A garden pond is more than just an ornamental addition to your garden. They are also key to sustaining wildlife in your habitat, so while you want something which looks great, it also has to be practical.
But the good news is that you can make one at any budget, size, or in any area. There are a few key pointers – it must stay as clean as possible and wildlife must be able to get in and out – but apart from this, you’re pretty free to make it your own.
Below are some ideas if you’re stuck for inspiration. They have various designs, shapes, sizes and requirements, but every single one can be recreated by you.
The Best DIY Pond Ideas
Dig a hole, line it, surround it with stones and other platforms for accessibility and then you are good to go. They can be a lot of hard work but will provide a constant focal point and wildlife will thrive.
Rajul Shah from thesmallgardener.co.uk made this pond using a hole, some underlay, a liner, and water of course. The shallow, sloping edge at the front is perfect for wildlife getting in and out, and the plants are perfect for making a habitat and keeping everything aerated. There’s also a solar-powered fountain for keeping the water fresh.
The above pond uses plants and other vegetation to create an entire ecosystem for wildlife. Bugs and other animals can live in the plants, and dip into the pond when they need to, but there are plenty of floating plants too so flies can land and drink.
Need your garden to be paved over? No problem. Leaving an area for your pond, and surrounding the pond with edging, is still great and you have enough opportunity for water-friendly plants.
This pond has dirt edging, again to be wildlife-friendly to a range of critters. The large rocks give animals a place to perch and there is plenty of scope for them to come up out of the water too.
The above pond is surrounded by vegetation, giving not only plenty of opportunity for bugs and wildlife to live, but it also keeps the pond relatively sheltered which will help in sunny, hot weather.
This pond uses a more structured shape in the lawn, surrounded by a brick edging. It is at the corner of the garden, to give an opportunity for shelter and plants, and there are rocks so animals can get in and out.
A pond which gives you a nice break between a path or patio, and the grass. The multiple levels mean easy access, too.
The Best Container Ponds
These will use some form of container which you fill with water, and then you have to build up everything around it for access. It can be easier than digging into the ground and lining your pond, and cheaper too, but you have to ensure it isn’t too deep for wildlife.
This pond uses an old metal bucket made watertight by lining. The lily pads on the top are the perfect surface for bugs and flies to land on, and they can get in and out using the rocks at the side.
The Middle Sized Garden has talked about making a pond in an old barrel container. They bought a half-barrel online, and then added oxygenating plants, aquatic compost and gravel
They note that the most important thing to think about when you have a raised container pond is access – try to put it near a higher part in the garden, such as a raised bed or sitting area.
You don’t have to buy anything to use. If you’re renovating your house, use an old sink or even the bathtub to make the base of your pond! You can even ask around on local buying sites or social media pages to see if anyone is getting rid of theirs.
The Wise House used an old butler’s sink. They just sealed up the plug holes with silicon, before adding stones and gravel to the base, oxygenating plants around the edges and logs/sticks around the edges to act as ramps for easier access. They then made the entire area around the pond into a perfect wildlife haven.
Vertical Veg just used a plain old basin, more commonly seen in sinks for washing dishes. The washing up bowl was surrounded by large stones for easier access, and filled with rainwater, gravel and plants.
These basins can be bought for just a few pounds in hardware stores, supermarkets and online. The great thing about something so simple is that even if you live in a flat or have a tiny garden, a basin pond will still attract wildlife such as flies (the good kind!).
Even something like an old garden trug can be used, as long as it is watertight, as demonstrated by Growing Healthy Kids. They ensured there was enough in the bucket to make it safe, as shown above. If you’re stuck for a vessel to use, ask around old builders yards or even garden centres in case they have any going spare.
This pond again just uses an old metal tub. The lilies on the surface are a great landing pad, and it is minimal so doesn’t look too obvious in your garden.
This old metal tub has been designed with trailing plants as access, as opposed to stones or wood. Ideal if you want a raised pond and your garden is otherwise quite bare.
The Best Grand Ponds
Don’t want something basic and want to instead make your pond a real focus of your garden? Maybe you want to add fish rather than focusing on wildlife?
A large pond with a fountain in the middle for aeration. The grass is left unpruned at the edge to keep it as an ecosystem but the rocks make a good path for bugs.
A huge pond, but as you can see the edges are quite shallow to make it wildlife-friendly for more than just bugs – great if you have hedgehogs, deer or other larger mammals visiting.
The Pond Digger have a tutorial on how to make a koi pond. There is still some chance for wildlife to thrive around the pond, and it is a great overall focus point in your outdoor area.
This is another koi pond on a smaller scale. The running water keeps everything circulating, and the surrounding bark and plants are a separate ecosystem.
You probably don’t have a garden this large, but it could be replicated on a smaller scale. Large rocks can keep curious mammals away from deeper sections.
This water garden has been taken over by their pond. The floating plants in pots are great to allow animals to get in and out, whether it is frogs or hedgehogs. The running water trickling down the steps also makes for a peaceful sound.
The above garden pond is a true focal point, raised above the ground and with a viewing window at one side so you can see the fish and other inhabitants clearly.