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These days most of us do not have the room for a giant lake in our modest plots, nor the time to maintain a large pond. We can however compromise by making a patio pond in a container. This not only makes an attractive feature but also can bring all important wildlife into the garden. If this is something which you desire just follow the steps below.

  • Choose a suitable container. Make sure it is sturdy enough to stand up to the weather including UV light. Ideally this should be a container without drainage holes. If the container you have does have holes they will need to be sealed with a silicone sealant available from most do it yourself stores. Choose a container that is deep enough for the plants you want to put in it. For example if you wish to include water lilies they often require deeper water, whereas marginal plants require less depth.
  • Place the container in the desired position before filling with water as it may be difficult to move once filled. Choose the spot wisely as most water plants prefer a sunny or semi-shady area.
  • Ensure the container is clean first by rinsing out. You are now ready to fill your pond. If possible use rainwater to fill your container as it contains less chemicals, but we realise this is not always available. Fill your container to within a couple of inches from the top.
  • Now it is time to add pond plants. Choose varieties that are not too vigorous and likely to take over. Dwarf water lilies are nice, but if you are thinking of including a fountain then these are not ideal as they prefer still water. You may wish to include oxygenating plants that will help to prevent algae. Plants labelled as marginal are suitable for shallower pools. If the plants are not already planted in pond plant baskets you will need to do this yourself. Never use a peat based compost as this will float out into the water. You must use a specialist aquatic soil which is low in nutrients so algae is not encouraged, and is heavy enough not to float out. You should also add a layer of gravel to the top of the basket to hinder still further the mixing of the soil with the water.
  • As I mentioned earlier, different pond plants will need different depths of water. Usually these plants will be labelled with the depth required. You will need to add bricks or stones to the pond underneath each basket to raise the plant to the desired depth.
  • If you wish to encourage wildlife to the pond it is a good idea to use rocks or stones to create a series of steps to enable creatures to get in and out of the pond.

Safety – If you have children present or visiting they must be supervised at all times. Toddlers can drown in even a few inches of water. If this is likely to be a problem consider using a pond cover. Also always remember that water and electricity do not mix well, so always employ a professional electrician if you wish to add a pump or fountain if unsure.

The rattan pond kit pictured at the top of the article is available from Pondkeeper (image copyright Pondkeeper) and includes a fountain pump but excludes plants. To view the kit at Pondkeeper click here

A good range of pond plants, soil and accessories are available from Unwins. To view them click here

If you are after the easy option then you may wish to consider a patio pond kit inclusive of plants. A selection are shown below.

Mark Snelling

All items available at time of publication

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