Green Roof Birdhouse DIY With Crocus Moss And Sedum Medium

Green Roof Birdhouse Tutorial

Green roofs are all the rage right now but why should we humans have all the fun?  In this Weekend Project you will learn how to make a removable, plantable roof addition to a standard cedar birdhouse.  Adorable.

My husband is a hobbyist woodworker.  Lucky me, right?  And since we were talking about setting up some nesting boxes for our chickadees, he found some plans online, bought some wood, and then a few hours later we had this beautiful little birdhouse.

Gorgeous and perfectly made, with vent holes for the bird family’s air circulation, and the rough wood facing in so the fledglings can crawl up to the perfectly-sized hole for their first venture out into the world.  Oh, and it has a hinged roof so that you can peek in on them <ahem> clean the birdhouse at the end of the season.

Me: “Great birdhouse, Honey. Let’s make a green roof for the birdies.”

Husband:  “Um, ok, well….but if we put a green roof on it we won’t be able to lift it up to look clean inside.”

Me: “There has to be a way.  We can figure it out, right?”

Husband: “Um, yeah…”

If you speak husband like I do then you know that basically means, “I don’t know what you’re up to, Crazy Woman, but I’m not touching that birdhouse”.  So I waited for him to go to work and I got busy building this fabulous removable plant tray that acts as a green roof.  Want to make one too?  Here’s how:  (If you don’t see the tutorial, please click ‘continue reading’.)



  • Chickadee and nuthatch nesting box (made from these project plans, thank you 50
  • Hand saw
  • 2 ½” x ½” cedar board
  • 1 ½” x ½” cedar board
  • Drill / screwdriver & wood screws
  • Plastic container, scissors
  • Drought-tolerant, shallow-rooted plants like Sedum album.


1. Measure out the ledge which will sit at the front of the roof and hold the plant tray.  Cut the 2 ½” cedar board to the exact dimensions of the front of the roof.  Affix the ledge onto the roof edge with wood screws as shown.

2. Cut a plastic container to the height of your wood boards, in this case it is 1½”.

3. Measure and cut the smaller cedar board so that they fit in between the roof ledge and the back of the feeder.  Affix the two cut boards to the plastic container with shorter wood screws.

4. Drill a few drainage holes in the front corners of the plant tray.  This will ensure the water will drain off the roof corners and keep birdies dry.

5. Add some container potting mix to the plant tray and fill with plants that work with the conditions the house will be set in.   The bird house shouldn’t be somewhere too sunny or too high traffic which is why we placed it under the shade of a lilac.  You won’t want to disturb the little bird family by watering so choose drought-tolerant plants that have shallow roots. This Sedum albumis very winter hardy, has a solid net of shallow roots, and those rubbery little leaves hold onto lots of water so it will naturalize there nicely.  It will also start to grow long tendrils in the summer that will hang down the sides, get a mess of yellow (or white) flowers in the summer, and turn reddish in the fall and winter.

6. Give the plants a good water to get them started and slide the planting tray to the roof.  You are now ready for the birds to move in.

6 b. If you are like me and feel that while the Sedum album is growing in it need a little je ne sais quoi, then add a few garden decorations.  I used some blooming crocus and some balls of moss.  Snowdrops would also be really nice as well with a selection of hens and chicks or other sedum, mosses, or creeping plants.

On a final note, please make sure there is some food and water in your garden for the birds when the move in as they don’t like to travel far to forage when nesting.  Also, I really was kidding about looking in at the birds.  If you don’t want to stress them and have them abandon the nest, no peeking!  Just admire the little guys from afar.


Thanks for visiting for the weekend project.  Also check out this project and the other great features on Common Ground’s Vintage Inspiration Fridays.

About the Author : Stephanie Rose

A city girl who learned to garden and it changed everything. Author, artist, Master Gardener. Better living through plants.

View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Honey
    HoneyFebruary 23,12

    You always have such great ideas! How sweet! Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday!

  2. Debbie
    DebbieFebruary 24,12

    Wow, that is so simple that even I might be able to do that! I’ve been thinking about doing a modified version of a green roof and making the post caps on my fence into mini green-roofs. I think the little plastic container idea is perfect.

