How To Make A Small Water Feature

Gardening Tips
Water Features

Water adds a new dimension to any garden and this small water feature is the ideal place to grow miniature water lilies 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.


• Do it: April – June

• At its best: June – September

• Takes just: an afternoon

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

How to do it

  1. 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 the tin bath, you may not need the bricks.
  2. 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.
  3. Fill in around the roots with more compost, firming as you go, and 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Pond plants you can use in the small patio type pond

Aquatic plants ensure the small patio pond is pleasing and interesting.

Include at least one flowering plant.

The following pond plants will do well in this small confined environment.

  • Pygmy water lilies
  • Hardy oxygenating plants (Canadian Pondweed and Hornwort are good examples)
  • Floating plants (water lettuce) and if you create a shallow section try some bog, or marginal rather tall accent plants (rushes, reeds, cattails).

Don’t forget to top up the water during warm weather.