How do you feed the birds without the mess? Easy peasy! Adding some simple landscaping under the feeder area to prevent birdseed weeds from sprouting and globs of yucky old birdseed from clumping.
Today I’d like to share with you a cool and simple landscaping design for under your bird feeder you can complete in under one hour. I call the design “Ring Around the Bird Feeder”.
I’ve been attracting wild birds to my yard for over 20 years. Early on I struggled with how to keep under the bird feeder clean and compliment the landscape vibe throughout my yard. I tried many ideas and am sharing my favorite one with you today.
Table of Contents
- Why Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder
- Materials to Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder
- How to Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder with the “Ring Around The Bird Feeder” Design
- Supply List
Why Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder
When we invite wild birds to our feeders we become responsible for many things including keeping the area under the bird feeders clean. Bird seed and other debris can build up and either get moldy or sprout.
Moldy seed can make our feathered friends sick – we must prevent that. And sprouts are just plain ugly. Am I right?
When I designed my Ring Around The Bird Feeder landscape solution I had two goals in mind.
Goal #1: To make the job of cleaning the mess under the bird feeder easy and fast.
Goal #2: To make the area under my bird feeder attractive – at all times.
Materials to Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder
This project requires two simple materials:
- Tree ring (or landscape fabric)
- Landscape rocks
Optional: Landscape edging.
Tree rings are round landscaping materials that surround established trees. They come in different forms such as plastic and rubber.
It’s important to choose a ring that allows water to pass through, but not the birdseed debris.
Tree rings come in a variety of sizes so be sure to select one with a diameter outside the size of your bird feeder area if possible.
If you are unable to find a tree ring suitable for this project (e.g. you need it to cover a larger area) you may also follow the alternative approach – landscape fabric and edging.
Alternative to Tree Ring: Landscape Fabric
Landscape fabric can be used for this project as well but takes a little bit more time as you’ll need to cut it and (optionally) edge around it.
Any type of landscape fabric will do but the wider fabric will be easier because you won’t need to piece it together to cover the area. The fabric’s job here is to allow water to flow through, prevent dirt and other organic elements from congregating and hold the landscape rocks.
Optional: Landscape Edging
If your tree ring does not come with built-in edging or you’re using landscape fabric, I recommend edging around the area.
Not only does landscape edging makes the area attractive by holding the landscape fabric in one contained area, but it also keeps the birdseed debris in one area for cleaning. More on cleaning later.
The skies are the limit when it comes to edging options. There’s rubber, plastic, stone, and any variation of each.
Mulching around the area is icing on the cake and gives you a professional appearance.
Landscape rocks are the key to this project because they allow you to easily clean under the bird feeder. Note: My cleaning method entails the use of a shop vac to suck up and dispose of the unwanted bird seed debris. More on that later.
The size of the landscape rocks is important. In order to maintain the tidiness of the area under the bird feeder area the rocks need to be heavy enough so you don’t suck them up with the shop vac, yet small enough to be able to get between them to suck up all the birdseed debris.
- Pebbles and gravel are too light.
- Lava rocks are too light.
- Field stones are too large – too much of the bird seed debris may get trapped beneath them and not get sucked up by shop vac.
- Landscape rocks between 1″ and 3″ are just right! They’re small enough to expose the bird seed debris so it all gets vacuumed up yet heavy enough that they don’t get sucked up themselves.
I opted for a multi-colored blend of 1-1/2 – 2″ landscape rocks that I picked up at my local home improvement store. If you’re unable to get out to the store, check out the above rocks on Amazon.
Your layer of rocks should only be enough to cover the tree ring or fabric, otherwise, birdseed debris will get trapped at the bottom.
The rocks I used came bags of “1/2 cubic foot” each. I only needed 2 bags to fill my 38″ tree guard.
How to Landscape Under Your Bird Feeder with the “Ring Around The Bird Feeder” Design
Step 1: Clean Under the Bird Feeder
First, you need to thoroughly clean under the bird feeder to make way for your tree ring or landscape fabric and landscape rocks. I created a detailed process for this. Don’t worry, it’s fast and easy. How to Clean the Mess Under Your Bird Feeder.
When you’re done with cleaning under the bird feeder, come back for step 2.
Step 2: Lay down the Tree Ring (or landscape fabric)
It’s really that simple. Just lay the tree ring down around the bird feeder area.
If using landscape fabric, cut a round piece of it and place it around the bird feeder area. If you have a narrow fabric you may need to piece it together to make a large round area. Remember, you want to catch all seeds falling from above and the wind may carry it a bit.
If using an edge-less tree ring or landscape fabric, install the edging.
Step 3: Fill with landscape rocks
Open your bags of rocks and fill the tree ring or fabric area.
That’s it! You now have a beautiful area under your bird feeder area.
Even better, it’s the foundation for easily keeping the area under the bird feeder clean. Refer to the Maintenance section of my How to Clean Under Your Bird Feeder article for details on this simple process.
Many of us spend a lot of time and money on our yards. We love to attract wild birds and enjoy watching them eat, raise families, and more. We also have a responsibility as backyard birders to keep our feathered friends healthy. The Ring Around The Bird Feeder landscape project allows us to do that quickly and easily.
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