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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kay

Building a container wildlife pond

Whilst spending so much time in my own garden this Spring during lockdown, I started thinking about how I could improve the biodiversity and attract wildlife into my small urban space. The most common suggestion was a pond, which should encourage frogs, newts, dragonflies and other insects into the garden.

As I only have a very small space available in the gravel area of my garden I decided that a container pond would be the best solution.

Here's the steps to building it:

  1. Choose a container

I chose a vintage zinc bath, which are readily available on ebay for between £50 - £100. I opted for one that claimed to be watertight, although I did also waterproof it using a clear waterproofing sealant.

2. Choose position

I choose a part of the garden which gets a few hours sun in the mornings but is not in full sun all day and dug down around 100mm.

3. Fill with gravel

Fill with clean pea gravel. We had some old hardcore pieces that we had dug out with we used to create a bank on one side. The wooden ramps were put there temporarily to stop any creatures from get stranded inside.

4. Choose your plants

Ideally you need oxygenating plants (I choose Callitriche palustris) that will keep your water healthy, floating plants (my nursery didn't have any in stock) and marginal plants. I choose a variety of marginals including taller Pontederia cordata lancifolia and Iris pseudacorus and Acorus gramineus grass, Caltha palustris (marsh marigold) and Cotula coronopifolia. They should be planted in aquatic baskets (with aquatic compost) to control size but allow water to the roots.

I also bought a few granite setts to raise the marginal plants up and some boulders to create ramps for creatures to use to get in and out of the pond.

5. Fill with water

Use rainwater or water butt water only and see what creatures your pond attracts. It is really important not to import anything from another pond (frogspawn etc) as this can spread disease. Remove any leaves or debris that falls in the pond and over time the pond should clear and create it's own ecosystem.

Now just sit back and enjoy!


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