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How to Make a 5-Minute Pond to Pretty Up a Flower Bed

Enchantment! A pond peeks through a flower bed.

Enchantment! A pond peeks through a flower bed.

Make an Eye-Catching Pond Using a Lid

Most people love ponds, and in this article, I'm going to discuss how to make a pond in five minutes. This may seem unbelievable, but please, continue reading. Adding a small pond doesn't have to be a drawn-out, all-day undertaking.

What You'll Need

  1. Small spot in your flower bed: You need to know where you want your pond to be.
  2. Round plastic or rubber container lid: The lid you choose should have some depth so that it holds a decent amount of water. And, of course, the size of your pond will depend on the size of the lid.
  3. Level: To check that your lid is even once you place it in the ground.

My daughter came up with this idea. We were cleaning up around our property, and she discovered an old lid. We looked for the can, but it was missing. We figure it had probably cracked and had been tossed out. Instead of discarding the lid, we decided to try to upend it and use it to make a small garden pond. It had a good-sized rim and was about two feet across and about four to six inches deep.


Before you begin, place your lid upside down on the ground and fill it with water to test that it doesn't leak.

When to Start the Project

It's best to do this in early spring so that you do not disturb bulbs and flowers in your garden bed.

A big plus of installing a pond in an established flower bed is that you will be working with soil that should be easier to dig in, instead of hard ground that may be matted over with roots, so creating a depression to place your lid in should take minutes.

If your flowerbed is already established, spring is a good time to dig about, while plants are largely dormant.

If you decide to make your pond later in the season, and your bed is crowded with plants, it is best to dig these out and place them in water before transplanting them back near the finished pond.

How to Make a Flower Bed Pond

If you have a lid or other container you plan on using, and you are ready to begin, follow the tips below.

  1. Clear out any plants that may be in the way and set them aside.
  2. Place your lid right-side up on the spot where you desire your pond. Stand back and do a visual to check that the pond is where you want it to be.
  3. Make a circle in the soil by pressing the lid down into the soil, pressing around the edge so that when you lift the lid away, you now have the circumference of your pond marked in the soil. If the soil is harder, you may need to run a knife around the lid to mark your circle.
  4. Remove soil using a small hand shovel, a regular shovel, or even a hoe. Remove the soil inside the marked circle and deposit it nearby or into some type of container for later use.
  5. Turn lid over so that the lip now faces upward and place it into the hole. If necessary dig out more soil around the edge until the lid sits evenly in the hole. Make sure that the rim of the lid does not protrude above the ground. The lid should be placed so that the rim is level with the ground or slightly lower.
  6. Make sure it's level because even a small slope could mean water drains out of the lid. If desired, place an actual level across the lid to ensure that it is situated as desired.
  7. Tamp soil around edge of container to seat pond using some of the excess soil and tamp it around the edges of the lid so that it is secured to the spot.
  8. Edge with flat stones. You want your pond to look as natural as possible. You can wait for plants to grow over the rim and down and into the water but a quicker route is to find some flat stones and place them around the lid edge to conceal it. Add soil between stones, so as to encourage plant growth. At this stage, your lid will start to look like an actual pond.
  9. Add plants. Fill in any bare spots with plants around the edge. It's a good idea to use perennials, so that they come each year and help to fill in the pond area.
  10. Fill pond. Now for the fun part! Fill your pond with water. And spray area to rinse any dirt off of rocks and to help moved plants to reestablish. Now stand back and enjoy. You've just created a wonderful water feature for your flower bed.
This pond was as easy as digging a small hole, upending and positioning the lid, and filling it with water.

This pond was as easy as digging a small hole, upending and positioning the lid, and filling it with water.

Why Make a Pond in a Flower Bed?

Your pond will not only add beauty to your garden bed but this shallow water source will also provide a welcome haven for birds and other small creatures on hot summer days. It is a good idea to place a small rock or two into the water to provide perching areas. Birds may come down to drink or bath or may need a spot where it's shady to rest and cool off. Placing rocks or even some type of branch in your pond guards against birds' accidental drowning, if, for some reason, they can't get back out.

We've finished making the pond; now we're just waiting for the garden to fill in.

We've finished making the pond; now we're just waiting for the garden to fill in.

As Natural as Can Be

A distinct advantage of placing a pond in an established flower bed is that within days or weeks, it will look as natural as can be, as your garden plants poke their heads out of the soil. My bed was filled with perennials so I knew when I installed this pond that it would soon blend into its surroundings.

I couldn't wait for everything to "green up" and I nabbed some blooming bulbs growing in my yard and moved some other flowering plants around the pond.

Low Maintenance

A shallower pond like this really does not require cleaning. Rain tends to take care of matters. Each spring, I remove any leaves and when I have the garden hose handy, I will run the water in the pond to flush it and clear the water.

Every couple of years, you may choose to lift out the lid to rinse it out or to re-seat it.

Advantage of Using Watertight Containers

The great thing about using any waterproof container is that you don't have to worry about using heavy plastic or a pond liner. For smaller ponds, this scenario is ideal.

Ideas for Other Containers That Could Be Used for Ponds

I found that after I created this first pond, I was hooked, and I started thinking about other containers that might serve for this purpose. Any round or square or rectangular shallower container could easily do double-duty as a pond.

  • Plastic storage containers
  • A large glass pie plate
  • A ceramic bowl

I have never had problems with my rubber lid cracking over winter. If using other materials, it might be an idea to either try a tester and see how it fares over winter or at end of season, allow your pond to go dry and then cover it for the winter months.

One consideration is that you want to use something that won't rust.

A Word About Color

I don't care for those dark black pond liners and it pays to consider the look of your finished pond and choose wisely. If you want a lighter pond, you might opt for a lid or container color other than black. White or blue may be better choices. If you are planning on adding colored glass pebbles, a white background would offer a better contrast. Blue would help to make your water color more natural looking. Plastic and ceramic comes in great colors, which are far more appealing than, what to me, is sinister-looking black.

Reducing Water Depth

As touched on, when creating a pond, consider the safety of any creatures that may stop by to either drink or bathe. If seeking to reduce water depth, white sand or colored glass stones could be used for the bottom. These would also add to the look of your pond.

Rocks inside the pond allow for perching areas

Rocks inside the pond allow for perching areas

Other Ideas for the Pond

In the Pond

  • Water lilies: Artificial pond flowers can add a nice spot of color to your pond.
  • Floating duck: If your pond is a bit larger, why not add a "swimming" creature to float in the breeze?

Around the Pond

  • Waterfall: You may choose to add a small waterfall to your pond. These can be created by stacking rocks and placing a hose to trickle water into your pond. Even if you don't always have water running over the rocks, they will still add a natural-looking visual element to your pond.
  • Waterwheel: If you can find one, this would create a bit of whimsy.
  • Small creatures: Why not add some small forest animals or even gnomes around your pond? Garden centers offer a variety.

An Idea That Transformed My Flower Bed

Thinking outside the box opened a world of opportunity for me. I hope this idea fires your imagination to do likewise, and that you are inspired to create an enchanting pond in your garden.

A spot of enchantment in the garden

A spot of enchantment in the garden

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Athlyn Green


ila ossmen on April 13, 2020:

any way to get rid of wasp

Athlyn Green (author) from West Kootenays on May 16, 2012:

Hi Moonlake,

A pond is such a lovely addition to a yard. We used to have mallards come up from the lake and swim in our pond. Thank you for the vote.

moonlake from America on April 29, 2012:

Great idea for a small pond. Our son had a very small pond not much bigger than that. I was surprised at the frogs that used the pond. Voted Up.