Landscape Idea For A Rental House On A Budget

Bird Houses

Here's The Inspiration for this project

I was looking for space-filling landscape ideas on Pinterest a few weeks ago because we have this huge open wall below our front window that is so bare and i wanted something to dilute it. I would put a flower box there if this were my house but the siding is wood and I don't want to have to fix it when we leave. Also, i would add maybe a tree or something to the landscaping there if it were mine too but i had to find something that could easily be removed since this is a rental house. I don't like putting money into any rental, but i also don't want the place i live to look bad or not be taken care of.

I started my hunt for bird houses at Hobby Lobby and i found the three in the picture on the left that i really loved. Unfortunately, the price didn’t fall into the “cheap” category so i had to move on. The Hobby Lobby Bird houses were anywhere from $10 – $14 each. But i will link them here.

Next, I checked at Michaels! Where I found the ones on the right. (Please note that the Michaels Bird houses did not come stained, i just forgot to snap a picture before staining them. They were the same raw wood color as the ones on the left.) Linked the page here.

I loved the Michaels bird houses just as much and they were a fraction of the cost! The two little ones were $3.99 (after sales and coupons at the time; og: $5.99) And the larger one was $6.99 (og: $11.99)

So i got the Michaels Bird houses of course, and brought them home to start attempting to make them look a little more aged in a way that would match my house.

I took the darkest stain i had, Minwax Ebony Stain, And did one full coat on each house. I painted in on with an old paint brush and then wiped away the excess immediately so it wouldn’t come out COMPLETELY black. I just wanted it dark.

Then i wanted to add paint that looked like it was washing off. This didn’t go the way i had hoped and i think that was because of the color stain i chose. I used a chalk paint (i mike my own chalk paint, i will link the recipe here) and i brushed a light coat onto a small chunk (one side) and then i immediately wiped most of it off with a wet wash cloth. Once you start this process you really get the hang of it.

For me, the paint turned grey and i really didn’t like that. My house is brown and I didn’t like the colors together, so after i let the paint dry, I added a layer of dark wax. This darkened it up quite a bit but it looked better against my house.

On the second bird house, I did a LOT less paint. I liked the way the stain looked against the house so i thought i would let this one keep a little more of that. I wiped it on in small spots, rubbed it away with the wet cloth, and then added the dark wax over those spots. 

On the last little bird house I decided not to do anything with it! I might change my mind later down the road, but for now it looks pretty cute.

The posts

I went to Home Depot to get the most inexpensive posts i could find. I DO NOT like red colored wood so i planned on staining these once i got home. I grabbed one 10 foot Red Cedar Lumber, and one 6 foot. 

I measured for how tall I wanted my posts before heading to home depot and added an extra foot to each one to account for how deep it needed to be in the ground.

I needed the posts to be cut at  6′,  5′ and 4.5′. 

Home depot will do your cuts for you which was amazing! So I told them the measurements and they did the work for me.


I had an extra piece to use as a tester for stain colors. I wasn’t sure how the stain would turn out her the red wood so I tested out a few different colors. Ultimately I liked the way the Minwax Weathered Oak stain looked, and for a little darker look, I liked the Minwax Special Walnut stain. I started with the Weathered Oak all over the posts because I figured I could always go darker if i didn’t like it. I ended up leaving it with Weathered, which is what you see in the picture. 

I did go back over it with a rag soaked in Special Walnut to darken it up a tiny bit later that day, and tried to do it as lightly as i could so I would get the best of both worlds and I love the way it looks.

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Digging the holes for the posts wasn’t the easiest process because of the land i was digging into, but i got the job done!


I purchase a white Clematas vine from Home Depot to pot at the bottom, and still have plans to find an old antique wagon wheel for the vine to grow on as well 🙂

I did see the cutest wagon wheel at michaels, i will link that here if antique hunting isn’t your thing 🙂

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