Even the smallest garden has room for a mini pond. If there is no garden, this is by no means a reason to do without the magic of your own small pond. There are a number of imaginative ways to create such a small oasis of calm and relaxation on the balcony or terrace. A large wooden tub, an old wine barrel or a zinc tub are ideal for this purpose.
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This is how a wine barrel is transformed into a mini pond
The first step is to choose a suitable container. This can be an old wine barrel, a large wooden vat or a zinc tub. In any case, the vessel must be watertight and at least 50 cm deep.
The second important decision when creating a mini pond is to choose the location. Ideally, this should be in the semi-shade, because the blazing sun in summer promotes unwanted algae growth. In addition, the mini pond should not be placed under a tree, because the leaves in autumn quickly cover the entire surface of the water.
In the event that the vessel chosen is not waterproof, it is lined with pond liner stapled to the sides. The film should not be stretched because it could then tear. If you want a mobile pond, it is best to mount wheels under the floor. Now the design work can begin. If the bottom is covered with white decorative gravel, this creates a beautiful water color later, especially in a dark wooden barrel. Paving stones are used to create steps of different heights for the pond plants.
Plants belong in every mini pond
Pond plants that are in a plant basket can be arranged and cared for more easily in the water. The plant basket is lined with a fleece so that the substrate does not trickle out. The specialist trade offers special pond soil or granulate as a substrate. Under no circumstances is normal potting soil suitable for a mini pond, because it contains fertilizer that promotes algae growth.
The pond plants are placed in the basket, the soil is pressed down well and the layer of soil is covered with gravel. This measure prevents the substrate from being washed out. A small pond pump with a fountain should also be installed, because it ensures good oxygen supply even in a mini pond and is also nice to look at. The selected plants are now placed in the pond according to their water depth. The pond vessel can then be filled with water, rainwater being more suitable than tap water. The following pond plants are suitable for a mini-pond according to the planting stages set up, although this is only to be seen as a small overview.
Water depth up to 10 cm:
- Marsh marigold (up to 30 cm high; hardy)
- Marsh iris (up to 100 cm high; very beautiful flowers)
- Cattails (grows up to 150 cm high; hardy)
- Ball rush (height up to 120 cm; winter-proof)
Water depth up to 20 cm:
- umbellated swan blossom (50-120 cm high; flower of the year 2014)
- tall Cyprus grass (height up to 120 cm; hardy)
- Swamp sedge (growth up to 100 cm; keeps the water clean)
- Frog spoon (up to 70 cm tall; very beautiful flowers and leaves)
Water depth up to 30 cm:
- white water lily (flowers June to September; 9-12 cm large flowers)
- Arrowhead (height up to 70 cm; flowers from May to July)
- Hechtkraut (flowers June to August; grows up to 60 cm high)
- Water iris (grows up to 80 cm high; very beautiful flowers)
Water depth up to 40 cm:
- Gold Club (grows 30 cm high; blooms April to June)
- Fir fronds (height up to 30 cm; flowering from July to August)
- red water lily (planting depth up to 120 cm; flowering June to August)
- large water swaths (lush water grass; grows 80-120 cm tall)
When making your selection, it is important that the pond plants are matched to the format of the mini pond. A varied composition of smaller and larger plants is very nice, whereby you should plant the larger ones at the edge. Of course, water lilies are an absolute must for every garden pond. There are correspondingly small varieties for the mini pond, whereby the experts advise planting a maximum of 1 specimen. Overall, the rule of thumb is that you can place a maximum of 5 aquatic plants in a 2 square meter mini pond. In any case, the plant selection should include oxygenating species such as needleweed, spring water star or needle rush that grow entirely under water. Here are some important care instructions:
- check the water level, especially on hot days;
- no fertilizing, watering or loosening of the soil required;
- Thin out pond plants regularly above and below the water;
- Remove dirt to prevent algae formation;
- provide a pond filter with algae sponge;
- direct sunlight promotes algae formation;
- certain types of snails eat algae.
The mini pond gets a touch more individuality with some creative decorative elements. These include, for example, floating pond candles, colorful glass balls or romantic underwater lighting. In view of so many imaginative design options, a mini pond is also a lot of fun for the hobby gardener and the family.
Create the mini pond directly in the ground
You don’t necessarily need a large vessel to create a mini pond in the garden. This can also be set up directly in the ground. In this case, there is a little more work for the hobby gardener; but there is also greater scope for the realization of creative ideas. This is how the mini pond succeeds step by step:
- Digging the pond pit, which will later be filled with water.
- Lay paving slabs around the pond pit as a foundation for the border.
