How to Build a Small Garden Pond from a Container Step-by-Step

Creating a small garden pond is fun and easy, but there are a few things you’ll need to make it happen.

The first step is to find a container that will fit your needs. The best options are fiberglass and plastic, which will hold up against the elements and resist corrosion.

Next, decide on a suitable location. The location should have good access, but not be too close to a fence or wall and, ideally, it should also have some sunlight.

This is important because partial sun exposure is necessary to maintain the health of the plants. However, you don’t want to sit in full sunlight all day.

Ideally, you’ll want a location with four to six hours of daylight. You’ll need to treat the water to remove any chemicals and to reach the desired pH level.

Besides the obvious, you’ll need to choose plants that will keep the pond clean and oxygenate the water. Aside from aquatic plants, you’ll also want to add some native, marginal plants. These provide cover and perches for wildlife, and help to keep the water clear. Some examples include Marsh Marigold, whorled water-milfoil, lesser spearwort, and water forget-me-not.

The flimsy old container you might have in your basement or garage could work as a pond. However, you’ll want to make sure that it’s watertight. This can be achieved with a heavy-gauge plastic bag or a pond liner. You can also use a barrel-type container, but be sure to seal all the edges.

The pond must be deep enough to accommodate your chosen aquatic plants. You can add gravel to the bottom of the pond to help with this. Alternatively, you can use collected rainwater. But be aware that this is not a replacement for tap water. You’ll also need to treat the pond’s water to achieve the desired hardness.

The pond should also have rocks, as well as a few decorative ones. These can act as stepping stones or risers for potted plants. Decorative stones also help to create a smooth transition between the pond and the surrounding yard. This is a great way to attract wildlife and to prevent grass from taking over the space.

You should also make sure that you have all the right tools on hand. This includes a small pond liner, an underlayment, and a sump hole. If you don’t have these, you can get a preformed plastic liner or a heavy-gauge plastic bag. The latter is cheaper, but you should be careful to ensure that it’s securely in place before filling the pond with water.

The underlayment is an important component because it will protect the pond’s liner from rocks and roots. You can get this free from carpet installers, or you can purchase it from a pond supply company. The commercial underlayment is a synthetic cloth. You should be able to order 50 x 100-ft. pieces from most suppliers.

The pond has its own ecosystem, which will grow and evolve over time. You should be mindful of which plants and animals you introduce into the pond. You don’t want to end up with invasive species or disease-carrying animals. You should also choose plants that will attract pollinators and other wildlife.