How To Build A Small Garden Pond From A Container?

Ponds are the best. Who doesn’t love a wide expanse of water, home to all sorts of pond dwelling creatures? But if you have a tiny garden you may be limited on space. Why not learn how to build a small garden pond from a container?

You get all the benefits of a pond, but you will have it on a much smaller scale, so it will be easier to maintain than a large pond.

How To Build A Small Garden Pond From A Container?

If you have a small garden, or one in which you cannot sink a pond, you may want to look into having a small container pond.

These can be just as fruitful and as beautiful as a larger pond; you just need to plan it properly and make sure you have picked the right spot for it.

Building a small container pond is very easy; let’s look a little deeper into the ways you can do this…

  1. You can use just about any container you like, from large plant pots, half barrels, or even livestock feed or water buckets.
  2. Avoid any containers that are made with BPAs or PFAS, as these types of plastic will leach into the water and cause problems.
  3. Place your pond in an area that receives at least 6 hours of partial sun per day. Remember that a small amount of water will heat up quickly, so you don’t want it in full sun.
  4. Add aquarium grade gravel to the bottom of your container, or use half an inch of gravel on top of half an inch of soil.
  5. Choose the right pond plants. Your plants should cover 25-75% of the pond’s surface, to allow enough oxygenation.
  6. If you fill your container with tap water, allow it to sit for a couple of days before you plant any plants.
  7. Test the water quality regularly, and you should change 25-50% of the water around every month, to keep everything at its healthiest.
  8. Add a solar pump to keep the water moving and prevent beasties laying their eggs in the water. This is not absolutely necessary, but it can help.

If you like a visual instruction, check out this short film that tells you everything you need to know about creating a really lovely, simple pond from a small container:


Does A Container Pond Need A Pump?

Because container ponds are generally pretty small, they don’t usually need a pump, especially if they contain only plants.

However, if you notice that the water is becoming discoloured then you can get hold of a small sponge filter.

If you have fish in your pond you will likely need a pump, otherwise the fish won’t get enough air and their excrement can make the water dirty.

You probably won’t have enough space in your small container pond for fish though, and even if you do you won’t be able to fit many of them!

Pond plants generally provide a lot of oxygen to the water, and these are a great choice for a container pond.

They do still need oxygen though, so if they are starting to look a little sick then maybe investing in a small pump is a good idea.

A solar powered pump is a great option, as this will aerate the water and prevent issues like mosquitos laying their eggs in it.

If your pond is large enough to hold fish, you may wish to invest in mosquito fish, which will happily eat mosquito larvae!

How Deep Does A Container Pond Need To Be?

You may be imagining a massive lake, deep and wide enough to float a boat across – but the truth is you don’t actually need that much water to make a container pond!

If you can find a container that has a minimum 60cm diameter and a depth of 40cm, you can create a container pond.

All you need is 30cm of water in order to grow plants; this amount of water will not be enough for fish, but you can create a gorgeous pond with this amount of water.

You can, of course, go for larger and deeper ponds – but the above dimensions are really the smallest you should go when you are planning your container pond.

If you make your pond any shallower, it runs the risk of evaporating in the hottest sun, or of freezing solid and killing your plants during the colder months.

For a larger pond that contains plants and fish and other wildlife, 2 ft deep  is the minimum – but container ponds can be much shallower.

How Do You Keep A Small Pond Clean?

Small ponds, the type that can’t contain too many plants or any fish, are in danger of becoming pretty murky pretty soon.

However, you can easily keep your container pond clean if you follow a few simple steps:

  1. Get used to a little bit of algae or discolouration. This is normal in any pond, and your container pond is no exception.
  2. Bring in more plants. A wide variety of plants can help to combat certain types of algae.
  3. Invest in a solar pump. This small, unobtrusive little pump will aerate the water and bring oxygen to the environment, thus helping the overall look of your pond.
  4. Change the water regularly. Changing the old dirty water for clean will help the environment of your small pond pond. You can also invest into pond vacuum.
  5. You shouldn’t have to change the whole lot every week, but swapping over up to 50% of the water every month or so will help to keep your pond as healthy as it can be.

Final Words

How to build a small garden pond from a container doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s pretty darn simple, as you can now see!

Create your own water world, and encourage local wildlife to enjoy it too – this is one garden decision that you will never regret.

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