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A pond in a pot: Building a miniature garden

by Timber Press on December 5, 2013

in Craft, Gardening

Water features bring an enticing dimension to miniature gardens.

Water features bring an enticing dimension to miniature gardens.

It’s easy to love full-sized ponds and water features—but not the time and money they require. This simple, affordable miniature offers a captivating alternative.


  • Big pot for entire garden
  • Smaller pond pot with no drainage hole
  • Medium-sized plastic plant pots, 2 to 4
  • Plants of your choice
  • Small pebbles
  • Landscape cloth, 12 inches by 12 inches
  • Potting soil
  • Accessories


  • Gloves (optional)
  • Knife
  • Pitcher of water

1. Choose the best place for the pond beforehand; off-center is always more interesting. Figure out the level of the pond in the bigger pot by stacking a couple of plastic plant pots upside down in the bottom of the garden container. The number of plastic pots you’ll need will depend on the depth of your big pot. Place your pond pot on top of the stack. This precarious platform will eventually be surrounded by soil on all sides to keep it safely upright. The level of the pond pot should be about 1 inch higher than the edge of the big pot—so you can visually sit down on the pond’s edge. Play around with the stack of pots—add, take away, or cut off whatever you need to get the pond pot to the right height.

2. Pour in soil around the plastic pot stack, making sure there are no air pockets. Fill up the area with soil and begin planting your garden.227_kb120519_419-WEB

3. Place taller trees in the back and tier down with shorter plants, finishing off with the lowest plants as you work toward the pond area.228_kb120519_425-WEB

4. Finish planting and establish the garden bed edges. Prepare the patio space by clearing an area about 1/2 inch deep. Tamp down to get rid of any air pockets.229_kb120519_427-WEB

5. Line the bottom of the patio area with landscape cloth, which will keep the pebbles clean longer. In this project, because there are minimal garden edges, the liner acts as the border between the soil and pebbles, so no border edging is needed. Pour small pebbles into the patio an inch below the pond’s edge. Tamp down with a flat hand so that the patio surface is level with the garden bed surrounding the rest of the pond pot. Nestle any stepping-stones into the pebbles.230_kb120519_433-WEB

6. Pour clean, clear water into the pond.231_kb120519_445-WEB

7. Add miniature accessories to set off your new pond focal point.232_kb120519_469-WEB


A pond-side seat offers cool relief on a hot day.


Text from Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World by Janit Calvo
Photography by Kate Baldwin

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Water features bring an enticing dimension to miniature gardens.

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Get ready to journey into the huge world of growing small!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MELANIE atwood July 25, 2013 at 5:53 am

This is so cool Oh! What fun please I am broke and this would be so fun to do .Really awesome

2 Gaynell Holmes July 25, 2013 at 6:51 am

Thanks!! I LOVE it! Too cute!

3 Brian Ridder July 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for saying hello, Gaynell. If you ever make a miniature garden of your own, we’d love to see it. Happy gardening!

4 barb July 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

This so beautiful! I’m so amazed at all the attention to detail.

5 Brian Ridder July 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

Janit does an amazing job. You should try one yourself?!

6 Jenny July 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

These ideas are a perfect way to create a serene and whimsical garden setting without spending a lot of money on a human-sized project! Just looking at these gorgeous gardens relaxes me. It would be a ball to take these ideas and customize them…a must-have for me would be small animals…and one of them must have a crown! Thanks for the inspiration and the light, enjoyable moments I’ve spent looking at them.

7 Brian Ridder July 31, 2013 at 10:26 am

Thanks for the comment, Jenny. If you ever get around to those customized gardens, we’d love to see them. Good luck!

8 Susan Fox December 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

This is simply heavenly. I love it. I never saw a plant I didn’t love except the rose called April in Paris ;) With 100’s of roses, this still made me want to run out today with ice on the roads buy everything you have and make a miniature garden that I can have in the house. I am enthralled with this. Thank-you its heavenly.
Susan Fox

9 Brian Ridder December 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for the comment (and all of your support). You make a good point about miniature gardens: they are so much more than houseplants. They really can be a little indoor garden to help keep your heart warm all winter.

p.s. Be sure to check out Susan’s blog: http://www.gagasgarden.com/. I know her mostly from Twitter (https://twitter.com/gagasgarden) where she spreads a lot of good energy over the interweb. Warning: she’s a heart breaker! :-)

10 W. L. Sakowski March 22, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Thanks for sharing such beautiful and relaxing gardening ideas. They are, indeed, unique and precious ways to garden.

11 Moira August 8, 2016 at 1:04 am

Lovely ideas and such an inspiration . X

12 Pat payne November 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Were do I buy materials for garden

13 plant pots February 9, 2017 at 2:46 am

Cute ,i like it .

14 Rubber Pond Coating March 1, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Backyard cultivates needs support and adds perfection to home and additionally in life. Water life must be spared as we don’t have any substitute of them. Pondpro2000 is solution for house pond yet for common security of pond.

15 Isabelle hepsy August 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hey really nice but what plants did u use

16 Jenna November 18, 2017 at 9:09 am

This miniature garden is beautiful! What species of trees did you use? Especially the tall one, it’s gorgeous.

17 koibids May 14, 2018 at 7:23 am

Wow, This is a fantastic gardening idea.

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