This gallery shows some examples of bathtubs (and a hot tub) converted into garden ponds and basic instructions for setting one up. Using an old clawfoot tub (or a more modern style if you like them) is a super easy way to create a pond for the patio or garden.
I also have a gallery of backyard pond ideas here (all sizes and budgets): Gallery of Pond Ideas.
If you would like the basics on starting a garden pond, see Advice for Starting a New Garden Pond.
How to Make a Bathtub Garden Pond
The steps for creating a small garden pond are here, and below I’ve noted some special considerations for creating a pond specifically in an old bathtub.
One fun idea is to use faucets on the tub as water outlets (creating little waterfalls) connected to the recirculating pump.
- Safety: Never have any water feature unless it will be safe for any children or animals. Not worth the risk.
- Weight: Bathtubs can be very heavy. The old claw foot ones put a lot of weight on their feet causing them to sink into the garden!
Decide whether you’ll set the tub on a solid surface (patio stones), on the ground, or bury it part way in the ground.
- Sunlight: Shade or semi-shade locations are often best to avoid too much water evaporation or algae.
- Electricity: You will need access to a safe, outdoor electrical outlet (GFCI outlet that meets the bylaw code in your area) if you will be using a recirculating pond pump.
I always recommend using a pump. They help keep the water clear and keep mosquitoes from laying eggs on the surface.
- Overflow: if your pond overflows, will it be okay to (slightly) flood the surrounding area?
- Visible: be sure to place your pond where you can enjoy it the most!
Supplies and Setup
- In-ground ponds are attractive to wildlife (and your may get frogs), but they can also be harder to keep clean.
- On-ground ponds are easier to clean and maintain and may be more visible to enjoy.
- Level: Be sure your location is level so the pond looks right and keeps the water level.
- Drain: Get an airtight rubber stopper for the bottom drain.
- Overflow drain: You can keep it active as an overflow or seal it shut using pond sealant (or ask for a similar product at a home supply store).
- Clean tub and plug drain.
- Add water.
- Add plants.
- Add recirculating pump. You can see them here on Amazon. Get one suitable for the volume of water in the tub. For example, a tub that holds 60 gallons of water will need a pump that runs 100 gallons per hour (gph) to allow extra strength to carry water up a hose to a fountain or small waterfall feature.
- Wait two weeks to add fish. Water needs to de-chlorinate first. The chlorine in the water will evaporate over time.
More Pond and Water Feature Tips and Ideas
Gallery of Bathtub Garden Ponds
Here’s a few ideas for bathtub garden ponds. Some of them were photographed on local garden tours.
You can see more details about this tub here. Very creative gardener!
This one showcased a collection of rubber duckies.
Older tubs are really heavy!
I like how the blue paint gives this one a colour boost.
I found this copyright-free image online. The mannequin is slightly creepy but it is kind of funny.
Another one with a rubber ducky theme. This time it’s painted on.
You can see some algae build-up in this one. I use a pump to avoid this and also to prevent the mosquitoes from settling in the water.
This final one is a hot tub that was converted to a pond. Great idea if you’re not going to use one you already have.
If you do make a bathtub pond, I’d love to see a photo!