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Outside Mini Pond Garden Build Journal


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Started the build of a set of raised garden beds where I am incorporating a 100 gallon mini pond. My wife and I have been planning it for a few months now, and we finally pulled the trigger a couple of weeks ago by ordering the wood and pavers from Lowes. We are merging my hobby of fish keeping with her hobby of gardening.

We demoed out a set of 4 raised beds we had before to make way for the new, larger beds. We are increasing planting are by about 50 to 75%, and going from 6 inch deep beds to 22 inch deep beds (4 1x6 boards stacked). If you could the pond area, we are close to doubling the planting area. 

There will be 3 raised beds. The beds are made out of 1x6 and 2x4 cedar, using deck screws to hold them together. The one in the center will have the mini pond. I am hoping the dirt around it in the bed will help insulate the pond so the fish can live outside year round. We are in Louisiana, so we rarely get below freezing and typically get at least into the 50s Fahrenheit during the day.  

The other 2 beds are L shaped around the pond bed making a big rectangle. So far, we've built the pond bed and one of the L shaped beds minus one board. We've also laid most of the pavers. Lowes owes us about 1/3 of the wood, so we are at a holding point until they bring the rest. 

I am stocking the pond with rainbow shiners, so based on my climate I think they'll be fine outside year round. I'm further south than a large portion of their range. I'll probably pull a few inside for the first winter or two to be safe. I am also going to have some kind of pond plants, but haven't figured out which ones yet. Suggestions are welcome! I am going to do a gravel and some river / pond stones as the substrate. Gravel for some aquatic plants and the stones in a few piles hoping the eggs and fry can find some hiding spots. 

Anyway, as the build progresses, I'll update with pictures and more info. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! 

















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Put paving stones at the bottom of where the pond will be going to provide a level surface. May add a layer of play sand between the stones and pond, but haven't decided. Also trenches where the 3rd bed will be going. As the rest of the wood should be here Monday or Tuesday. 

Don't mind the upside down pictures...20210206_145219.jpg.ad66ab9040165f1908804658a59f2659.jpg


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20 hours ago, MAC said:

Awesome project. A great episode from the aquarist podcast with Ted Colette with alot on ponds. https://youtu.be/mX7GrlCpgq4 We ended up getting his book, it has lots of good info and a big section on plants. 



Where did you get his book? I searched his name on Amazon and didn't find it. 


Found it, link was in the podcast description.

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Set the pond in place and put down pea gravel as the primary substrate. I also added a few piles of larger river stone to provide cover for eggs and fry (more cover will be added in additionto the stones). I drilled a 1/8in hole about 2 to 3 inches below the top to keep rain from overfilling the pond. Dirt has been added, and the pond has been filled. I ordered a solar fountain for water movement which should arrive on Monday. 








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Filling the beds continues. Doing a 50/50 mix of generic top soil and compost/manure. I will also be adding in a bit of peat moss in the upper layer. The pond is also starting to clear up. We've gotten 170 cuft of soil so far.






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Got the solar fountain in this afternoon. This is my only plan for mechanical aeration / filtration. I will seed with the sponge filter from the QT Tank that is currently holding the shiners. Likely I'll just dump the whole contents of the 10 gallon tub into the pond, I think there is room. The main filtration will be plants. 

I also finished filling the beds today, at least for the time being. A total of 182 cu ft of top soil and compost/manure plus about 3 cuft of peat moss mixed into the top layer of soil. I'm sure we'll need to top off as the dirt settles, but only time will tell. 

Now to wait for the pond to warm up...





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I really like seeing your pictures, i went to school taking landscaping classes and I am inspired to do something like your project. I planned garden beds but if I tweak them to be taller this year or next I could see myself doing something similar. 


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The dwarf lilies came in today! I also got a water hawthorn and an iris. Unfortunately, I'll be working 12 hour shifts for the next week or so, so into the aquariums go the lilies and hawthorn. The iris is in a pot of water on the patio until I can deal with it. 



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