mini pond for balcony

(32 Posts)
WriteforFun1 Sun 01-May-16 11:33:22

hi all
I'm thinking of putting one of these on the balcony, just regular plants on there at the mo. I'm confused as to how it works though. I would like to buy one of those wooden barrels as a container but they seem quite pricey, and I gather they need lining so stuff from the wood doesn't leak into the water.

I found this on Amazon - not very attractive but will do as a start, cheap too?
www.amazon.co.uk/gp/registry/wishlist/10ZKU7W33KU0G/ref=topnav_lists_1

then I'm confused what kind of plants to buy. Ideally I'd like to be able to see what I'm buying and I'd like it to be ready with the plants already visible now rather than grow from seed. So I can't do mail order unless they tell me what height the plants are, is that right?

also should I put compost on the bottom, I presume that's how the plants root? I've only ever grown from seed before because it's so much cheaper.

thanks for any tips.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 01-May-16 11:35:19

Link doesn't work. And I can't see how a mini balcony pond would work either. Won't the water stagnate?

PolterGoose Sun 01-May-16 11:43:53

Why not go along to a garden centre and have a look. The bigger the container the better and the less maintenance it will need. You'll need the right balance of plants and it might take time to get it right. Plants would normally go in aquatic compost inside holey pond baskets with a layer of shingle on top to keep the compost in place, just like in a standard pond.

PolterGoose Sun 01-May-16 11:46:55

I'm guessing you're thinking something like this?
(random google image)

WriteforFun1 Sun 01-May-16 11:50:27

I don't know how a standard pond would work, I've never had a garden myself. So there's special compost and holey pond baskets? Ah, this might prove too pricey.

Leigh, I gather I am supposed to have oxygenating plants to stop the water stagnating.

The balcony is small too so a big container isn't really possible. I was hoping to recreate something like this but much much cheaper!

www.primrose.co.uk/sun-loving-pond-pot-kit-with-72cm-black-fibreglass-planter-p-82646.html?cPath=2_10311_11250&src=list_img

PolterGoose Sun 01-May-16 12:08:20

Right, if it was me, my list would be

cheap black tub - put plants in pots around outside to disguise it and provide dappled shade and wildlife haven.

pond baskets - size and shape depends on pond size, can be raised on old bricks to get right height for your chosen plants

aquatic compost - probably cheaper and smaller quantities at local garden centre

aquarium gravel or pea shingle - again, cheaper at garden centre, some for top of planters and some for base of pond

Plants, something tall, something floaty, something in between and something to aerate. If you know anyone with a pond they'll happily give you cuttings, many grow really fast! We clear out loads from our pond every year.

WriteforFun1 Sun 01-May-16 12:39:10

Thank you Polter, you are brilliant smile

I don't know anyone with a garden, much less a pond grin but I am sure I can do this cheaply on your list, thank you so much, much appreciated.

PolterGoose Sun 01-May-16 12:45:12

If you can stretch to some sort of water sprinkler mini fountain type thing it will help, but an alternative is to have a watering can of rain water (or tap water that's settled for a few days) and use it to water the pond every evening with the sprinkler/rose. Small ponds evaporate quicker so need topping up and the aeration helps keep it healthy.

You'll be amazed at the wildlife it attracts smile

WriteforFun1 Sun 01-May-16 12:53:41

Polter, I didn't realise I had to water the pond [embarrassed]
thanks for telling me that, I will be sure to do that. i find that sort of thing quite therapeutic after work so I won't forget.

bookbook Sun 01-May-16 21:07:07

I linked this for someone else today, when I saw it!
garden.viralcreek.com/make-pond-small-pot-bucket/

Ifailed Mon 02-May-16 08:02:31

don't want to be a wet blanket, but do you know the maximum load you can put on your balcony? for example, when full of water this : www.primrose.co.uk/sun-loving-pond-pot-kit-with-72cm-black-fibreglass-planter-p-82646.html?cPath=2_10311_11250&src=list_img

will come in at about 82kg, plus the weight of the pot. (mind you, its been a long time since I calculated the volume of a hemisphere!)

echt Mon 02-May-16 09:34:41

I have a 57cm plastic barrel pond. The bottom is covered with white pebbles the size of small apples. All plants are perched on bricks and kept in their pots. I use papyrus for height, as the pond sits outside full-length windows so they add interest.

