Which Birdbath should I choose?

People often ask which birdbath is best for their garden and their circumstances. In this post I outline the best way to choose the right birdbath, all of which can be purchased via our shop website: https://birdbaths.malleedesign.com.au/.

For most suburban gardens, where the gardener is interested in attracting more local bird-life, the default dish to choose is the large spun copper dish (780mm in diameter). This dish is recommended because it is wide enough for both medium and large birds to splash around in, even when a landing rock or platform is placed in the centre. Due to its shallow depth, small birds will also happily use the large-sized bath. The supplied mounting ring, which doesn’t have to be used, allows the dish to be easily mounted on any flat surface such as leveled stumps, rocks, retaining walls etc. A great way to mount the large dish is on the edge of a raised garden bed.

A large dish on the ground
A freshly spun large dish
A large dish on a stump
The large dish can accommodate a group of Lorikeets

If budget allows, the large dish can be mounted on one of three steel stands each of different height. The medium height stand (76cm) is the most classically proportioned.  It is just high enough to allow small shrubs or grasses to be planted underneath. The low stand (51cm) allows the dish to sit amongst low plantings, easily hiding the structure beneath it and giving it a floating appearance. The tall stand (1m) is designed to protect birdlife from pet dogs and cats that may deter birds from using the dish if placed any closer to the ground. The tall stand can also be used to float a dish amongst taller plantings.

The tall stand is the best protection from cats.
The medium stand (75cm) is well proportioned.
The short stand (50cm) allows the dish to sit nestled within a garden bed.

The sandstone plinth is another option for mounting the large dishes and can be used two ways. Its commanding presence allows it to make a statement as a garden feature centred in an open courtyard or gardening space. Or, it can also be used to great effect positioned within a planted garden space, rising out of the ground with great confidence. Of course, sandstone is a fantastic complimentary material to native Australian plants too.

No two sandstone plinths are the same. We feel that the visual weight of the sandstone necessitates a large dish.
A medium dish developing a nice patina.

The medium dish (600mm in diameter) is our most popular birdbath and is designed for those who have a smaller garden or who wish to spend a little less. The medium dish can accommodate the bathing needs of medium and small sized birds and is mounted in the same fashion as the large dish (it is also provided with a copper mounting ring). Like the large dish, the medium dishes can be supported by the small or medium height steel stands, but the tall stand is too high to offer pleasant proportions with the medium dish.

The medium dish on a short stand (50cm) is a versatile combination.
The bottom ring of the stand (here, a short one) is easily hidden/buried in grasses or mulch.
The medium dish on a medium stand (75cm) lifts the dish just above a busy planter bed. This is our most popular combination.

The mini dish (420mm in diameter) is designed specifically to serve small birds. Because of its reduced size (and strength) the mini dish can be tossed under small bushes where the smaller birds like to hide from predators. Of course, if you have stray cats visiting your garden, consider elevating it a foot or two at least. Again, a stump or perhaps an improvised mount made from branches, stones, pots or other can be used to hold the dish off the ground. The mini dish comes with a rubber support ring to assist mounting on any flat surface.

The mini dish can be used many ways. Here it sits on a sandstone log retaining wall.
The XL dish holds 50L of water and will age much more slowly than the other sizes. This dish is about 1 years old.

The extra large dish (1100mm in diameter) is a slightly different beast. It is designed largely for dramatic effect. Carefully positioned in a garden it will serve as a reflection pool, allowing the eye to catch glimpses of trees silhouetted against the blue sky. With a mild breeze, the water in the extra large dish will ripple gently providing movement and interest for the garden wanderer. Kookaburras love diving into the XL dish (if no rocks are in it) due to its greater depth (14cm). If rocks are placed in the centre of the dish, birds of all sizes will use it. Medium and large-sized birds are most likely to use the extra-large birdbath but if it is well protected (by overhanging branches), and filled with rocks, the smaller birds will also use the XL dish.

A subtle breeze on a quiet day will tickle the reflections of overhanging trees into life!






17 responses to “Which Birdbath should I choose?”

