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How to make a mini-pond

You will need

  • 1 tin bath or other large container
  • Waterproof sealant, 6 bricks
  • 3 medium planting baskets, 4 litres aquatic compost
  • 6 assorted aquatic plants plus 2 oxygenating plants
  • Washed pea gravel
  • Large feature stone, a little taller than the height of the container
Do it: April - June
At its best: June - September
Takes just: an afternoon


Water adds a new dimension to any garden and our pond-in-a-pot is the ideal place to grow miniature waterlilies and other small aquatic plants. This idea is quick and easy to make and requires minimal care. The larger the container, the more impressive the display, although it's best to limit yourself to one or two well-chosen types of plant. Use too many and your pond will quickly become cluttered.

How to do it


Thoroughly clean the tin bath or your chosen container and seal any drainage holes with silicone. Place the bricks around the container's edges, ready to raise the plants to the right level. If you're using a shallower container than our tin bath, you may not need the bricks.


Knock the aquatic plants from their pots. Put a layer of aquatic compost in the bottom of the planting basket and position the plants. Each basket should accommodate two or three plants.


Fill in around the roots with more compost, firming as you go, then water thoroughly to settle the compost. Top it off with a layer of pea gravel across the surface. Plant each of the baskets this way.


Fill the container two-thirds with water. Carefully lower the baskets into the water, standing them on the bricks. If you're viewing the pond from one direction, place the taller plants at the back; if viewing it from all sides, place in the centre.


When you're happy with the arrangement of the plants, top up the level of the water to around 2cm - 3cm below the rim of the container. Adding a stone to the pond that just breaks the surface of the water gives birds a landing platform from which to take a drink.

Our tip

Your mini pond will be difficult to move when full of water, so plant it up in situ.

Add a couple of oxygenating plants to help aerate the pond and limit algal growth.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to make a mini-pond
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catbells 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Great idea - my garden is too small for anything larger.

bramble123 24/11/2011 at 15:27

great idea i am definitely going to try this ! thanks for the idea.

fizzlefix 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Awesome, I cant wait to try this out in the garden. :-) thank you

br00ks1d3 24/11/2011 at 15:27

good idea. but i've been given a 3 tier fountain and i would like to set it up.can you give me any advice please?

kaycurtis 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have two small ponds one of which is in a half barrel with water lilies, it was lovely last year but had to clean it up this year, the other in a big plastic tub which also lovely but needed a pump, worked well when the sun was out but useless any other time, I had fish in this little pond but they succumed to cats and a rat, leaving the pond ransid so no more fish for me but I will continue with the water feature, for birds to drink from and insects and frogs can frequent.

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