How to Create and Maintain a Patio Pond

Do you want to enjoy the sights and sounds of flowing water, but you don't have the time, budget or space to install a full-sized pond? Or maybe you have a pond but want to add another water feature somewhere like a deck or patio.

A Patio Pond might be the perfect water feature for you.

Patio Ponds - also called container water gardens - work wonders for all kinds of tight spaces and tight budgets. Their completely above-ground design makes them a great choice for areas where you can't bury an in-ground basin, and their endless customization options let you create a water feature that is uniquely "you."

Patio Pond are also easy to install and maintain. Here's where to start:


At a Glance: How to Create a Patio Pond

  1. Choose your container.
  2. Choose your spitter, fountain or filter.
  3. Decorate with plants, rocks and lights.

1. Choose Your  Container

The first step in creating a Patio Pond is picking the container that will serve as the base of your water feature. The bowls we carry come in two shapes: round and square; three colors: terra cotta, desert granite and green slate; and a variety of sizes.

These Patio Bowls are made of a lightweight and durable fiberglass-resin composite that looks like real stone. Each bowl includes a ledge where you can place plants or spitters, as well as a small cut-out where you can discreetly run a power cord.


2. Choose Your Spitter, Filter or Fountain

Patio Pond with Copper FountainNobody - except maybe mosquitos - wants a bowl of stagnant water, so the next step in your DIY Patio Pond journey is figuring out how to move the water. This is where you can really give your project some personality.

You have three options for adding flow to your bowl: spitters, fountains and filters.

Spitters are the most common choice for small container water gardens. These little decorative pieces use a pump to spit a constant stream of water into the bowl, creating a constant, soothing flowing water sound. Popular spitters include frogs that spit water out of their mouths, a dog that "pees" and a toucan that opens and closes its beak as water flows out. Spitters also work great for pond edges or on top of in-ground basins.

Fountains are the next step up from spitters. Although most people hide fountain bases underground, fountains - if they're small enough - can also look stunning in a properly sized Patio Pond. Our small Stacked Slate Stone Fountain, for example, fits perfectly inside a large round Patio Bowl.

A Container Water Garden Filter is the most discrete option for moving water in a Patio Pond. These devices include a little pump that moves the water through a replaceable carbon insert, keeping your water clear. Suction cups attached to the side of the Container Water Garden Filter let you secure it inside the bowl. Place it underwater for out-of-sight water movement, or let it stick out over the water's surface, where it will create a trickling rain effect and help aerate the water. Filters can be used in addition to or in place of a spitter or fountain, and they're a must-have if you decide to add fish to your Patio Pond.


3. Decorate with Plants, Rocks and Lights

Now it's time to put the finishing touches on your Patio Pond.

Plants will not only add color to your creation but also remove excess nutrients from the water, helping to prevent string algae. Which plants you choose is up to you - just make sure to pick varieties that don't mind having their roots wet. A potted waterlily will happily live in a larger Patio Pond, while marginals like Creeping Jenny, Cattails and Cannas can hang out on the Patio Bowl's shelf. Water Hyacinths and Water Lettuce, which float on the water's surface, also make great additions.

Browse Pond Plant Ideas

Patio Pond

Add rocks and underwater lighting to your Patio Pond for an extra decorative touch.

Can I Add Fish to My Patio Pond?

Some people opt to add fish to their Patio Pond. If you decide to go that route, keep these tips in mind:

  • Goldfish are the best choice for Patio Ponds. Patio Bowls are too shallow for koi and other larger fish.
  • If you add goldfish, only add two or three, depending on the size of the bowl. Any more than that will quickly turn your Patio Bowl into a mucky mess and create hazardous water conditions for your new pets. Never keep a single goldfish by himself; he'll get lonely.
  • You must use a Container Water Garden Filter if you add fish to your Patio Pond, and the filter arm must stick out over the water's surface. The filter will help clear fish waste from the water, and the water flowing out of the filter arm will help keep your Patio Pond aerated.
  • Patio Ponds can't stay outside over the winter. You'll either need to bring the whole setup inside - fish and all - or plan to move the fish into an aquarium for the season.

How to Maintain Your Patio Pond

  • Add a weekly dose of Beneficial Bacteria to your Patio Pond to help prevent green water. Beneficia Bacteria is not an algaecide but rather a naturally occurring organism that eats excess nitrites in your pond that would otherwise feed green-water algae. It's fish-safe and available in either a liquid form or a convenient maintenance tab sized specifically for Patio Ponds. Simply follow the dosing instructions on whatever form of bacteria you use.
  • Avoid algaecides, which can seriously harm fish and plants in the small Patio Pond ecosystem.
  • If you have a filter in your Patio Pond, replace the carbon insert about once a year to keep the filter working its best.
  • If you have fish in your Patio Pond, feed them high-quality food about once a day. Only offer as much food as they'll finish in a few minutes. Any extra will just create a mess and hurt your water quality.
  • Always add Pond Detoxifier to your water before introducing fish. This product removes chloramines that could harm your finned friends.
  • Patio Ponds cannot stay running outside over the winter. Either empty the bowl and store it in the garage when cold weather hits, or bring the whole setup indoors to keep it running and add some much-needed humidity to your home.

Related Links

5 Tips for Bringing the Inside Outside

What's in a DIY Pond Kit?

16 Pond Plants that Tolerate Shade

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