How to Create a Natural Looking Mini Pond in Your Sandy Florida Shade Garden

Sheri F. Harper By Sheri F. Harper, 7th May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Ponds

If you have problems with local wildlife invading your pool, you might want to add a mini pond that allows birds, butterflies, lizards, snakes and mammals take a drink of water and/or bathe, here’s how.


We moved to Florida three years ago and have slowly begun to understand the local plants and animals that live in our suburban neighborhood. From a neighbor, we learned that our housing community was mostly sandy soil fill on top of a swamp area with some mulch and top soil added by the previous owners. Because we are landscaping our yard to add more varied plants and to include quite a few native and wildlife attracting plants. One area sits along a fence and is shaded many hours of the day.

A Natural Looking Mini Pond Can Save the Lives of Local Wildlife

We’ve found that numerous creatures want to get into the pool including a swamp snake that we helped out via a pole skimmer, frogs, caterpillars and many other creatures show up at the sound of water. Frogs end up in our pool skimmer. Caterpillars disintegrate and it’s kind of yucky and I’d far prefer that they turned into butterflies.

Options for Providing Water in Your Sandy Florida Shade Garden

My husband had previously owned a bird bath and hated it because it required so much work to clean. My mom had dug a recirculating pool that ended up filled with algae. My son dug deeper, had better water quality but then found the Great Blue Heron’s wanted to eat his fish. A friend suggested just using a garbage can lid turned upside down and giving it a spray of water to clean up now and then. My solution was to use a plastic sled from K-Mart—price under $10. The advantage of the sled was it had handled on either side for ease of picking up and cleaning.

Trees Used Around the Natural Looking Mini Pond

Because my soil is sandy and the area shady most of the day from a fence and from a neighbor’s live oak tree, I selected on narrow tree to add as a back drop. My choice was a weeping yaupon holly which is native, tolerates sand and drought and was filled with Cedar Waxwings during migration at a local store.

Flowering Plants Used Around the Natural Looking Mini Pond in Florida

Bulbine is not a local but it is a favorite of butterflies. Milkweed is a native and is a favorite of butterflies. Various iris and turf lily were also used. I hope to add more bulbs before I am finished. The rest of the plants are a mixture of native grasses.

Mulch Used Around the Natural Looking Mini Pond in Florida

Mulch is a garden has four primary functions—retain soil, moisture, provide nutrients and prevent weeds. To help keep the sand from blowing into the pond and pool, I chose two forms of mulch—natural washed shell since Florida has huge quantities and therefore low cost and a flat black stone that the previous owner used in the yard. I plan to put down landscape fabric to keep the weeds down.


Florida, Florida Wildlife, Mini Pond, Natural, Sandy, Shade Garden

Meet the author

author avatar Sheri F. Harper
Sheri is a freelance article writer, poet, and author of science fiction books. She worked 20 years in the Aviation Industry as a Systems Analyst / Data and Process Architect.

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