Top 10 Tiny Garden Pond Ideas

The beauty of having a garden is that you can do what you want with it because it’s outside! So I never understood people who said they couldn’t have fish in their gardens or could only have goldfish – countless types of fish would work outside!

If you’ve got an outdoor space that doesn’t get full sun but gets decent light – say around 4-6 hours per day – then why not use the space for something cool?

Here are ten ideas to help you on your way:

#1 Start With the Basics

A koi pond isn’t difficult to set up and maintain, and if done right should last well beyond your gardening days. Build one like an old-school Japanese garden and you’ll have something that looks like it’s always been there.

#2 Boulders and Rocks

Rocks are good for hiding an ugly filter, as well as looking generally cool. Get some thin slate and stack them up behind the pump so they can catch the water – no one will see the pump or tubing if you put a large enough pile of rocks behind it. You can even decorate them with moss which grows on rocks naturally, making your pond look like something out of a fairy tale.

#3 Use Your Other Ponds

If you’ve already got a small pond somewhere in your yard then this design is for you. The idea here is to use that space by connecting two ponds with a fish ladder. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional.

#4 Use Your Waterfalls For Something Else

Most people use their waterfalls as the main feature of their pond, but why not take it even further by using the water from your waterfall for something else? This design makes use of a filter that is powered by an air pump. The powerhead sends the water through two sponges soaked in dechlorinated tapwater and back into the tank – very cool looking, especially with non-planted tanks where you want lots of bubbles to look like underwater currents. Fish won’t be able to reach this source of water on top of the underwater current so it’s safe for this sort of application.

#5 Use Raised Beds For Your Plants

If you have a small yard and lots of fish then you don’t want your plants all eaten up, do you? Try making a raised bed using rot-resistant wood which will last much longer than the cheap stuff from the hardware store. Once again, rocks play their part by hiding any unattractive equipment that may be in view. You could even try lining your pond with plastic to keep out rabbits and other rodents who love to munch on koi food!

#6 Just Add Water!

This is one of my favorite designs because it’s very easy to make and doesn’t involve anything too complicated – I used to have this design when I was a kid! You can use an old sealed table or anything else around the house which you don’t need. Just fill it up with soil, add some plants and place your pump at the bottom. If you need to add additional sealant, be sure to do so! The water should filter into the tank slowly enough that it doesn’t blow any leaves away – keep an eye on things while it’s filtering for the first few days to make sure everything settles in nicely. And there you have it – a cheap little pond right outside your door!

#7 Hollow Out an Old Log

You could get lucky and find an old hollow log lying around somewhere. If not, why not ask your local pet shop if they’ve got any spare wood? It’ll be cheaper than buying it new, and they’ll probably let you have it for free. Don’t forget to give your log a good wash to get rid of any bugs or ants before you start cutting.

#8 Build an Aquarium Garden

This is another idea that uses a filter – at first, I couldn’t get my head around the fact that the same filter could be used in two completely different set-ups but after seeing what can be done I’m becoming more open-minded! By placing some driftwood branches inside the tank you create “hiding spots” for baby fish while also giving yourself something to hang decorations off. Just remember not to push anything too far down into the gravel as this will suffocate your plants (I speak from experience!).

#9 Raise The Plants Above The Pumps

If you don’t have any plants yet then the best option is to just raise them above the pump. This will also give your soil a chance to break down properly before it reaches the pump itself. Just build an extra level about 20-30cm above the bottom level of your pond and fill it with gravel or soil depending on what type of plants you’ve got. Just make sure that this top layer is higher than the water’s reach so it doesn’t get flooded!

#10 Create Your Filter Using A Bucket

This design comes courtesy of my brother-in-law who loves taking ideas from Japanese carp ponds and turning them into something he can do at home! You use a bucket and drill holes around the inside, placing your pump at the bottom. The water then filters through some soil before rising into the next container which holds your plants. To make sure that everything stays in place add some rocks to fill in any extra gaps between the two containers.


  • Make Some Hanging Baskets.

    This is another great example of how even a small pond doesn’t have to look bare and boring! I love how most of these hanging baskets contain flowers that would otherwise be eaten by koi – it also means you get a lovely splash of color without having to worry about where all those pesky leaves are going! Just remember not to put anything too deep into the middle of this design as no fish will be able to swim in there!

  • Use Your Old Bathtub.

    The next idea is for those of you who are lucky enough to have a spare bathtub collecting dust. You can even make the most of it by using it as two separate areas rather than one large pool – I’m sure your koi will appreciate their own space! Just make sure that whatever you use, don’t block the flow of the water too much or it may end up overflowing. Alternatively, you could try adding some rocks inside to give your fish an extra couple of feet to swim around in.

Thanks for reading at Meyer Aquascapes! We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on garden pond design. Please leave a comment below if you liked it or have any questions. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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