Toggle navigation

How to: create a water wonderland

Photo - Linda Ross

What you need:


Wine barrel or container without holes

Barrel liner or PVC/Butyl liner (optional)

Bricks or pots


Aquatic plants



This is what to do:

1.Place the barrel or pot in an open sunny position, as it will be too heavy to move once its full. A wine barrel will leak so you need to remember to regularly top up the water, or use a barrel liner.

2. Fill the barrel or pot with water and let it stand for a few days to remove the chlorine from the water. If you are going add fish use a pond water treatment and conditioner to ensure the water is safe.

3. Choose a few aquatic plants, mixing deep-water aquatics, marginals and oxygenators. The mix of plants means the water will stay clean without a pump. Cover the surface of the plant pots with gravel to stop the potting mix turning the water murky.

4. Add fish to eat the mosquito larvae. The best types to choose are goldfish, comets and paradise fish. You might want to also add some rams horn snails to eat algae and help keep the pond clean.

5. If there are young children in the family cover the water with wire mesh supported by bricks beneath the surface to prevent drowning accidents (Bonus: the birds won’t catch your fish!)


Plants to choose


Deep-water aquatics

These plants have floating leaves and submerged roots. Place them on bricks so their leaves reach the surface.

Dwarf water lily (Nymphaeasp.)

Water fringe (Nymphoides peltata

Water snowflake (Nymphoides indica)



These plants live in shallow water; put the pots on bricks or upturned pots so that they are just under the surface.

Dwarf papyrus (Cyperus papyrus ‘nana’)

Japanese and Louisiana water Iris

Sweet Flag (Acorus graminus)


Oxgenators (Submerged)

These plants live under the water.

Water milfoil (Myriophyllum sp.)

Eelgrass (Vallisneria spiralis)