Feathered types flock to birdbaths, especially during dry spells and when the mercury begins to rise. You can attract birds to your backyard by creating a refreshing pool where they can drink, bath, and preen. On a budget? Dive into your garage and recycling bin for ordinary household items you can readily adapt to your architectural machinations.
Try stringing up a Frisbee, for instance, or slapping together a few spare terracotta pots and a clay saucer. Scrap wood, an enamel lampshade, and quick-drying cement can also make for an attractive pedastel birdbath that will have your winged visitors atwitter. You can even rig a drip system from a used soda bottle. If stagnant water and mosquitoes weigh on your mind, turn to Instructables for a tutorial on MacGyvering a "water wiggler" out of wire hangers, a cream-cheese container, and a DC motor.
For maximum splash, choose a shady spot for your birdbath to prevent the sun from evaporating all the water. Planting prickly shrubs near the bath will also deter roving cats from using them as cover for an ambush. Maintaining a birdbath in winter has its challenges, however. To keep your setup from freezing, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds suggests dipping in a thermostatically controlled immersion heater, or adding a lightweight ball that will be moved by the gentlest of breezes, keeping the water around it ice-free.
Difficulty level: Easy to moderate