THE OUTDOOR ENCLOSURE
The corners have 4x4 cedar posts. Cedar is toxic to reptiles but in this application I am not concerned. Exposure will be minimal in an open air setting versus used as bedding in an environment used 24/7. If the birds start chewing on it...I will consider it a problem. There are 3 layers of the rounded 4x4's at ground level and the mesh used is chicken wire but I would advise all to find a different wire. This was not my choice of material. There is a 4 inch layer of gravel topped with my vegetable garden soil.
THE WATER FEATURE
The base is a preformed pond that I have drilled a couple of small holes into. It is held in place by a garden edger with gravel underneath it. Therefore it drains slowly thoughout the day and I refill it. I have done it this way mostly to accommodate the birds. Electric wires + birds = disaster! The feature is only about 6 inches deep and likely in the range of 20 gallons. It is also sufficient moisture to water the vegetables and plants.
There are a variety of garden plants used: spiderwort (be careful of "worts" some are toxic), fern (ditto on the ferns though most are safe), thyme, lemon thyme, a miniature rose, violets, hibiscus and english lavender. These have been growing in our gardens for years so I didn't have to worry about pesticides or fertillizers.
The lava rock is there to help condition toe nails but the steps they are placed on are areas that water accumulates and will absorb it so it doesn' stagnate.
Garden selections would include: string beans, kidney beans, musclix mix, leaf lettuce, spinach (a couple), strawberries, sunflowers, turnip.
Weeds: dandelion, wild carrot.
There is a clematis in the background. ****Clematis are poisonous. The birds have had no interest in tasting it.
It is a very versitile area. When under 75 degrees, it is a great place for the chinchillas to exercise. When the nights are above 68, a place for the hedgie to stretch his legs. Four of the five birds can spend time if the temp is above 75~ not sturdy enough for Jack the Brat. Also, suitable for some of the reptiles: the blue tongue, the beardies. Many of my reptiles are too freaked out by being out there...so I don't stress them and take them. ie. even on our hottest day it would be 20 degrees lower than the mali would appreciate.
Click here: Safe Plants
Click here: GROW A VEGETABLE GARDEN FOR YOUR BIRDS & REPTILES ~Arizona style