Monday, May 18, 2009

Create a birdcage planter for your patio...

As some of you may already know, I love (am obsessed with) using bird cages to decorate inside our little home... But lately I've been on the lookout for just the right cage to use outside in the yard...

(click any photos to enlarge)

On a trip to New Hampshire a few weeks ago, I happened upon a yard sale that was just shutting down. I made a quick U-turn because this beautiful blue cage caught my eye... It's not vintage, and it's not in the greatest condition, but it was perfect for what I had in mind...

... so for a couple of dollars, this pretty cage came home with me! (I still can't believe it hadn't been scooped up early on in the yard sale!) Let me show you how it started out, and how I put everything together... Maybe you can learn from my (many) mistakes if you decide to make one of your own. I'm also going to list this on Susan's (Between Naps on the Porch) Met Monday. Be sure to visit her blog to see some amazing room-by-room transformations done on an antique home and to find a list of other bloggers with incredible before and after transformations!

Step 1 - Find a cage

Look past dirt.. (Picture it after it's been cleaned up!).

Step 2: Find a table or base (optional)

I got out a few of my garden/patio tables...

...and found one that was the perfect size for the cage to rest on.

Note: With the combined weight of wet plants and a garden statue (even a resin one), I wouldn't recommend hanging the birdcage as I don't think the cage/base attachment system is all that sturdy. I know with mine, I'd always be in fear of the bottom falling out and everything crashing to the ground on top of one of my little Chips (chipmunks) or Sammies (squirrels)!

Step 3: Choose your garden statue

I thought this rascally rabbit might look good in the cage (but as you can see from my first 2 photos, he didn't like living in a cage and was replaced with Mrs. Bird!!)

Here's where you can start learning from my mistakes (many of which you'll see in the following photos).

1) If your cage comes with a tray, remove it. That way, when you water your plants, the water will run out through the slide-out tray opening, rather than sitting in the tray (mine has since been removed, although not until after I took these photos)....

2) The same goes for any feeders or water cups. Remove them because, like the tray, water just sits in them after you water the flowers (again, mine were removed after taking these photos). After all, the end result should be a beautiful patio decoration, not a romantic mosquito breeding ground...

3) Since my cage had a large/tall base, I decided to place my garden statue on a suet feeder to raise it up and give it some height. Unfortunately, I didn't pay any attention to how tall that ultimately made the statue; therefore, after arranging all the flowers around it and getting ready to attach the cage to the base, the rabbit ended up being too tall for the cage (which meant taking everything apart to remove the suet feeder, and then starting all over again). So measure the height of your garden statue to make sure it will fit before arranging flowers all around it!!

Step 4: Start arranging your flowers

I decided to put trailing flowers in the four corners (I chose a petunia type flower called Calibrachoa, color Caloha Pink)...

Doesn't it look pretty against the blue base?

I then filled up the rest of the base with impatiens and double impatiens in an assortment of colors...

I left all flowers in their original containers, just snipping apart 6 packs or whatnot (if necessary) to make them fit, and then just placing them in the base. (I've done this in past years in other containers and have always had good luck as long as everything is watered on a daily basis... I'll let you know at summer's end how it worked on this project!!)

It was then time to carefully attach the cage to the base. I gently pulled the trailing flowers through the corners, first trying to do so with my hand reaching through the little cage door (which didn't go too well!) and then with the cage slightly tilted back before attaching it to the base... and that brings me to another HUGE mistake that I made - one that would have made things SO much simpler!

How did I not notice that this particular cage not only attaches at the base, but also has a 'lift off roof' that can be removed?????
If I had only know that, I would have arranged all the flowers (especially the trailing corner flowers) with the cage sides intact so that I'd only have had to attach the roof when done (rather than painstakingly being so careful not to crimp or crush any flowers while attaching the cage to the base)... I've never had a cage where the 'roof' was removable, so I'm guessing that's a more modern feature (I'm so used to the old vintage style birdcages)...

But in the end, it all worked out and I'm happy to report that Mrs. Bird is much more cheerful about living in the cage than Rascally Rabbit was. (The last I saw him, he was down in the yard hopping around after the pink flamingos!)
NOTE: Make sure that the cage door
is securely closed so that no poor
creature (bird, chipmunk, etc.) is
able to enter the cage through an
unsecured door, only to have
it close behind them, thereby
trapping them inside the cage.
(Okay, this is the second bold case 'warning' I've issued in this one little post [about a decorative bird cage, no less!!]... Blogging definitely promotes self-awareness and self-realization. As I read back through my post, I'm beginning to see why my girls call me "the worrier." It's clear I have earned that title and do, indeed, worry about every little thing - and to excess, I might add. A little worry is a good thing; it keeps us safe; but anything done to excess is not healthy and this is definitely something I need to work on!!! Okay, end of self-realization moment...)

We are having a major mess with all the oak catkins in our yard... Maybe I'll get some pictures of them to share with you in an upcoming post. I'll sure be glad when they're done falling!!
Wishing you all a lovely week!


Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant idea!! I must say I like the bunny more but I do see your point. His darn ears would not permit proper fitting. The bird is cute too. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

WHat a lovely way to enjoy your birdcage! Love the idea! :)

Lisa said...

Great idea. There is a neat cage at a local shop I just love! I'll have to look into this!
Hugs, Lisa

Life on the Edge said...

It looks like that birdcage and the table were made to go together! What a cute idea.

I also loved seeing your garage sale finds. My big find this weekend was a two tiered crystal server from Mikasa for only $5!


Crystal Rose Cottage said...

The birdcage with the flowers and rabbit/bird is just too cute! Great idea!

Anonymous said...

I would never have thought of that! Such a great idea :)


Shari @ My Cottage of Bliss said...

What a cute, creative idea. Makes me wish I had a green thumb and could actually grow something. What I didn't kill on my own, the blazin' hot Florida temps and drought would finish off. Mistakes or not, this turned out adorable!

Unknown said...

Beautiful focal point! I love that you can change it so easily.

Drawn to The Sea said...

What a charming idea. And here I just gave an old birdcage away.

Allidink said...

This is such a cuuute idea! I really like the bird in there better. But bunny was just as cute lol. Thanks for the step by step on how to make one. When I have my own garden/backyard I will totally make one. :) I really like the hanging plants on the side.

All the best,

Marie said...

Hi Donna-
You gave a brand new style and meaning to that bird cage...brilliant! Also, I wanted to tell you I came across your site while searching for a "Mary Garden". It's a project I am working on right now and I'm looking for ideas. I just love your Mary statue!

Claudia said...

Donna, your birdcage re-do is fantastic! It looks so beautiful with the plants trailing from it. You are so talented, my friend! Now you have me itching to get home (like I wasn't already) and find an old birdcage. Thanks for all the advice on how to do it. You're the best.

Incidentally, I'm known as the worrier, too. We have so much in common!

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Well, it did turn out soooo cute, and I am so glad to learn from your mistakes, because I really might do this. Your flowers just look so pretty around the little bird. I had to laugh about your "Warnings". Are you a lawyer? Too funny. laurie

Penny said...

This is so flippin cute I'm stealing this one. Thanks!

Rue said...

Hi Donna :)

I'm a worrier too and get made fun of because of it, but you can never be too careful, right? ;)

That project turned out really cute!


Christi @ A Southern Life said...

Very clever and creative!

joyh82 said...

What a sweet idea and I love the flowers and statue that you picked out too!

Kammy said...

Great job and wonderful way to recycle !
Hugs ~ Kammy

Joanne Kennedy said...

I love your bird cage garden! I think it's so fun to see how others bird cages turn out once they are planted.

I can't get over how much mine has grown since I planted it. I should do a post about how it looked first planted and what it looks like now.

I love your Pete and Re Petes. I have mine that you gave me in my bird cage that is outside my front door. Everyone always makes comments on how cute it is. So I tell everyone about you and your love of all things birds and how we are so alike yet on two different sides of the USA.


Marie Reed said...

Now I now exactly what to do with my birdcage! My son opened the cage and the canaries flew right out the window!

Kim @ Starshine Chic said...

Great use for a birdcage. I love it!! And I had to laugh out loud while reading your post. I could totally relate to the "worrier" comments. I also love all the mistakes you made, sounds like me as well. But the end product turned out fabulous. I may just have to give this a try.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Oh, I love this idea! And just when garden vignettes on my soon to be deck are dancing riotously through my head! I'm on the hunt for a bird cage. You did a wonderful job, and those flowers trailing at the corners added the perfect touch.

kayleeg2005 said...


Jean Tuthill said...

Your birdcage looks beautiful and not too worry, Mrs. Birdie looks right at home among the beautiful flowers. The trailers on the corners are perfect. Keep us posted as to how it progresses. Thanks for sharing the details, now I need a birdcage.

Mary Ellen said...


You're a genius. I love this! You're so crafty and inventive.
I'm very thankful you shared this. I think I might be able to
do something like this. Not as well but I can give it a go.

It's absolutely delightful!

Mary Ellen

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

This is so pretty and I would have NEVER thought to do it before you enlightened me!!! Thank you!

I just found your blog and love it!

I am a follower!

Lou Cinda :)

~Becca~Bluebird Rose said...

This inspired me so much that I did something similar. Then, I couldn't track down your original post and didn't know who inspired me!! :)
I finally found it today, and edited my post to link back to yours.
Here's the link to mine:
Thanks for the inspiration!

Sandy said...

Love the birdcage idea. One of my friends gave me a birdcage on a stand. It's sitting on my covered deck and I'll probably put some flowers in it. I love anything that has to do with birds. I have birds, bird houses and bird cages all over my home.

Unknown said...

What a lovely patio decorations.. I really admire your creativity and I’m sure like me my kids will love to see this in our patio. Thanks for such an inspiration Donna!

Thank you!
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