While you prepare your home and garden for spring and make weekend trips back and forth to your favorite home improvement store, don’t forget about all the little creatures that your garden will benefit. From the tiniest earthworm to the biggest caterpillar, your plants, herbs, vegetables and flowers all provide a beautiful and beneficial little ecosystem to all the friends in your yard.
And while they each have their own job to do, some of them can be a bit of a nuisance. But before you call the exterminator, you may want to consider a more natural alternative. Birds are great for keeping your garden in top shape by eliminating (okay, eating) harmful insects that can invade and ruin your hard work. And the best way to set up a bird-based extermination plan is to give them a home.
Now, if you’re going to build a house—even just a little birdhouse—you might as well learn from the absolute best. Bob Vila’s easy-to-follow birdhouse tutorial will leave you with a beautiful and sturdy birdhouse that can last for decades. The next time you’re picking up potting soil, grab these basic items to build a traditional birdhouse:
- One 1″ x 8″ cedar board 8 feet long (you’ll have enough to make at least two)
- 1″ Forstner bit or hole saw
- Waterproof wood glue, such as Titebond III
- Bar clamps
- 1-1/4″ decking or galvanized screws
- 1/2″ galvanized pipe flange and short screws
- 1/2″ galvanized pipe
To make things a bit easier, label the different cuts of wood you’ll use for the floor, walls and roof with a pencil. When you’re done, you can paint the birdhouse however you like to cover up the pencil markings. You can also change the size of the hole in front to attract all different types of birds!
Now that you’re ready to go, just follow these four simple steps to create your birdhouse:
1. Begin by choosing a nice, dry, straight 1″ × 8″ cedar board at the lumberyard or home center and cut it to the following sizes and multiples:
Sides: Two pieces cut to 4″ x 3-1/2″
Floor: One piece cut to 5″ x 3-1/4″
Right roof: One piece cut to 4-3/4″ x 7″
Left roof: One piece cut to 5-1/2″ x 7″
Front and back: Two pieces cut to 5″ x 8″
Note: You should have seven cut pieces in total
2. Cut the front and the back to create a “traditional” angled-roof house shape. Draw a line down the center and cut at 45° towards the sides to create a five-sided polygon. Then drill a 1″ hole in the front, about 2/3 of the way from the floor; the exact placement is up to you.
3. Begin assembling by placing the floor on a flat surface, with the rough side facing up. Add the front and back and the sides, with the rough part facing in. Apply glue to all joined surfaces, clamp and allow to dry.
4. After the glue has cured, screw the pipe flange into the bottom using shorter screws. Attach the roof pieces with a butt joint and screw together at 90°. Center the roof on the house and use screws and pilot holes to attach the roof to the front and back only. This will allow the roof to be easily removed for cleaning.