaning.
Hold them against the peak to make sure that you like the way that the
roof covers the houses.
- The next thing is to drill a 1/2" vent hole near the peak on the 4" pieces and a 1 1/4"
entrance hole in the 5 1/2" end pieces.
- Make sure that the large holes for the nut and washer are on the bottom
- First glue the 4" pieces to the bottom 4 1/4" from each edge and let it set up
This provides a much better working platform for the rest of assembly.
- When set up apply glue to the outside bottom edge and along the
side of the back of the birdhouse.
Yes, I know that you are not to glue cross grain but this will prevent water from
seeping into the bird houses. You could calk the planter inside if you
- Line up the side’’’’ and brad nail to secure.
- Glue and attach the other side.
- Glue and brad nail the end pieces in place.
- Glue the 7 1/4" x 4 3/4" pieces to the 7 1/4" x 5 1/2" pieces forming the roof.
- When dry sand to insure that the joint is smooth and sand the edges to eliminate
the sharp corners.
- Paint or stain and polyurethane the outside and planter area. Be careful not to
get any finishing material inside the houses including the opening.
The finishing material may be harmful to the birds.
- When finishing the roofs
do the top and only about 3/4" along the bottom edge.
- Do not install a perch. Most birds will stay away since a predator
could use the perch for access.
- The colors do matter, avoid red and blue colors. The closer to
natural aged wood colors the better, unless you just want a decorative planter.
- To help align things make two simple jigs. One 4"x4 1/4" and the other 4"x 6". At
one end of the 6" make a small groove centered.
- Use the 6" jig to guide where to drill for the I-bolts. Use the 4 1/4" to align the back of the birdhouse when gluing it to the bottom.
- Also use both pieces to set up where to drill the inside drainage holes. Hold the 4 1/4"
piece at the end and screw the 6" piece next to it.
- When you remove the 4 1/4"block you will be able to correctly drill the
inside corners of the house. Do this to both ends.
- Where the screw hole is in the planter bed drill two of the drainage holes to
eliminate the screw holes.
- I like making these in the winter for gifts. There will be a few months for the
finishing odors to dissipate helping to protect the birds.
- When the planter and roofs are dried secure the roofs to the birdhouse.
- The final step is to install the I-bolts. When placing through the mounting holes just
partly thread on the bottom washer and nut. Pull it tight and finger tighten
the inside nut. Use a socket driver to tighten up the bottom nut.
- The origional plans were featured in BirdAnd Bloom Collector's edition magazine
designed by Edward Wilson of , Sheridan, Oregan
- I made several modifications to the origional plans to make it easier for a
blind woodworker to construct the planter.
- HOMES FOR BIRDS -
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Migratory Bird Management, HOMES FOR BIRDS
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