How to create a portable water garden

Bring instant sparkle to a dull area of your patio or balcony with a portable water garden that you can create yourself in an afternoon


The presence of water enhances any garden. A pond in a pot is a simple, inexpensive way to bring this essential element into your outdoor space – whether large or small, shady or sunny. And best of all, it is portable and ideal for patios and courtyards.

Once planted and filled, your container of water plants should require little care as it will create its own self-sustaining micro-environment – simply remove fallen leaves and algae and fill it up with fresh water when necessary.


  • You will need a suitable container which is large enough to hold your plants. We used a zinc bath for a contemporary, eco-look. You can use any suitable receptacle in your garden, but avoid porous terracotta as the water will leach out – rather choose glazed terracotta.
  • Choose a pot with no drainage holes, but if your heart is set on a pot that has them, then seal them well with epoxy putty.


Most water plants can be grown in sun to semi-shade; make sure to select the correctly sized plants for your pot. We chose arums (Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘White Giant’) for their lush foliage and characteristic white blooms, Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Edge’ for a touch of gold and Amazon sword (Echinodorus bleheri).

Summer-flowering water lilies, such as Nymphaea nouchali, or the spring-flowering waterblommetjie (Aponogeton distachyos) are attractive options as they have floating leaves and scented flowers. Marginal plants, such as arums and acorus, prefer shallower water, so raise them on pavers or bricks, while water lilies prefer deeper water.


What you’ll need:

  • A large container with no drainage holes
  • Pebbles
  • Water plants
  • Aquatic baskets
  • Pavers or bricks
  • Water

Putting it together in 5 simple steps:

Step 1:

Once you have selected your container, place a layer of pebbles on the bottom. This will help to keep down any soil that settles at the bottom.Step1

Step 2:

Transfer your chosen plants into aquatic baskets.Step2

Step 3:

Position your plants in the container, ensuring that the marginal species are raised on pavers or bricks.Step3

Step 4:

Cover the soil surrounding each plant with a layer of pebbles to keep the soil settled.Step4

Step 5:

Fill the container with water.Step5