Birdbaths made in the shape of a large leaf are an attractive focal point in the home landscape. If you have ever priced these landscape structures, you will find they are a costly purchase at garden supply stores. The good news is that you can make your own out of supplies found at a hardware store and garden. Choose a leaf from the elephant ear plant or a large hosta variety for best results. Take the time to prepare the work area before mixing the concrete to prevent clumping or premature hardening of the mixture. Lay out a tarp or drop cloth and wear old clothes while working with the concrete.
The supplies needed for this project include:
8-inch diameter cardboard tube
2 stepping stones
Concrete mixing container
Mortar colorant, optional
Begin the birdbath by making the pedestal that holds the leaf bath. Make the pedestal out of an 8-inch cardboard construction tube used to create patio footings. Cut the tube to the height desired for the pedestal. Cut a 2-inch ring from the remaining tube section. Set a concrete or cement stepping stone over the area you want to construct the birdbath and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap to hold the concrete inside the tube.
Mix the concrete powder with water until it reaches the consistency of smooth pudding. Add a mortar colorant to the concrete, if desired. Pour the mixture into the tube until it reaches the top. You may need assistance with holding the tube while you pour the concrete. Cover the top of the tube with a piece of plastic wrap and set a stepping stone over top. After 48 hours, tear the cardboard tube away from the concrete and let the pedestal cure for one week. You can paint or glaze the pedestal after curing. Apply concrete sealer over the pedestal to protect the surface from the weather.
Make the birdbath out of a large leaf by filling a large, flat container with four inches of sand. Form the sand in the center of the container into a mound to create a bowl shape that holds water. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the sand mound and set the large leaf on top. Make sure the center of the leaf is over the highest point of the mound.
Mix enough concrete to cover the leaf with a one-inch layer. Add a mortar colorant to the concrete, if desired. Spray cooking oil over the leaf and spread the concrete over the leaf. Follow the shape of the leaf to make clean edges on the birdbath. Apply the concrete so the leaf center has a three-quarter inch layer and tapers to a one-quarter inch thickness at the edges. Set the two-inch cardboard ring in the center of the mound and form several handfuls of concrete around the outside of the ring to create a smooth ledge. This is where the pedestal attaches to the leaf.
Let the concrete dry for 48 hours and then remove the casted leaf from the mold. Tear the cardboard ring off the backside of the leaf and remove any leaf residue. Set the casted leaf in a protected area to cure for one week. Paint or glaze the leaf to match the pedestal after the curing period. Apply a concrete sealer before setting the leaf outdoors. Attach the leaf to the pedestal by setting the ring indentation over the pedestal.