Creating an oasis in the home garden need not be an expensive venture. Sure, as with most things these days, it can be as extravagant as the purse strings allow. Multi level ponds cascade into waterfalls and reservoirs. Pumps and fountains create beautiful spouts and fountains to entertain the eye of the beholder. With the multitude of pre fabricated plastic or fibreglass ponds and liners at the beck and call of the consumer it is easy to get carried away with it all. Instead the intent of this article is to briefly describe how to build a simple garden water feature at low cost. All it takes is a small dose of ingenuity and a little manual labour and soon you will have a peaceful corner in your garden to sit and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
The first step is to locate a suitable receptacle for the water of your pond. Something at least thirty centimetres or about twelve inches deep is required if you envisage keeping a few fish in your new pond. Old bathtubs make a fantastic base for a water feature and can be picked up for next to nothing or indeed at no cost. Just use a little initiative and check your local resources, Tip shops, Recycling centres. Online resources such as free cycle groups and flea markets are also extremely helpful for locating odd bits and pieces you may need for a project such as this.
I was lucky enough to get an old tub from a neighbour who was about to throw it to the junk heap. It came complete with a few extra holes to compliment the one we put the plug in! A quick rub back with some sandpaper and the application of a little fibreglass here and there soon fixed that though. This leads us to the next step. If you are using a bath, the drain hole will need to be plugged. You can complete this easily enough by simply placing a tight fitting plug or bung into the opening. If you are skilled in the handy man arts, sealing the tubs drain with some fibreglass and resin will result in a more permanent solution to the problem. With our vessel now watertight we can move on to the next step.
The location of a new water feature is an important consideration. Ideally a semi shaded area of the garden is required. Somewhere that does not get full attention from the sun’s rays. Under an established tree or a position on the western side of your dwelling are suitable locations. Ultimately the choice is yours. Existing or future plantings can provide the necessary shade required for your pond to flourish.
It’s now time to work up a sweat! Mark out the area you wish to place your water feature if you intend to sink it into the earth. Excavating an inch or two of depth will be necessary to keep your pond stable at the very least. On the example pictured the decision was made to sink the pond into the ground to about half the depth of the tub. The reasoning behind this was purely related to the hard rock surface found about six inches under the top soil. If wanting a more natural looking effect it would be ideal to have the bathtub sitting at ground level. Pond height rests with the designer in the end. Pots can be placed around the feature, earth can be mounded around or rocks placed to produce many different effects on the final product.
So your new water feature is seated in its final position, you have back filled the edges and now it’s starting to look like something. The hard work is over. Grab the hose and place it in your new pond, turn it on, take a seat and have a cool drink while it fills up. You deserve it. Now the fun begins. Landscaping your new feature, it’s time to make it fit in to the design of your existing garden. Depending on your landscape design you might want to strategically place some rocks, plant some low growing creepers that will help cover up the enamel of the bath over time. The choices are limited only by your imagination. Place a few bricks or flat rocks in the water to sit aquatic plants on. Your local nursery will be able to help you out with plants suitable for in, and around your new water feature. Solar powered fountains are available at very little cost in hardware stores or online shops. They eliminate the need for wires and fittings which are both costly and fiddly to install.
One last point, if you intend on putting fish in your pond. Wait at least one week before introducing your underwater friends. The water needs to settle and develop into a suitable medium for your fish to live in. Fish will need feeding in the beginning, but as nature begins to take control of the pond its inhabitants will become self sufficient in their environment. Over the course of time your landscaping efforts will grow and evolve and soon enough you will become oblivious to the fact there is a bathtub hiding under all that lush greenery. You now have your own private oasis to relax with a book or a coffee by, listening to the soothing sounds of moving water.