How to Make a Container Pond

Updated February 21, 2017

A container pond is a easy way to try your hand at water gardening. It's also a much less expensive proposition than building an entire backyard pond to find out that you don't really like it that much. A container pond is exactly what the name implies - a complete, functioning pond ecosystem built inside a container such as a ceramic pot or old whiskey barrel. Because of their small size, they're also perfect for apartment dwellers who don't have the room for a traditional in-ground pond. Making a container pond is a project simple enough to complete in one afternoon, yet it will brighten your garden spot for months to come.

Get a container. What you use is only limited by your imagination. Popular choices for container ponds are whiskey barrels sawn in half and oversized plant pots. Remember that if you plan on stocking your container pond with fish, you will need to ensure that you have a large enough container for them to move around and for water to circulate. For that purpose, the whiskey barrels work well.

Line the container with the pond liner, making sure you press it down against the bottom and sides. Trim off the excess at the edge of the container, leaving about six inches. Remove the liner.

Apply waterproof glue to the sides and bottom of your container. This will help to secure the liner. If you're constructing the pond in a wooden container, you can use a staple gun and heavy duty staples to secure the edges along the rim of the barrel. Trim off any excess liner.

Fill the container pond with water. Add a decholorinator.

Add plants. Remember that you're planting a container pond and don't have as much room as you would with a full-sized pond. Thus, water lillies are probably not a good option. Stick with tall grasses and smaller plants.

Add a fountain or water feature. Adjust the spray so that water isn't leaking outside of the container.

Add any fish. Remember that space is limited, so larger-sized koi will quickly outgrow your pond. Try smaller goldfish or lionfish. Snails are also good pond residents because they eat the algae that grows on the sides.


Be sure to locate your container pond in an area that gets some shade. This helps keep the water temperature down, allowing it to hold plenty of oxygen.


Always use a GFCI outlet when working with water and electricity.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Scissors
  • Pond liner
  • Water
  • Dechlorinator
  • Plants
  • Fish
  • Fountain or water feature
  • GFCI outlet
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.