Make a container from anything that can hold water.
Some materials are superior to others. This includes metal, stone, ceramics, and fiberglass.
Some people make container ponds from plastic buckets or bowls. Plastic can become brittle when exposed to the elements and may not last for as long. Hardwood barrel ponds can also be good as long as they are made from hardwood. Softwoods tend to rot more easily.
Jane Beedle’s container pond is an old agricultural water trough given to her by a farmer friend. Jane’s Garden is open for Faversham Open Gardens & Garden Market Day on 25th June 2023.
Choosing something that will last through the harshest winters is also important. It’s not a good idea to have it crack and break after an unexpected freezing.
Jane Beedle created her container pond using a galvanized agricultural trough. They are available now on Amazon. Jane Beedle was given one second-hand by a farmer friend.
Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. See disclosure.
You can watch the video below to learn how to create a pot pond.
How deep should the container ponds be?
It’s hard to say, but in a drought, shallow ponds may dry out faster. This could harm the plants and wildlife that live in the pond.
If you don’t want to encourage mosquitoes, choose a container that is at least 12″ deep. If you live in an area where mosquitoes can be a problem for your health and spread dangerous diseases, it is important to check local laws or recommendations.
Even very shallow water can cause a baby or toddler to drown. So, no matter how deep or shallow the mini-pond, it must be kept out of reach from children.
This mini pond at the St Mungo’s show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, designed by Cityscapes, has a grid across the top. It’s a brilliant safety measure – young children can fall into even the smallest ponds.
Can I get mosquitoes in my mini-pond?
Mosquitos prefer shallow, stagnant waters. Your pond should be deeper than 12 inches. A pond pump will help keep the water moving.
Keeping fish in a pond or creating a garden that is friendly to wildlife are also ways to discourage mosquitoes. Install a bat box. Bats, in particular, eat thousands of mosquitoes a night.
Jane hates mosquitoes, so she is installing a pump in her pond and buying some fish. I’ve relied on bat-boxes and wildlife-friendly strategies. It works most of the time, but we did have mosquitoes during the hot summer last year.
Where should I place my container ponds?
It is best to place a mini-pond in partial shade or sun. You should not put your mini pond in the most sunny or shady part of the Garden.
You can still be flexible. Eight years ago, I made an in a barrel. The pond is in a shaded part of my Garden. It has worked well. The Garden was very easy to maintain.
Before you purchase your mini-pond, you should decide on the location. This will affect the shape that you select.
Jane realized when she was deciding where to put her container pond in the Garden, that there is a large barbeque rarely used on one side. She knew that she wanted to find a long, thin shape that would fit in that space.
Before filling it, position your pond! Once it’s full, you won’t be moving it.
I created this container pond in my own Garden eight years ago. It’s in a fairly shady spot but has been fine.
Fill your pond before you start…
You can add a layer of gravel at the bottom and then rocks, stones, or bricks for different levels of water. It helps the wildlife get out of your pond. This allows you to plant more pond plants, as different aquatic plants require different levels.
Don’t add soil. Add soil to water only if you want it to grow algae.
Fill the container pond ideally with rainwater or water from a water tank. Tap water contains chemicals.
Jane did not have rainwater, so she used a hose to fill her trough. She waited a few days for the chemicals to evaporate before she planted. Jane warns: ‘Don’t use water from a water-softener.’ It’s too salty.
After you have placed your pond in the desired location, add some gravel and rocks at the bottom to create different levels. Jane filled it with tap water, but rainwater is best.
How to set up a container-sized pond
Jane was disappointed by the limited selection of aquatic plants available in most garden centers. She ordered her pond plant online.
Different plants grow at different water levels. When buying plants, make sure to check the depth of water that they will be happy in.
Plant marginal plants in shallow water. Place a brick into the pond and then place the marginal plant in its pot on top of the brick.
You can place plants that prefer deeper water at the bottom.
Some plants must be submerged completely in water. They include oxygenating plants that will keep your water clean. The plants are sold in bundles that have weights attached to prevent them from floating.
Thompson & Morgan, a plant seller, estimates that four to five bunches are needed per square meter of surface water. They do grow, so even if there aren’t enough oxygenating plants in the water, eventually they will fill it.
Place the pots between rocks or stones to hold them in place. Check the level of water that they require before placing them into the pond.
Do pond plants require compost?
Compost is not suitable for ponds because it will upset the balance of nutrients.
Aquatic compost is available in specialist shops. The aquatic compost is then placed in a basket with mesh sides so that it doesn’t float. Plants can be placed in the basket.
Jane and I both have simply placed our pond plants in the water using the baskets that came with them. They are growing well.
Jane’s Garden is open for Faversham Open Gardens & Garden Market Day, 25th June 2023
Jane’s Garden is one of the 21 gardens that will be open at Faversham Garden Market & Open Gardens on June 25th, 2023. In the historic Market Place, there’s a Garden Market, which includes plants, gardenia antiques, artworks, and much more.
Faversham makes for a lovely day trip. The town is just over an hour away from London and boasts 400+ Listed Buildings. It also has the best-preserved Medieval Street in the UK.
Tickets are PS6 for one or PS10 per couple (to see all 21 gardens). You can purchase them online at the Faversham Society or on the 25th of June in the Market Place.
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