  3. Garden Bay Gardening Supplies
    Garden Bay Gardening SuppliesFebruary 24,12

    I live in one of those flat-roof homes in Southern California that was built in the thirties; you’ve seen them in downtown Los Angeles. I totally love my home, but I never really cared for the fact that I had no yard to speak of, until I put up a residential green roof. Now I have got this really sweet spot on the roof that I can have little house parties and grill. If your think that a residential roof sounds cool, wait till you hear how much I saved on my taxes after I did it.

  4. Michele
    MicheleFebruary 24,12

    I so love this…
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Gabby
    GabbyFebruary 24,12

    Oh, I love this idea so very much! A simple idea, yet such a great, natural statement. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Amy
    AmyFebruary 25,12

    No matter where you link, in a sea of hundreds of submissions, I am always drawn to yours! Pinning ASAP!

  7. Tania Angelo
    Tania AngeloFebruary 25,12

    I love your little birdhouse garden roof! I have one of those plain jane birdhouses too… I’m definitely going to make one! Thank you for the tutorial!


  8. Melanie
    MelanieFebruary 26,12

    What a fabulous idea. I’m sure your chickadee houses are the nicest in the neighbouhood and will be in the highest price range :)

  9. Jeanni
    JeanniFebruary 26,12

    What a cute idea!

  10. Scot
    ScotFebruary 27,12

    I really like this idea and the tutorial is excellent. Just tweeted it out to our followers, thanks!

    ~ Scot

  11. Meeha
    MeehaFebruary 27,12

    FABULOUS! I love that it’s ingenuous, (quite) easy to make and so… unexpected! It looks great:) Oh, I’m a new follower :)

  12. Mary
    MaryFebruary 28,12

    This is the cutest, most adorable thing EVER! I just LOVE it!!! Saw your link at Craft-O-Maniac Monday. Pinning and now following…cheers!

  13. Cranberry Morning
    Cranberry MorningFebruary 28,12

    What a clever and pretty idea. You must have the happiest resident birds ever!

  14. Dan
    DanFebruary 28,12

    What a cool birdhouse!

  15. John
    JohnFebruary 29,12

    Wonderful project! I’ll share it with my family. They all love birds. Thank you for sharing this post. I’ll visit again for more projects. :-)

  16. Sherry
    SherryFebruary 29,12

    Super cute idea! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  17. Debra@CommonGround
    [email protected]February 29,12

    Thanks so much for linking up to VIF! I’m featuring this post tomorrow! LOVE it!

  18. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.
    Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.March 3,12

    Oh my gosh, that is too cute! I love all the fun ideas you bring to the party!

  19. maria
    mariaMarch 5,12

    how sweet!!!!!
    do you have birds nesting????
    María from Spain

    • Stevie
      StevieMarch 5,12

      Hi Maria, not quite yet as we just put it up. But the chickadees will move in soon.

  20. nik
    nikMarch 5,12

    lol…three cheers for you for ignoring the skeptical hubs! That’s the most charming, imaginative and compassionate avian landscaping I’ve ever seen. Many thanks for the how-to steps! :)

  21. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.
    Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.March 6,12

    Love this so much, we featured you at our Be Inspired link party this week! Thanks for being a party regular!

  22. Jen@EmbellishingLife
    [email protected]March 18,12

    OOO…this is lovely! We have birdhouse in our backyard that would look wonderful like this. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!

  23. Inspire Me Heather
    Inspire Me HeatherMay 29,12

    Great tutorial – thanks! I have your bird house linked to my bird houses post as well today, for inspiration!

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    Residential roofing houstonDecember 16,13

    One of many biggest foes of the roof is ice. When gutters back up and freeze up, they can push the shingles as well as wood up off the top of the house. When that ice starts to melt, it is going to leak inside and rot out your property. Watch for ice construct up and repair the problem rapidly.

  28. Dave
    DaveFebruary 7,14

    I love this. Thanks for the idea and the great tutorial! Well done!

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