Homemade floating pond planters or mini islands are a lovely way to add seasonal pops of colorful flowers to your garden pond. You can also use them to sail garden art or candles on a summer evening. After some experimenting, I came up with a truly simple way to make my own, just using supplies from the garden shed. I’ll walk you through the steps so you can make your own pond oasis.
This is part of a series on fish ponds: Backyard Pond Ideas, which has pond photos, building tutorials, advice on fish, plants, and winter care, and more.
Create a Floating Island of Beauty for Your Pond
Floating pond containers, sometimes called mini islands, starting appearing in gardens over the past few years. I just love how they add a burst of colour to the pond, especially when I’m waiting for the water lilies to bloom.
These floating containers are available in shops or you can make your own. There are several styles and sizes here on Amazon if you want to get ideas.
I tried making them several different ways and finally opted for the simplest way because it worked so nicely in my pond.
Note of Caution
Most plants have some level of toxicity if consumed by humans or animals including fish. Before adding any plants to your pond, be sure they will not be harmful to your fish. This not only pertains to a floating planter, but any plants in your garden where the wind could blow the fruit or leaves into the water.
I have not found a good list to refer you to so for now I will have to leave it for you to do Google searches to research your plant choices.
How to Make a Floating Pond Planter
This is what you need to make one floating pond planter.
- (1) pool woggle or noodle (long enough to fit around the top of your plastic pot). Be sure the noodle is hollow inside
- (1) black, plastic flower pot with drainage holes
- (1) piece of 16-gauge galvanized steel wire (long enough to fit around the top of your plastic pot plus 6 inches)
- Waterproof tape (10-inch piece)
- Landscape fabric – enough to wrap your woggle with some overlap (12 inches x cut woggle length + 6 inches)
- Small stones in a plastic food bag (enough to fill the bottom of the black, plastic pot)
- Flower pot slightly smaller than black, plastic flower pot (so it will fit inside)
- Flowers, garden art, or lanterns and candles
- Pliers and wire cutter
- Serrated knife, scissors, or tiny saw to cut woggle (they are very easy to cut)
Make a floating ring with the pool noodle, wire, and waterproof tape.
- Cut the noodle to fit around the black, plastic pot, just under the top lip.
- Cut a piece of 16-gauge wire the length of your noodle piece plus six inches.
You will also need a piece of landscape fabric this length x 12 inches deep.
- Form a small loop on one end of the wire and thread it through the entire noodle.
- Bring the two noodles ends together as closely as possible and join the wire ends, forming a ring.
- Clip off any excess wire.
- Cover the noodle ends in waterproof tape, covering the area where you joined the wire.
Wrap the noodle ring in landscape fabric.
Insert the black, plastic pot, slide the covered ring up, just below the lip of the pot, and turn the whole thing over.
Tuck the fabric in nice and tight, all around the pot.
Stop at this step if you want a fancy hat instead. 🙂
Insert a small bag of stones to weigh down the bottom of the pot.
Add potted flowers, garden art, lanterns, candles, or whatever you like.
As mentioned, you want to be mindful of plants that could be toxic to pond fish, not just from these containers but anything growing in your garden that could blow into the pond.
Also, the inserted flower pot can be housed in a thick plastic bag if you’re using plants that do not like their roots constantly wet. Many annuals, though, are fine with this.
If your pond is really large, you can attach a leash to the floating planter to make it easier to pull it back to shore. For smaller ponds like mine, a bamboo stick works fine.
In the one pictured below, I added a berry wreath, pickle dish, and a votive candle.
After adding a few of these to my pond, I discovered that frogs love them too! They jump into the planters and ride around all day, sunbathing and napping. It’s so sweet!
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~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