Papyrus grows like a bugger. I've divided it once within the year, and it needs doing again. But very pretty.

The barrel also has three comet goldfish who are happy there. No pump or aerator, just ensure it is shaded in summer and topped up with water mixed with melted ice cubes and de-chlorinator.

Ifailed makes salient point about the weight.

DoreenLethal Mon 02-May-16 09:38:50

Agree with the weight issue, keep the pond closest to your building as it reduces the bending moments and thus the stress on the balcony.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 09:48:14

ifailed, I don't know the max weight but I was planning to use a lightweight container like in my first link.

Also the Primrose pond, while gorgeous and insanely pricey, is much bigger than what I could have. I did wonder, looking at the price, what the weight of the bowl on it's own is - no way would I have that. I have a wooden barrel planter thing that weighs a pound if that, and is about 30cm diameter. So just having one lily and one tall plant might be the answer. I will have to put together my dream garden in my head grin

Scottishthreeberry16 Mon 02-May-16 09:54:20

Won't it overflow if there's a heavy downpour?

Ifailed Mon 02-May-16 09:58:21

yes, just the same as a pond does. Don't wee why it would be a problem, the level of over-flow with be exactly the same as the rainfall that would have landed on that part of the balcony covered by the pot.

Ifailed Mon 02-May-16 09:58:52

*see, not wee. Fat-fingered today.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 10:05:00

the balcony is covered though so it has to be really heavy before water comes to the balcony if you see what I mean.

traviata Mon 02-May-16 10:14:30

watch out for mosquito larvae, the last thing you want is loads of bites on your balcony. Mosquitos will breed in a tiny amount of still water.
Fish will eat them, as will other pond dwellers, but you do need enough volume of water to make it viable for fish etc to live.

MeganChips Mon 02-May-16 11:20:46

I have one of these, a bowl pond. Not on a balcony though, just in the garden. It looks very similar to the picture posted unthread.

It's a large planter, sealed, with gravel, oxygenating plants and fish. The fish have survived really well and seem perfectly happy. We do feed them but they seem happiest eating the larvae.

You will get algae and pond weed in so we sieve outs regularly and occasionally change the plants when they get too wild.

It's really low maintenance.

shovetheholly Tue 03-May-16 09:07:08

I'm really worried about the weight of this, because it could turn out to be an incredibly expensive pond if it tears your balcony apart. However, you don't need a really big pond to support wildlife - literally something the size of an old washing bowl would do. I would try to buy a container that is as light as possible - maybe something plastic or fibreglass. I'm wondering if a simple, shallow trug (the ones that are half height) might do it?

GrouchyKiwi Tue 03-May-16 09:18:05

I'm thinking of doing something similar - though actually in the garden - so following with interest.

WriteforFun1 Tue 03-May-16 11:22:51

Shove, don't worry, as I said up thread I have a container that weighs nothing, half a pound?

I am not keeping fish in it so I might ditch the whole idea tbh. The standing water and mosquito thing worries me too.

I actually might be better trying to grow a water lily indoors. I talked to the garden centre about it yesterday and one of them lives in a small flat and said it worked quite well.

Then I'll have to consider the cost all round as I've decided to start doing more with indoor plants.

Sorry, that was just me thinking aloud! Maybe one day I'll have a garden with an actual pond. And fish, I'd like that.

WriteforFun1 Tue 03-May-16 11:23:49

Grouchy, hey if you've got a garden, go for it! And post pictures please grin

shovetheholly Tue 03-May-16 11:37:07

Ooops, sorry, I missed that post! blush

I think a critical thing is the volume: water weighs a lot! How large is your container? Water weighs about a kilo a litre, so if it's 10-15 litres, that should be OK. If your balcony can support a person, it ought to be able to take that kind of weight. (As Doreen said, you can put it closer to the house to save stress).

How high is your flat? Mossies tend to fly pretty low in England. So if you're third floor or above, I wouldn't think many would make it up that high. I honestly don't think you'll have tons of mossies emerging from a small pot either. You can always ditch it and try again inside if you find you have a problem!

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