DIY Pond – Milk Crate Upcycle!

This DIY pond is our most creative milk crate upcycle. Not withstanding the fact that it also happens to be our only milk craft upcycle to date, if you want to recreate the look of our backyard pond, now is the perfect time of year to get started.

You could be enjoying the tranquil sound of water in your own backyard oasis in no time if you already have a pre-exiting water feature. If you don’t then check out our backyard pond DIY for a tutorial on how to install a pond first.

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Materials and Budget 

Total Budget (without electrical hookup & custom filter system): $623 / $704 with tax

Our Previous Backyard Pond with Bowl

At first, our previous pond was wonderful.

Zen Water Feature

As much as we enjoy watching the water spill over the bowl, it’s definitely hard on the back to install.

Backyard oasis with first version of DIY pond

DIY Pond Using a Milk Crate

So because of the physical effort it takes to install the bowl each spring, Hubs came up with an alternate look! One spring, we found a milk crate and swapped the bowl out for a much lighter water fountain that we can easily drop in place into the pond. It’s not nearly as showy a focal point as the pond shown above, but it is just as lovely once we add additional pond plants and bring out the rest of the decor. This is a great alternative if you also don’t want to go to the effort and expense of building the box/filter system from scratch for the bowl build pond.

So now, when Hubs doesn’t want to lug out the heavy bowl, we revert to this much simpler version of our backyard water feature using the upcycled milk crate. The milk crate fountain runs with a much cheaper pump too so is easier on the pocketbook for anyone starting fresh.

Attaching Weights

To keep the milk crate from floating to the surface, Hubs weighs it down with two stainless steel pipes. He attaches them onto the bottom of opposite ends with black plastic cable ties:

He also uses the plastic ties to secure the pump to the top of the milk crate. How perfect that the ties can wrap around the natural holes in the crate? It’s like this milk crate pond is meant to be!

Since the fountain head needs to rise above the water, the size of the milk crate is brilliant in this version of our backyard pond because our pond is 2 feet deep. You’ll need to work out how high your crate needs to be depending on the depth of the liner you install.

Here you can see the how the pump attaches with the cable ties from the underside of the crate:

All ready to go!

black milk crate with pump and weight attachments for diy pond

Plug the Pump In!

All that’s left to do is to plug it in.

Man plugging in the diy pond

And then adjust the water to your desired height.

Fountain spray in the centre of diy pond surrounded by pond plants

Just make sure it’s not so high that it’s shooting out of the pond or you’ll eventually run dry!

diy pond with pond plants surrounding the fountain spray

Pond Maintenance

Our pond gets direct sunlight so to prevent algae from forming, Hubs adds a special blue pond tint to the water. We use a brand called Aquascape, but there’s a large variety out there. Just made sure the one you choose is totally non-toxic and safe for plants and animals. If you have fish in your pond, it can supposedly help hide them from predators.

The tint stains easily because of the high concentration so Hubs has to be careful he doesn’t get any drips on the surrounding light coloured travertine patio stone! He also wears gloves when he applies it so it doesn’t stain his hands.

The blue tint does look pretty in the pond though and it won’t harm the plants if you choose to add some!

Once your pond is up and running, read our post on pond maintenance at the end and/or start of each season.

Don’t forget to pin!

Pinnable image for diy pond

If you’re interested in installing a pond in your own garden, but want to start out with a smaller project first, like we did, check out our post on how to create a small water feature.

We also show you some creative planter ideas to finish off a backyard space.

UPDATE: For more seasonal inspiration here’s a good representation of some of our other garden projects:

Pin DIY Pond

Stay calm and relax on this summer!  If these projects have inspired you, please pin!

Once winter arrives again, you may want to bring the outdoors in, so check out our indoor water feature.

At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one upcycle at a time.  Follow our blog here if you’re interested in seeing other DIY and upcycle projects, in and around the home. You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.


16 thoughts on “DIY Pond – Milk Crate Upcycle!

  1. Very clever you two! I’ve been wanting a small pond in our backyard since we bought our home twenty-four years ago. We’re planning on tearing down our deck this summer and doing a stone patio instead. If I finally get the pond of my dreams, I’m going to remember your milk crate trick!

    • Thanks so much Marie! We much prefer our stone patio because it will last forever, however no matter how well you install, it may shift over the years. We just had to reinstall ours again and we’re getting too old for that lol! Hope you get your dream pond; you will love the tranquility it brings to your outdoor space!

  2. Your pond is gorgeous. I want a fountain or pond in our backyard. Thank you for sharing your great ideas.

    • There’s nothing like the tranquil sound of water. As a bonus, it also attracts the birds; I love watching them frolic in the water!

    • Thanks DeDe; we can’t wait to get it going this year. We’re still having below seasonal temps (and possibly even snow)!

  3. What a lovely pond! It ads so much beauty to your outdoor space:?

  4. You have a really beautiful garden Sara, and that fish pond is stunning. The use of the milk create is very clever and no more worrying about the stand rotting. I know I say this a lot but those heads are just great, they finish off your garden perfectly.

    • Thanks Anita! Have you seen those heads with sunglasses? Hubs has a little fun and It’s a scream 🙂

  5. Such a pretty little pond! I’d love one in my yard. Will bookmark this post for future reference. 🙂

  6. Oh now that’s really clever, Sara. Ponds and water features are a must in our garden but the maintenance can get you down, especially when our old bones no longer want to play along.

    • We sure do love our water features and totally agree that they’re a must in our garden too. If it weren’t for those old bones, we wouldn’t have to get so creative with our upcycling lol!

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