Lockdown DIY: Creating a Small Garden Pond from Recycled Materials
One of the best ways to help wildlife in your garden is to create a pond. This provides a habitat for freshwater plants and insects, or even fish and frogs. As a keen aquarist, I’ve longed for a pond since buying our first home a couple of years ago, but with only a small lawn mostly dominated by my toddlers, creating my own wetland masterpiece wasn’t really practical. But when Newcastle-under-Lyme Council announced a change to their kerbside recycling, introducing a wheelie bin and leaving my three large recycling boxes without a job, an idea struck.
Why not repurpose these generously-sized containers into the garden pond I’ve always wanted? First, I used some old paving slabs to create a flat, level base, then set about arranging my boxes into position. I’ve chosen to sit my boxes on the patio, creating a raised pond, but you could also dig a hole in a lawn and sink them into the ground.
I could have used just one box for a small water feature, but I felt ambitious and decided to link all three into one pond. So I measured and cut some notches (using a handsaw) to allow water to flow between them. I’m going to line these boxes with waterproof material, but decided to seal the little drainage holes in the bottom just as an extra precaution against any leaks.
Next, I held the boxes together using some strong tape. I’ve also positioned a couple of bricks, topped off with the box offcuts to create a bit of extra support between them, as the box bases taper away from each other.
I then spread some thick plastic inside the boxes. You can buy proper pond liner, which I should probably recommend. Being impatient and thrifty and in the spirit of recycling, I used a large plastic bag which a recent delivery had arrived in. Make sure there aren’t any holes in your liner, and that the sawn edges of the boxes aren’t too sharp.
I pushed the liner into the corners of the boxes, weighted and held in place by bricks – these will also create tiers in the pond on which plants can be positioned. I then trimmed the excess, folded over the rim and fixed in place with strong tape.
And ‘ta da’ – a raised garden pond, created in about an hour with materials entirely from my garden and shed, no expense or leaving the house necessary. All that’s needed is some aquatic plants and a solar-powered water feature to really bring it to life!
You can try this with any large container – an old plant pot, a sink; be creative! If you choose to sink your pond into the ground, make sure you use pebbles to create a sloped edge for small animals to get out, and make sure it’s in a safe place if you have pets or small children.