- To do this, dig 10 cm deep and lay the panels exactly horizontally.
- A barrage in the pond provides more variety in the design.
- First lay a protective fleece and then the pond liner.
- The pond liner must protrude well beyond the edge of the trough.
- The foil is creased at the corners.
- Now the pond is completely flooded and only then is the foil cut to size.
- Now the wooden border can be attached to the foundation of paving slabs.
- An additional coconut mat makes it easier to plant at the edge of the pond.
- White decorative stones around the mini pond cover the pond liner and fleece.
If you want to dig the mini pond directly into the garden soil, you must not do without the fleece under the pond liner. This protects the foil from damage caused by stones and roots.
So the water stays clear
Building a pond takes a lot of time and effort; even if it is a mini pond. What a disappointment when the water then suddenly darkens, affecting the appearance and living conditions of the entire ecosystem. If you follow a few helpful pieces of advice, you can look forward to clear and healthy water in the mini pond all year round. The greatest risk of pollution comes from algae. These can develop explosively, especially in warm temperatures. Therefore, the pond should be exposed to sunlight for a maximum of 6 to 7 hours a day. Some pond plants develop large leaves that provide additional shade for the water. It is also worth removing impurities such as leaves from the water every day. If you are not sure about the quality of the pond water, you can check it using test strips from specialist retailers. If the pH is between 6 and 7, everything is fine.
Fish also feel comfortable in the mini pondIf you want to enrich your mini pond with fish, you should be aware that these small creatures have to find certain environmental conditions in order to be able to survive. No fish should be in a mini pond that is less than 1 m deep, because they would get too little oxygen and die in a short time. However, if the small pond is deep enough, has an appropriate number of plants and a pond pump, there is nothing to prevent it from being able to offer a few fish a comfortable home. Goldfish and sticklebacks do best in a mini pond. They shouldn’t just flop into their new homes, however, but should be carefully acclimated to their new surroundings. If you follow the instructions below, you have the best chance of finding a home for some goldfish in your mini pond:
- at least one third of the pond must be in the shade;
- acquire a maximum of 2 goldfish;
- Sticklebacks are also suitable, but they are quite colourless;
- first place in the water bag in the mini pond for 2-3 hours;
- after this acclimatization period, free the fish from the bag;
- in a mini-pond you need to additionally feed fish;
- pay attention to the correct dosage of the feed in order to maintain the water quality.
Winter is a challenge for every pond and its inhabitants. Plants and fish cannot easily overwinter in every mini-pond.
How plants and fish overwinter in a mini pond
If the mini pond is less than 1 m deep, there is a risk that it will freeze over completely in winter. It is therefore advisable to let the fish hibernate in a cold-water aquarium. A large number of pond plants, such as the water lily, are not winter-hardy and should therefore move to winter quarters before the first frost. At this point at the latest it pays off to have put the pond plants in the basket or in the stocking, because they can now be moved without any problems. A garage or a conservatory are well suited for overwintering the plants. All other pond plants are freed from dead stems and other parts. If the mini pond is deeper than 1 m, fish and frost-resistant plants can overwinter outdoors if you observe the following preparatory measures.
In any case, the pond pump is stored frost-free, as are the plants that are not winter-proof. Ideal conditions for safe overwintering are created when the water is completely replaced before the first frost period. It is a good idea to take this opportunity to thoroughly clean the mini-pond and remove the mud. In principle, the fish can also hibernate under a closed ice cover, because they hibernate. However, it also makes sense to keep at least one spot in the pond free of ice. This is possible with the help of an ice preventer made of styrofoam, which is available in specialist shops. In this way, the oxygen supply for fish and plants is secured.
Under no circumstances should a frozen sheet of ice be shattered, as this would cause great damage to the entire ecosystem of the mini-pond. The fish hibernate on the bottom of the pond. The sound waves that are generated when the ice cover breaks up would not only tear them out of their hibernation, but in the worst case they would kill them on the spot. When the ice cover snows, it is advisable to clear the snow so that some light can get into the mini pond. Even if the pond does not freeze over in winter, the fish are not fed. They shut down their life functions so drastically during this time that they don’t eat the food anyway, so it only contaminates the pond.
There is hardly a garden that would be too small to create a mini pond, beautify it with plants and liven it up with fish. A large wooden tub is already suitable, an old wine barrel or a zinc tub. If you are not afraid of a little more work, you can create a mini pond in the ground. If a pond pump with a fountain is also installed, an oasis of well-being is created for the whole family. The plants and fish in the mini-pond can even hibernate without any problems if they follow a few tips.