If you’re looking for a bird bath that is strong and durable, and that will last for years to come no matter what the Great British weather throws at it, a bird bath made from stone or concrete is the perfect choice.
When choosing a bird bath it can be tempting to go for a cheaper option. However, with the UK’s unpredictable weather you may find that on windy days your bird bath gets blown over which could damage it permanently.
Due to their weight, stone bird baths are much more sturdy and they are less likely to get chipped or cracked, although if they do any knocks and bumps will only add to the character of the bath as it ages.
You can also buy bird baths made from engineered granite or marble which is stone mixed with resin to help reinforce any naturally occurring veins, holes, or fractures. This process will improve the hardiness of the bird bath.
Stone bird baths are also a good option if you want to make a statement in your garden. They come in a variety of styles and often include intricate carvings and other design features. For a traditional, cottage garden a classic stone bird bath with a fluted basin would fit right in, and if you want something more modern for an urban garden, a contemporary bath with geometric detailing is ideal.
Stone bird baths are usually grey, but tinted baths are also available, as are baths made from concrete that has been mixed with mosaic chips or finished with different glazes. If the bath is highly polished birds may find it difficult to grip so add a few stones to the bottom of the bowl to give them somewhere to perch as they drink and bathe.
Stone bird baths will need some low-level maintenance to ensure they last as long as possible. Because stone is porous algae can grow on the bath if it is not cleaned regularly. To clean a stone bird bath you can use a mild bleach solution and scrub it with a stiff brush. Make sure you thoroughly rinse the bird bath so there are no traces of bleach that could harm your garden birds and leave it to dry in the sun which will break down any remaining chlorine before filling again. A bird bath placed in the shade will prevent algae growing so rapidly.
In very cold weather stone or concrete bird baths are unfortunately susceptible to damage. Water can seep into the pores and if it freezes it will expand which can cause small cracks. To help prevent this once a year seal your bird bath with a concrete sealer which will stop the stone absorbing most of the water.
Before sealing your bird bath it needs to be completely clean and dry.
Remove any crumbling or flaking pieces of stone.
Put silicone sealant along any obvious cracks and leave to dry for a few hours.
Use a small paintbrush to apply two coats of a non-toxic concrete sealing product that is safe for animals and birds.
You will need to leave the bird bath for 3 or 4 days before refilling with water.
If you’re worried about your stone bird bath getting damaged in freezing conditions then your only option may be to bring it inside and store it over winter. If you have no suitable storage then wrap the bath in some sturdy plastic such a tarpaulin or heavy duty bin liners and move to a sheltered spot in your garden.
Covering or removing your bird bath isn’t ideal as birds need water in the colder months as their natural sources may be frozen over. So you could either use a bird bath heater or put out an alternative bird bath when the temperature drops below zero.
Stone bird baths can be expensive and if buying online make sure you check the postage and packaging costs as these can sometimes bump up the price. They are also deceptively heavy so find out if your bird bath can be delivered directly to the spot where you want to place it in your garden.
If you’re designing a bird friendly garden a stone bird bath is a great investment. And if cared for properly it will give you many years of pleasure as you watch the birds who visit it splash about in the water you provide for them.