Sunken Container

This attractive water garden and plants are protected from changing temperatures.

Rather than placing a container on top of the soil where it’s susceptible to temperature fluctuations, lower a pot into the ground so it’s surrounded with soil. The minipond also looks particularly attractive at the edge of a path or when surrounded by other plants.

Inspired to create even more water features? Find out how to build a water wheel.

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What You Need:

  • Shovel
  • Plastic planter
  • Sand or gravel
  • Flat stones or flagstones (optional)
  • Plants

Zones: 5-10
Time: About 1 day

Plant Options:

  • Dwarf papyrus
  • Water fringe
  • Hardy water canna
  • Duckweed
  • Water snowflake

Step 1

1. Dig hole. Using the pot as a guide, dig a hole slightly larger and deeper than the pot, so the rim sits flush with the surface of the ground. Level the bottom of the hole. Add a layer of sand or gravel if necessary.

Step 2

2. Place pot. Set the container in the hole and fill in around it with sand, gravel, or excavated soil to make sure the pot is secure in the hole. (Find a use elsewhere in the garden for the unused excavated soil.)

Step 3

3. Plant. Fill the pot with water and let it stand for several days before planting with one water lily, a small lotus, or three to five small potted and floating water plants. You can camouflage the pot with flat stones.

Horse trough mini
water garden

Use a horse trough: Almost anything can be used for a water garden. Turn an old or new metal trough — horse, cattle, or pit (available at antiques stores or at animal supply stores) — into a water feature simply by sinking it in the ground; follow the directions for a smaller container. Add one or two medium-size rocks to connect it visually to the surrounding garden. Camouflage the rim with a covering of rocks and flat stones, or leave it in view, accented with plantings. Put a fountain near one end.