Saturday, October 27, 2007

Simple Idea for a Garden Pond-A Free Bathtub

Ok, if you have been reading this blog all along, you know I love the different, the very inexpensive, the free, and I love whimsy! This next idea will not fit into everyone's garden but you never know. If you are wanting a water feature why not try a tub pond? Someone advertised a "Free Cast Iron Bathtub" in the Leaf Chronicle. Mr. Fix-it was nice enough to go and pick it up for me in his lightweight truck. I thought it would be a clawfoot bathtub, but it is not. Oh well. I am glad Mr. Fix-it chose to bring it home anyhow.

It took quite a while to figure out how to close off the drain and overflow holes, but with help from Kenny Pipes on Wilma Rudolph, we finally were able to close these holes. The decoy ducks floating in the pond were a great find at a flea market on Dover Road. I think it was Queen City Flea Market. I have about 20 of them and have used them in my garden. Plastic is good for lawn decorations because it doesn't rot and is maintenance free. The ducks also grace my potting bench and add a lot of charm to my garden.

I encircled the outside of the tub with broken concrete (free) and added some ferns. This batch of goldfish you see in the tub is my third set. They have lived in this tub for almost 18 months. I really had a hard time getting the balance right in the small tub, but once I did, the tub pond maintenance is almost non-existent. You can see how clear the water is now, but it took about a year to get it right. Mr. Fix-it said, "Get a pond test kit then you will know what is wrong." Makes sense. So I did. Turns out all the pond needed to get adjusted was a few fish and some aquarium salt. Aquarium salt is like a wonder potion for ponds and that is all I have used in my pond whenever it looks like it is getting out of whack. The only maintenance I only have to do is rinse the filter off once a week or so.

My family and I feed these seven fish once daily. We all love to do it as the fish are really interactive. They immediately come up to the surface to feed and we are able to pet them. It is especially fun to watch the fish eat mosquitos that venture too close to their domain.

So, if you are into the different, the free and the whimsical, why not try a small pond? Let your imagination and close at hand resources guide your vision.

in the garden....


  1. Tina, I have seen it all!!!
    And the Saint thinks my yard is looking a bit Redneck with my old washing machine! LOL He would die if I installed a bathtub pond! I have been after him for a long time to make or buy me a pond but he convinced me it would be nothing but trouble with all the wild critters we get in the yard. Now, he will be even more convincing after seeing your tub pond…. Too cute….

  2. Just wait Skeeter... there is more "unique" items in my garden. You can definitely consider me a redneck gardener and like I said not everyone will like it...but that is why gardens are special-they are unique just like the gardeners.

    The Saint should give in and let you get a water feature. As much as you love all the critters and birds you would so love some fish in your backyard. A bathtub pond would feel right at home next to the washing machine cooler! LOL.

  3. WOW! How cool. I won an antique cast iron tub, claw feet and all, at the Humane Society's Fur Ball silent auction. It is very ironic that you posted this because I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I love this idea. Sweetie is always looking for his latest home improvement project. I'll be sure to show him this.

    Tina, does your outside cat ever bother the fish??

    Skeeter, email me with Tina's email address so that I can get in touch with her for more detailed guidance if we do decide to do something like this.

  4. Tina, May Stacey have your email address??? If so, I will pass it along...

  5. No bath tub pond in the yard here. If anything, I'll paint it up nicely and hook it up to a water supply and put me a shower head up in a tree. That way, I can actually take a shower in the back yard.

    Tina, the post you did about the compost bins is gone, so I thought I would post here and tell you. I was inspired, and I now have my own compost bin. I would love to send you a photograph of it. If I could get your email address, I would do so. I know Skeeter, and she will mostly vouch for my character. If you would give her permission to send me your email address, I could share not only my compost bin, but also some other yard projects that I have done.

    Also, I found your post about vegetable gardening most interesting. I am eagerly anticipating the planting season next year so that I can get some tips on what to plant when for the best results.

  6. Hey Skeeter,
    You can give my email address to both Dragon and Stacey. I would love some pictures Dragon and may post a few if it is ok. Can't wait to see your compost bin. If you have a vegetable garden now-plant some garlic. I just buy regular garlic in the grocery store, divide it into cloves and plant about 1.5 inches deep. It will grow and stay fairly nice all winter. Next spring it really grows and rewards you with lots of fresh garlic in May. It is the one veggie that I have found grows in the winter here.

    I plan to add a shower head to my bathtub connected to the pump for more of the shower effect for the fish-but taking a bath or shower outside after this sizzling hot summer would be fine too! That is how we took showers in Iraq and I have the fondest memories of showering under the sun each day-so why not if you have the privacy?
    Outside showers are actually a kind of "in" thing right now.

    Hi Stacey, I read about your bathtub on the pet people blog and had already had this posting of my redneck pond ready so I thought I should post it to maybe give you some inspiration. So, it wasn't all ironic I posted it, I was just waiting for the right moment. Wait until you see my bottle tree posting!

    I wish my tub was clawfoot but it is cast iron and works great outside. Skeeter can give you my email but you can also call since you are local in addition to email if you like. I am listed in the book. Finding the right plugs was a chore and I thank Kenney Pipe company for assisting me in this endeavor.

    Orkin, my outside cat never bothers the fish and I have not had any problem with herons either. My mother visited from Maine and was surprised nothing had eaten the fish-including the cat but she is good. I never thought critter eating the fish when I made the pond two years ago. I had seen a picture of a clawfoot bathtub with a shower waterfall landscaped in the garden in one of my many garden magazines. I will try to find it for you one day.

    The first year I had the pond it was not balanced but bullfrogs liked it. Whenever the frog saw me it would jump underwater. I never saw the silly thing just heard the plop splish splash when it disappeared. It blended in with the green water. Finally I got it right. The water would be a little challenging because tubs are kind of small so you have to be extra vigilant with the water balance.

    Dragon, I will be looking forward to seeing some pictures-especially of the new compost bin and Stacey I am looking forward to seeing you tub pond when you have it finished as well. I will share the photos with others on here as well. Backyards are something so personal yet so fun that it is nice to share them with others and gain ideas from others as well!

  7. I passed your email address to both Stacey and Dragon... Dragon can be a bit testy at times, but I will vouch for that old fire breathing bud of mine...