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Wildlife Ponds

I would like a small pond in my garden for wildlife.  I have an old bath tub and wondered if anyone else has turned one into a pond.  Ideally I would like to sink it into the ground.  Any advice much appreciated.



  • Hi MrsSpratt, an old bath makes a good wildlife pond, as long as it has plenty of shallows (tricky with such steep edges). You'll need to seal the plug hole and overflow pipe using a pond sealant (available from aquatic shops). Then I would take some large stones or slabs and use these to create shallows (5cm deep). This is where frogs will spawn in spring.

    Choose a sunny site for your pond and inlcude lots of native pond plants - such as marsh marigold, frog bit, hornwort and brooklime.

    If you do sink the tub - which is fairly easy to do - make sure wildlife can enter and exit the pond easily. Consider sowing grass seed around the edges and allow it to grow long, which young frogs and toads will use to shelter in. Avoid filling the bath with tap water, but let it fill up naturally instead. This will ensure a healthier pond in the long run.

    Hope this helps

    Gardeners' World team

  • janfranjanfran Posts: 12

    I bought a small tin bath last year and successfully set it up. It had a thick covering of ice in the winter and, having checked there was 'no one at home' I have emptied it and plan to start again. I found an old RHS book which shows various ways to set up such a pond. You can put aquatic compost in the bottom, plant with pond plants, lay a piece of plastic over this and then slowly fill with water. Plants and compost will not be disturbed and the plastic will float to the top. Sounds a bit tricky!. I might put my new pond plants in home made 'sacks' of sacking with aquatic compost and a stone for weight. Then if they die or need replacing I can get them out easily, unlike the previous idea of soil at the bottom.

  • I have a small antique bath that I have sited against a wall and in full sun. Filled with a couple of marginal (which need annual replacement) and some oxygenating plants plus steps to enable the frogs to access. Unfortunately, the frog popluation has been wiped out so am not sure if this benefits the wildlife in my garden. However, it looks nice.

  • GlenGGlenG Posts: 8

    Please please if using things with slippery sides like a bath, make sure there are stones that slope from the water level right to the top edge so any creatures that fall in can climb back out - I've seen mice and even a hedgehog drowned in such containers (even a washing up basin someone had used once).

  • Please can anyone help.  We put a pond in our medium sized garden last summer 2011,  Initially it did have frogs in residence and seemed to be doing quite well with a few plants etc.  However, the plants have died, frogs have moved and we no frog spawn.  I have emptied the water out and re filled with water from our water but.  What plants should I buy to make it healthy. Many thanks.

  • GlenGGlenG Posts: 8

    I think you need to look at what went wrong last time first as most pond plants are normally perennials so should have come back to life in the spring. Frogs will spawn almost anywhere, currently even in tyre tracks with water in lying in them the forest I work in! So  there must be a particular reaswon they've not laid in your pond this year. Last year, did the water go bad/smelly or anything like that? Can you tell us how wide and deep your pond is? 

  • Hi.  With regards to the plants we think this was a slug problem as found a couple of slugs on the two plants we put in and they had well and truly chewed it.  We did think the plant might come back but to no avail.  The water never had a smell to it.  In fact when I emptyied it I was suprised how clean it was really.  The pond is about 1ft wide by 1/2 ft deep and is a plastic mould bought from a garden centre.

  • GlenGGlenG Posts: 8

    Hi Kate - I have something of similar size which I was given along with some lilly roots etc that came with it. I've now got it near my larger pond for some water-loving plants (I was given it as a gift and the plants that came with it died first winter because they were actually not for our climate) and it has now "naturalised" with small duckweed etc, but although there is open water in it and I have seen a frog in it, the frogs have never spawned in it, but always do so in my full sized pond (made with a flexible liner about 8 foot x 6 foot and from a shelving "shore" running down to 4'6" foot deep in part. I dug it myself and when I reached a layer of easy to dig sand I got carried away with the depth! image )  . The frogs breed in it every year, but the Toads though seem to spawn some years and not others in it for some reason, so you may actually just get your frogs back again with luck.  As for plants, when starting my larger pond I was given about 3 simple plants from a wildlife pond in someone's garden and there were obviously loads of eggs and various creatures on the roots because my pond was populated within about a week with sticklebacks, beetles etc etc. If the water was clean when you emptied yours then it sounds as if the ecosystem was working fine so you could maybe try a "transplant" like mine from someone elses pond and have instant life in the pond? Which of course means food for the frogs too.  Something maybe to also consider is if there is enough food around in the garden for the frogs? If it's a very tidy garden or is surrounded by very tidy "controlled" ones where there is no long grass or scrub for beetles and things to live in then perhaps the frogs have just moved to look for more food somewhere?   

    It's lovely to hear the frogs at mating time at night and to later see all the little "froglets" about once the tadpoles have grown, so I do hope you have luck and get your frogs back. Our frogs and toads need all the help they can get these days.

  • hi GlenG - thank you for your advice.  I think using someone else's plants from a 'happy' pond is a good idea - I hadn't thought of that image.  As the water in my pond seems ok other than the fact there isn't life in it, I will give this a go.  Our garden is not a tidy one ! there is plenty of food for frogs as I have a wooded area and a cottage garden area which attracts slugs etc.  However, don't think today as good day as 3 inches of snow has fallen.  Thanks again.

  • I am thinking of using an old white enamelled bath for a pond - should I paint the white interior with anything? Any suggestions?
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