My backyard is a nascent work-in-progress. Only recently did my neighbor to the rear even pretend to maintain his yard. I cut down a couple of trailers of his horrible brush and ‘trees’ and hauled them off. He then put up a cheap fence across the back.
If you are looking for a creative and relatively easy way to erect a birdhouse pole, I have one for you. You can control how high it is. I’ve learned through experience that the taller ones draw the birds more rapidly. If you can place it near something that provides cover, you’ll have better luck. If you have a neighbor who does not want to see your birdhouses or hates anything creative, this is your chance to tower above his or her boring fenceline.
First, visit Lowes, Home Depot, or anywhere else you tend to spend five times more money than you planned due to the array of cool things you find when you visit. Go to the plumbing section. First, choose a couple of 3″ or 4″ wide PVC drainage pipes. They are usually white. 3″ pipes are easier to handle. 6′ lengths will fit into cars and other vehicles easier.
Since I recommend that you get two 6′ lengths, you’ll need a coupler of the same size. If that confuses you, all it means is that it is a collar, usually about 4″ high that you use to attach the 2 long pieces together. Not that you would need to, but you can buy a specialty saw for cutting such pipes; a common hacksaw works perfectly well, too. If you use a collar to connect 2 6′ lengths, you won’t need to cut anything.
Additionally, if you want to easily attach the birdhouse to the finished pipe, I recommend that you buy a drain flange to attach to what will become the top of your pole. The advantage of such flanges is that they are flat on top and have slots and holes for screws to pass through in any direction. Once you finish your pipe, you can use a ladder to mount just about any birdhouse to the top of your finished pole. Some flanges have mesh on the top. Any of them will work if they look like the picture I’ve attached.
In the above picture, I draped my neighbor’s fence with a cloth to prevent paint from hitting his fence.
If you spend a couple of minutes in the plumbing section of your favorite home improvement retailer, you’ll discover that they carry a huge variety of couplings, bends, and assorted connectors. These allow you to deviate from my pictured “straight pipe” example. You can add s-curves, cross branches, and several other options. PVC is used to create a variety of things because it is able to be modified by length and direction so easily.
You’ll also want to buy a small metal can of pipe cement. It’s cheap. You apply a bit around the circumference of the couple, pipe, or flange that you attach to the two pipes that create the pole. If you have a glue-sniffing addiction, you’ll need to be careful at this point.
To create the pole, glue the pipe coupler to one end of one PVC pipe. Glue the pipe flange to the other PVC pipe. After a few minutes, glue the two pieces together.
You’ll have one 12′ pole with a flange on the top. A foot or two will be concealed below the ground.
For the ones I make, I usually spray expanding foam into the ends or glue plastic into the sections so that they don’t fill with water. It’s not required.
You can see my previous extremely helpful post regarding digging holes to cement such poles in place. Burying and Cementing The Pole
Once the pole is cemented into the ground, you can get a piece of curved metal to cover the base. They sell them at home improvement stores. Such a piece of metal can be found in the HVAC section or the construction section. The pieces I buy do not quite reach all the way around the pipe. The gap is concealed by my placement of it toward the back. I use screws to attach the pipe sheath to the PVC pole. Clamps will work if you buy ones large enough. I don’t always buy exactly the same type of pipe. For the one pictured, I face the crimped portion below the surface of the soil around the base of the pole. If you were so inclined, you can cut the pipe to varying lengths and/or cut away the crimped portion.
You can see in the picture that I also have several 8′ x 4″ wooden posts buried in the ground. They’ll hold fence panels, multiple feeders, birdhouses, and plant hooks in any direction.
I learned the hard way that it is much easier to paint the poles and posts after cementing them. I paint them before adding soil or covers around the base of the poles. I use spray paint. All the major retailers carry a huge variety of types and colors. As you can see, I prefer to use a variety of colors so that it appears that magical unicorns have visited me. Bright, crazy colors aren’t for everyone.
The above post holds a picnic table-inspired bird feeder. You’ll quickly discover that the squirrels will also love these, too. They often lay flat in them to feed. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll see one sitting on the opposite side of the table; in such a scenario, the squirrel appears to be sitting at the table eating. I attached my picnic table with an additional piece of painted wood to allow for support screws to go underneath in three places.
If you carefully pre-drill holes in the PVC pipes, you can attach other things to it as well, such as themed metal art.
In a later post, I’ll tell you how to use these pipes to make elaborate wind bassoons and wind instruments.