Make a Midcentury Modern Birdhouse

Attract some chic chicks to your yard with this modern DIY birdhouse complete with living roof.

Living Roof Birdhouse

Living Roof Birdhouse

A living roof and midcentury modern style set this DIY birdhouse project apart from the flock.

Photo by: Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

Living Roof Birdhouse 01:35

Attract super-stylish birds to your yard with this modern house complete with living roof.

Materials and Tools

  • (1) exterior-grade 1x6 x 10’ board
  • (1) piece 1/4"-thick balsa wood
  • exterior-grade 1/4" x 48" dowel
  • paint (optional, we used orange and turquoise)
  • wood glue
  • roofing paper to line the top
  • drill
  • hole saw bit (1-1/2" and 2")
  • drill bit (1/4")
  • 1-1/2" finishing nails
  • #6 3/4" wood screws
  • miter saw
  • utility knife
  • hammer or nail gun
  • perlite
  • sedum plants

Note: The instructions below call for prepping all sides before assembly, but some steps, such as drilling perch and drainage holes and painting, could be done after assembly as well.

Cut Wood Pieces to Size

Living Roof Birdhouse B

Living Roof Birdhouse B

Pieces Of Wood

Photo by: Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

Our design incorporates a 22-degree angle to create the midcentury-style roof. Mark the front and back pieces to 10-1/4" at the highest point, then draw a line across the board to create a 22-degree angle. Cut using a miter saw.

The left side is 8" at the highest point with a 22-degree angle cut along the top edge, and the right side is 10-5/8" at the highest point with the 22-degree along the top edge. Mark these measurements along the edges of the boards, then cut.

The bottom piece is 4" x 6". The top piece is 4" x 6" with 22-degree angles cut on both edges. Mark these measurements and cut.

Prep Each Side

The front of the house has a door and three perches. Use the 1-1/2" hole-saw bit to drill a hole in the middle right of the front piece. Using the 1/4" bit, drill three small holes under the large hole for the perches. Paint the front orange and allow to dry. Cut the dowel into three 2-inch pieces and attach through the holes using wood glue. Let dry.

Living Roof Birdhouse

Living Roof Birdhouse

Adding Screw To Back Hole Plug

Photo by: Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

Johnson Giles, Loch & Key Productions

The back has a swinging door with cover cut from the balsa wood. Use the 2" hole saw bit to drill another hole near the center bottom of the back piece. Paint orange and let dry. Make a cover for the door by hand-cutting the balsa piece into a teardrop shape using a utility knife. Attach at the top of teardrop using a #6 3/4" screw; leave it a little loose so you can swing the door open.

Living Roof Birdhouse

Living Roof Birdhouse

Drilling Small Drainage Holes On Side

The left side has three small holes at the top for drainage. Using the 1/4" bit, drill three small holes near the top of the left side to allow for drainage of the living roof. Paint both sides turquoise and allow to dry.

Assemble the Birdhouse

Once the front, back and sides are dry, assemble the box with wood glue and 1-1/2" finishing nails. Install the roof at the 22-degree angle about 2 inches down from the top edge of all sides. Touch up any scuffed paint.

Line the top with roofing paper cut to fit, then add a layer of perlite. Plant the living roof with sedum.

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