Bird Bath the Fourth

by AnneWareham on April 25, 2017

Post image for Bird Bath the Fourth


You’d expect it really – that if you have builders in creating chaos and disorder that you also develop major plumbing problems (nothing like discovering a pool of water in the bathroom in the middle of the night..), electrical problems, knee problems – and you would find your custom made bird bath disintegrating.

Glad to report that the company which made it reimbursed us completely. It was sad though – here is its nightmare history – Part One and Part Two

So Charles took some pleasure in taking a sledge hammer to it.

Demolition of Bird Bath, Veddw

And we contemplated the replacement. To our great pleasure we found a corten steel bowl. And then, by a fortunate stroke of serendipity, we found some oak sleepers in our local builders merchant. So I designed a new bird bath.

The next bit was interesting – we did a mock up and ended up wondering about a narrow plinth (Charles) or a wide plinth (Anne). So I asked on Facebook and got an amazing and fascinating response. For which many thanks, everyone. So we went outside having read all that, looked again and spontaneously and together agreed how it should be. Now you wait…

Mock up bird bath, Veddw

Narrow mock up.

So the wood arrived, rather scarily –

Sleepers, Veddw

Took two strong men to carry one. (Thanks Jeff..)

And Charles set to work:


Cutting to manageable size..,

New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Removing the concrete we’d so carefully added, with such hard work, to stop small boys climbing on the old bird bath and squishing themselves.


New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Gluing and clamping..


New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Planing (thanks again, Jeff..)


New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Levering, with help from car jack. (and invisible Anne)

If you wonder what I contributed, I should add that when I was heaving and shoving no-one was taking pictures…

New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham



New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Filling in – with much stomping and levelling…


New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham



This was hard to believe – we had just filled it and sat down to look – and a robin arrived to take a drink. Sorry the pic is so bad.

New bird bath at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham


We love it. Good job we do. One of the most interesting things, though, is that I know many of the people who considered it on Facebook will not like it – and for once I do know that for sure. For years I’ve looked for critical discussion of what we do here, and still most people prefer to be polite and kind. But I discovered that garden people do see, think, consider and arrive at clear opinions about what works or doesn’t work and why. It was a joy. But the trick is clearly to ask before you do anything.

Anne Xxxx



Send to Kindle

Subscribe to the Veddw Blog

Enter your email address to get new articles from the Veddw House Garden blog by email:

John April 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm

I’d send that bird bath back if I were you. It’s rusted already!

Have you drilled some holes through the bottom of the bowl to screw it to the plinth? Don’t want some kids trying to climb up and tipping it over.

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:41 am

You know – we never thought about that. What a good idea!Xxxx

Katherine Crouch April 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Happy birdbathday and good work! I agree with the comment (can’t remember from whom) to take away the black fences and it will look even better…… what is the distance between the birdbath edge and the limits of the route round it? Looks a little mean from here…

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:42 am

It’s fine and the railings look great. Discuss on the spot next time you’re here! Love birdbathday!

Angela April 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Lovely simplicity about this. Where did the bowl come from?

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:43 am
pauline Cobbold April 25, 2017 at 8:43 pm

Love it. Must come and see it for real. Sympathy on the leaks and builders. We have had two so far and avoided a third when we noticed a hole in a pipe running up a wall which was just about to have plasterboard attached – our very own waterfall in our en-suite. Currently drying out a concrete floor.

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

Good thing it was concrete?! We also nearly had an overflow pipe plastered in….

Ian Thorpe April 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

The corten steel bowl looks fantastic. I’m reserving judgement about the sleepers-base, though I admire the work that went into it. I think it might look just too much like vertical railway sleepers, and their proportions are best when they’re lying down, I think. But what does my opinion count – the robin clearly loves it.

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

Come and see, Ian – you must anyway!Your opinion counts! Xxx

Cynthia Reyes April 26, 2017 at 3:29 am

I suspect that it’s tougher to criticize something that’s well done because it calls for a deeper level of knowledge and analysis of the subject. And let’s face it: you two are very good at your garden (including the new bird bath), so what’s to criticize? Congrats to Charles – the base looks great!

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 9:48 am

Thanks, Cynthia, – I think it’s easiest, on the whole, to criticise when something is not yet done, or is a show garden. But how else will we learn and improve and see better if we don’t have these discussions? Xx

Pat Webster April 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I think it’s fabulous! Love the proportions, love the chunky squareness that contrasts so well with the lovely lines of the bowl. Really like the angled placement. Will the wood change colour as it weathers?

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Charles instantly identified you as ‘a person of discrimination and importance’! Thank you, Pat.And yes, the wood is oak and should weather to a silver grey if we leave it as it is.

Pat Webster April 26, 2017 at 9:20 pm

And do you plan to leave it as it is or to seal the wood in some way? (That noise you hear is me shouting, leave it as is. Silver grey will be beautiful.)

AnneWareham April 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

I can hear you! Leave it as it is. (we have more than enough to do anyway)

Katherine Crouch April 27, 2017 at 11:18 pm

yup, leave it alone, silvery grey where the sun hits it, darker on the shady side, darker just under the bowl in permanent shade, tannin stains from the wood (is it oak?), drippy rusty drizzles from the Corten steel (might it do that?) greeny slimy bits on the shady side, a hint of black mould – it will be a lot of fun to see what nature decides to do. Love it.

AnneWareham April 28, 2017 at 8:28 am

Yes, it’s oak – you’re right about the possibilities!Including cracking and warping? XXxx

Susan Guthridge April 26, 2017 at 11:29 pm

Have you thought of putting a few different size stones in there- because if a bird falls in it could drown.

AnneWareham April 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

Have done that with metal strip….Thanks!

Cherie Southgate April 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Anne it’s a brilliant birdbath. I love the fact you repurposed something to make a simple statement and solve a problem. I think one of the best things is that you’ve had the plinth set on the diagonal, it wouldn’t look nearly so good otherwise. Can’t wait to see it with the silver I got of the sleepers.

AnneWareham April 27, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Thank you! xxxx

Kev the Yank May 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Brilliant, Anne! I loooove the new bird bath! just stunning and perfectly suited to the inherentcy of all that is Veddw, imho. Tell Charles I am disappointed he did not invite me to come over and help, seeing as how he was playing with serious power tools…. πŸ™ I would have even flown over to be there! and we all know how I abhor commercial air flight!!! Looking forward to seeing this in person…

AnneWareham May 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

O, next time then, no problem! Xxxxx

charles May 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I will tuck this offer away and produce it with a flourish when you next visit. You can have the key to the lock up and do something constructive with our power tools.

Kev the Yank May 1, 2017 at 1:24 pm

chainsaws, planers, and jack-hammers… OH MY!!!! πŸ˜€ ahhh, life is good in Wales….

charles May 4, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I have to confess the planer was borrowed and the jack-hammer hired. What I really want is a mini digger!