You don't need to have masses of space to enjoy the beauty and movement of a water feature. Even if all you've got is a patio, you can still have a pond: just build one in a half-barrel container.
You'll find rustic half-barrels available year-round at our garden centre. One of the prettiest ways to use them is as a pond to enjoy just outside the back door. There are plenty of pond plants which are quite happy in a container, and you'll also find wildlife enjoy a half-barrel pond just as much as they do a conventional one.
All you need is the half-barrel, a few bricks and some gravel, and of course your plants. Here's how:
• If the half-barrel is dry, soak overnight so the wood swells up and becomes watertight. If you're having trouble preventing leaks, line the tub with a piece of butyl liner, stapling it to the wood just below the top.
• Place some bricks in the bottom at different heights, just like the varying shelves in a pond. Add a layer of gravel around 5cm deep on the bottom.
• Fill with water, preferably saved rainwater as it hasn't got as many chemicals in it as tap water so the plants and wildlife will do better in it. If you have to use tap water, leave it to stand for a couple of days to let the chlorine evaporate.
• Plant your pond up with a selection of different plants, placing a waterlily at the deepest part of the pond and then sitting the other plants on your bricks at different heights. To fill your half-barrel pond with plants, you'll need about four or five – go for dwarf types, better-suited to growing in containers. Try to include lots of different types, from waterlilies to oxygenating plants.