I’ll be honest; August is not my favorite month. The air is sticky and humid, the sun is bright and unrelenting, and there are no fun holidays to break up the mundane moments in our lives. There are certainly good parts to August–fairs, vegetables, and vacations come to mind–but overall I find it hard to find joy. One way I hope to curb the doldrums is by creating an above-ground pond in the corner of my herb garden.
My husband and I rent our cozy townhouse in Centreville and are thus unable to dig a hole and install a more permanent pond option in our backyard. I am sure with a conversation with our landlord, we could perhaps negotiate something, but after a little research I found we do not need to vastly alter the landscape of the yard in order to have a pond. If you are in a similar situation or just do not feel like digging a large and deep hole, here are a few tips to making a fun and beautiful flowerpot pond.
The first thing you need to do is decide where you would like to put your above-ground pond, and what vessel you hope to use to make up the body. While the sky’s the limit in terms of shapes and sizes, the most important aspect to consider when creating an above-ground pond is whether the container you choose is water-tight. In this case, a terra cotta pot would absorb the water and eventually dry out the pond. Waterproofing the pot or finding a plastic or metal container would be better options. Your container can be as small or as large as you want, but keeping water in it consistently is key.
The next thing you may want to consider is whether you want to add aquatic plants to your pond. There are a wide variety of aquatic plants out there, and they all offer extra greenery as well as food and shelter sources for backyard critters. Water lilys are a great choice, especially if you’re using a large container, but there are also smaller varieties of aquatic plants to choose from. Lemnaceae, or duckweed, is a lovely option with green leaves reminiscent of clover. They float at the surface of the pond with their roots dangling down below and thus do not need any additional pots or aquatic soil to successfully maintain them. Another fun choice is Hydrocleys nymphoides also known as the water poppy. They are cheerful like water lilies, but produce smaller, yellow, tri-petal flowers. The flowers of the water poppy attract pollinators–especially bees! These lovely plants will require soil to grow but require little maintenance after the initial planting.
Another choice pond-creators have is whether to add fauna such as goldfish, or simply sit back and wait for nature to provide creatures to live in it. Goldfish will require regular feeding as well as monitoring the health of the pond but add a lovely pop of color and interest. As with anything left out in nature, however, other native creatures will eventually find their way to the pond as well. I am excited at the possibility of tadpoles, as well as serving as a watering hole for various critters on hot summer days. Make sure that your pond has a method for over-zealous small creatures such as squirrels to escape should they plop in for an unintentional swim.
I hope my pond dreams have inspired at least one of you to research the idea of creating a backyard oasis yourself. Should I successfully create one at our house, I’ll be sure to provide pond updates as they come. The important thing is to get outside and see what you can do to beautify your yard and give yourself a boost in these dog days of summer.