You don’t need a large pond to get water gardening. Many pond plants will grow happily in a small watertight container. Amateur Gardening’s Kris Collins shows how to set up your own mini water garden in 5 easy steps

container water gardening

And watertight container holding more than 4 gallons of water will make an ideal container pond

1 Site your container. Sit it on bricks or slabs if placing on a soft surface. This will help create a level and also prevent the barrel from rotting in contact with the soil. Check the rim with a spirit level

water barrel

siting the container

2 Smooth out pond liner inside your container and only three quarters fill with water to leave room for the plants and their pots. Note the volume of water you add to make step 4 easier

adding pond liner

lay pond liner inside the container

3 Get the pond liner as smooth against the container sides and bottom as possible and staple or tac it in place just below the rim. Use a sharp knife to cut away the excess material

seciring pond liner

staple or tac the liner in place

4 Add a dechlorinator at the stated dose. This enables you to plant immediately. Alternatively leave the container, and a few full watering cans, to breathe for 48hrs before adding your plants to the display

dechlorinator water purifier

Add a dechlorinator for immediate planting

5 Add your plants, deepest first. Place bricks in the bottom of the container to hold shallower plants at the right level. Add oxygenators and floating plants last.

Top up with treated water to the desired water line

water container, topping up water levels

Add plants and top up to final level

Kris’ planting selection

Pontederia cordata

Sisyrinchium californicum

Equisetum hyemale

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’

Water hyacinth

Elodea crispa

Small hardy yellow water lily