  1. Juliet Pratley

    Hope you are having g a nice weekend. When will you have more sandstone plinths for the small or medium copper bird baths available?
    Kind regards Juliet

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Juliet,

      We have the mini sandstone plinth and medium available for pick up from Sydney Wildflower nursery, you can also call them if you need to arrange delivery ph:9548 2818

      Best Wishes,


    2. Carol Atkins

      Do you have any bird baths that have a fountain as well.

      1. Kath Gadd

        Hi Carol,
        Thanks for your email, yes we do sell the birdbaths as a kit water feature, you can find them here : https://shop.malleedesign.com.au/products/water-feature-plumbed

        We also have a page where you can find information on how to turn a dish into a water feature at home see this link https://shop.malleedesign.com.au/pages/using-mallee-design-spun-copper-dishes-to-create-a-water-feature

        Hope this info helps,

        Best Wishes,


  2. Louise

    Would you be able to tell me how much water the medium sized bowl holds?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Louise,

      The Medium Dish holds 8 litres of water, you can find all the dimensions here: https://shop.malleedesign.com.au/collections/frontpage/products/medium-spun-copper-dish

      Best Wishes,


  3. Clarissa Waldram

    Price please for both small and large copper dishes?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Clarissa,

      you can view and purchase our bird baths at our online shop

      Best Wishes,


  4. Rachael

    Hello Kath
    Trying times for everyone at the moment but hopefully you are still up and running like our local ‘nurseries’ are?
    I have a question about the copper bird baths and would like to know your experiences with them in a very sunny position – I am guessing the water being quite shallow would heat up considerably and the copper itself get quite hot so birds don’t use it. Also how do they go with water freezing in them? We have both extremes where we live.
    Many thanks

  5. Hi Kath,
    Could you please send a price list on your copper bird baths and stands and can you arrange delivery to Newstead Victoria.
    All my details are on my web site if needed.
    Best regards
    Alan Moloney.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Alan,

      You can see all the prices of our birdbaths on our online shop website – https://birdbaths.malleedesign.com.au/. We deliver Australia wide and you can put in your Newstead delivery address when you go to purchase online.

      All the best,

  6. michael

    Do you have 100mm grey birdbath bowls?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Michael,

      You can find our full range on the following link https://shop.malleedesign.com.au

      Best Wishes,


  7. Elizabeth

    I’m really taken with these beautiful bird baths. I’m wondering if they could be incorporated into landscaping for public parks. They would have to be attached so they couldn’t be easily removed! Do you have photos or ideas like this please?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Yes it can be done, please contact us via our online form here: https://shop.malleedesign.com.au/pages/contact-us

      All the best,

  8. Catherine McCahill

    I’m curious about your use of copper rather than the more common terracotta.
    What do you consider the advantages of copper for baths?

    I’ve only just encountered your site and am very pleased i did.

    My dear mother began native gardens while we lived adjacent to bush in Sydney (1960s).
    She attended workshops and bought a small book by Betty Moloney (Frenchs Forest) called Bush Gardens with tips on creating a bush garden.

    She created beautiful bush gardens at our home, gathering sandstone floaters (back when there were no rules!) and hollow logs, leaf litter etc and doing all of it herself.

    I’m so grateful that she taught me to love the bush.
    In 1932, her father moved the family from Manly to Oxford Falls where he carved out a chicken farm from scratch! It was there that my mother told me she fell in love with the bush, exploring the local bush and creek, discovering indigenous rock art and hearing the mopokes calling at night.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Catherine,

      Two of the really great benefits of copper is that mosquitos can’t breed in copper and algae can’t grow. The water stays fresher for longer and the dishes are much easier to maintain. We are also a small, local Australian business so you know that by buying our dishes you’re supporting local makers (our dishes are spun in the Southern Highlands).

      It sounds like your mother has created an absolutely wonderful and very special garden through her life, it’s lovely to hear. If you would like to purchase one of our dishes you can do so through our shop website here: https://shop.malleedesign.com.au/

      All the best,
      Hannah and Kath

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Birdbaths designed for birds

Mallee Birdbaths are specifically designed to serve birds. The copper dishes are broad and shallow, allowing birds to land on the edge and walk into the water. The baths are modern, elegant and durable. They are locally made in the Illawarra (NSW, Australia) using materials that will weather well and last decades. For help on which dish to choose, go here.