Creating a mini pond for the balcony
I’ve recently become a proud pond owner. Yes, you have read correctly: I now have a mini pond on my balcony! And to build this waterhole was very easy.
A lake or a pond is an important habitat. In it and around it all kinds of plants grow and all kinds of animals cavort. Not only fish but also newts, dragonflies and water striders, for example. Birds use it to bathe in it and drink from it.
So far I have had little interest in ponds. Where should I place one on my six square metre balcony? But then I learned that you don’t really need much space for that. A mini pond that even fits on my balcony? I absolutely had to try it out!
What do you need for a mini pond?
For a self-built mini pond, you only need four things: a container, stones, plants and of course water! Also, you may need a hose and hose reel to fill up the pond. I suggest reading Helpful Garden’s article on the best hose reels currently on the market so you can make an informed choice.
The container required doesn’t even have to be very big. I used an old enamel bowl. But also buckets, pots and tubs are suitable. The bigger the bowl, the more space it offers. Since weight plays a not insignificant role on the balcony, I advise against half wine barrels and zinc tubs. Filled they can be much too heavy for the balcony!
Material for a mini pond
Stones are a great element to give the mini pond a bit of structure. As with beer drinkers, they can also be used by insects as a take-off and landing site so they don’t drown. They also stabilize the pots when you put the plants in them.
As pond water, you can use normal tap water. Ideally, you should leave it for another day or two.
Which plants are suitable for a mini pond?
A bowl or pot like this doesn’t offer much space, of course. The plants that grow in them must be small and frugal. Floating and marsh plants that thrive on the water surface, in shallow water and on the edges of large ponds and lakes are a good choice.
For example, you can use mini bulbs (Typha minima), frog spoons (Alisma), swamp iris (Iris pseudacorus), water salad (Pistia stratiodes) and even small water lilies. Water plants such as fir feather duster (Hippuris vulgaris) and duckweed (Lemna) are supposed to help contain algae formation.
The best way to find suitable pond plants is to seek advice. I bought a swamp plant at a plant market: the common hedgehog tube (Baldellia ranunculoides) thrives both in the water and in peripheral zones. And I wasn’t even looked at crooked when I said what I need them for 😉
How do I plant a mini pond?
Less is more: Don’t overfill the pond. After all, the plants need space and possibly also the animal visitors! More than three plants are not recommended with a base area of 40 x 40 centimetres.
Since the pot for the marsh flower was quite small, I divided and repotted it again. By the way: I filled the pots with clay granules. Pond plants like it barren and don’t need soil.
Creating my mini pond was very easy:
- Put the plants in the bowl.
- Stabilize the pots with stones.
- Carefully fill the bowl with tap water – the mini pond is ready!
Which location is suitable for the mini pond?
I placed my mini pond on the balcony under the herb table. Unfortunately, I can’t see it from the garden chair. But there it stands in semi-shade and has less than six hours of sunshine per day. Water plants like it rather shady.
In addition, the water warms up much faster in the sun. The consequences: high evaporation and possibly more algae.
How do I maintain a mini pond?
You don’t have to maintain the mini pond much. Apart from the fact that the container must always be sufficiently filled, algae can become the most urgent problem. But you don’t have to install a filter. Instead, make sure you keep the water as clean as possible and remove dead plant parts and aquatic plants as quickly as possible.
Fertilizer also promotes the formation of algae, but water plants can also do without it! And if they still form, you can skim them off by hand, with a cheese-maker or a sieve, or clean the container and fill it fresh.
How do I make the mini pond winterproof?
Whether the mini pond can spend the winter outside depends mainly on its size. But most of the time it freezes completely – and the plants don’t get that. That’s why I will overwinter the bowl inside. You can also completely dismantle it and overwinter the plants brightly and coolly. In spring you can put the mini pond back on the balcony.
And now you!
You also have a water hole or a mini pond on your balcony? How did you design it?