Best raised ponds for a modern garden – no digging required

These easy-to-install pools are a stylish way to enjoy the beauty of water in your garden.

corten pond

by Jill Morgan |
Updated on

Fancy losing yourself in a dreamy reflection of the sky or whiling away a moment observing a visiting dragonfly, glass in hand? Then you need a raised pond in your plot.

These above-ground ponds are an easy way to bring all the benefits of water into your garden. They take just a few hours to position and fill, and they create a beautifully framed feature. And like a sunken pond, you can fill it with fish and or aquatic plants.

What to consider when buying a raised pond?

Before you purchase a raised pond for your garden, there are a few things to consider, such as shape, size and material. Here is a guide to help you find the perfect fit for your outdoor space.

What types of shapes and sizes are there?

From cylinders and graceful deep bowls to slick square and rectangular troughs, there are plenty of options to complement your garden layout. Of course, the larger the pond the bigger – and more impressive – the reflection, so go for the largest size you can, even in a smaller space, as the water surface will bounce light around.

A long rectangular trough is a useful zoning tool between a dining and lounging area or to add interest to a tiered plot or retaining wall, while round designs work well in small seating areas or as a show-stealing border feature.

When looking at size, consider how hefty the empty pond will be to install, and where your pond will sit. Even a small pond will be heavy once filled with water, a deciding factor if it’s to be positioned on a balcony, roof garden or a deck.

Any water feature will attract green algae over time and the easiest way to clean it is to detach any pump or lighting and drain the container, so another important consideration is where this volume of water will go. It’s not a problem if your pond is going to be alongside a lawn but if you’re planning for it to sit in the centre of a paved area then you may want to minimise the issue with a smaller pond.

What are the different types of materials?

The material a pond is made from affects the weight and price, as well as how well it’ll last in the face of British weather.

Corten steel This striking rust-streaked metal is a favourite with most garden designers and it’s used for ponds of just about every size and geometric shape. Raised ponds are usually fabricated from 3mm-thick Corten steel, making them extremely strong and durable.

Delivered in an unweathered state, it takes about four months of exposure to the elements before the characteristic streaks and colour begin to form. This is a natural process that forms a self-protecting rust layer and prevents the inner steel from deteriorating.

During this time there will be some natural run off from the steel, which can stain the surface it’s standing on, so it’s worth raising the pond off any paving or decking for the first six months, after which the weathering process should be complete. High-quality Corten ponds are often coated on the inside to prevent the water from reacting with the rust, which would prove toxic to fish or any other visiting wildlife.

Fibreglass and resin mix Tough yet lightweight, ponds made from this mix are frost - and weatherproof. Formed into smooth seamless vessels, they need little upkeep and imitate many different materials such as stone, concrete and ceramic at a fraction of the price.

Powder-coated aluminium Available in a wide range of bold colours, these ponds are relatively lightweight and weatherproof. The metal undergoes a dry electrostatic process then it’s cured with heat to create a tough hardwearing finish. This can last for up to 20 years but the colour can fade over time if exposed to direct sunlight and the surface can weaken if chipped and damp seeps in. These ponds are usually lined with a black non-toxic rubberised liner.

Pressurised FSC timber Often sold in kit form, these wooden ponds require a pond liner to make them watertight, the top edge of which can be secured under the top coping level for a neat finish. Expect a wooden pond to last for around 15 years and the wood to naturally silver if left untreated.

Faux rattan Designs with a faux rattan outer give the impression that they’re more garden furniture than garden structure. Recent improvements to manufacturing advances have led to synthetic rattan or resin wicker with a more realistic appearance. Still made from extruded polyethene, it’s worth looking for mono-extrusion processes where the dye is present throughout the entire strand, rather than just the coating, making any scratches much less visible. These strands are then woven around a rigid steel or aluminium frame.

So without further ado, let's take a look at the best-raised ponds to upgrade your outdoor space and make a beautiful natural statement.

Best raised ponds

Corten centrepiece

corten steel raised bed in leafy garden
Price: £1,395/120 x 80 x 40cm


Clean lines give this Corten steel pond plenty of personality and the non-toxic polyurea coating

Stress-free style

grey rattan raised pond on decking area
Price: £169.99/66 x 46 x 57cm


A raised design with a difference, this high pond is made from polyrattan and comes with a 

Design statement

white aluminium raised pond set into pink flowers and wooden decking
Price: £2,848/1200 x 800 x 400mm


Made from sturdy 4mm aluminium, this contemporary design comes in black or grey as stand-ard but

Wooden blocks

wooden raised pond blocks with aquatic plants
Price: £879.25/3m x 1.875m x 0.65m


If you’ve got timber-raised beds then this nifty pond kit will fit right in. Creating a dramatic

On-trend terracotta tones

terracotta round raised ribbed pond
Price: £447/Dia1m x H50cm


Love the character of terracotta but worried about frost? This fibreglass-resin pond is the

Bold but bijou

cylinder corten steel raised pond
Price: £832.42/Dia1m x 50cm


This neat cylinder design with a wide rim makes a real impact in a small space. Made from Corten

Affordable beauty

round raised pond on sunny deck next to rattan chair and lantern
Price: £399.98/Dia60cm x H35cm


This curvy design is made from a weather-resistant mix of fibreglass and resin. Knock-, chip- and

Smart-buy slimline trough

poly-terrazzo raised pond with aquatic plants
Price: £229.99/80 x 30 x 40cm


Great for popping below a window or up against a wall or fence, this poly-terrazzo-raised pond is

Sleek modern curves

grey raised pond bowls
Price: £233/small Dia80cm x H36cm


Lightweight and easy to maintain, these glamorous frost-proof bowls are a tough mix of resin and

Five extras to upgrade your pond


Enjoy your raised pond after-dark with these solar-panel-powered underwater lights.


Keep your pond lovely and clear and algae-free, the natural way, with very little effort from you.


Fill your raised ponds with aquatic plants the easy way, for a great-looking feature and shade and


For crystal-clear healthy water, simply drop in a Pure Pond Bomb and let the friendly bacteria and

black liquid pond dye
Price: £10.95/95ml


Strengthen reflections with this fish, bird and other wildlife-friendly black dye.

Raised ponds FAQs

Why is raised better?

Besides their stunning looks, there’s no need for any back-breaking digging or shifting of soil, saving on time, energy, cost and mess. As long as you have a clear level site, you can skip the chore of taking excavated soil to the tip or trying to distribute it around the garden.

Raising the water level also makes it more unlikely that children or pets will stumble into it – though obviously there is still a risk. It’s less accessible to some wildlife as well though, but you can install ramps to counter this.

These ponds make a striking architectural statement and there are plenty of contemporary finishes to choose from including weathered Corten steel, smooth powder-coated aluminium and mottled faux-stone fibreglass, all of which accentuate the bold sleek shapes. Another bonus is that these beauties can be moved far more easily than a sunken pond, once emptied, which is handy if you fancy changing your garden layout or are moving home.

Where should I position it?

Where you stand your pond will impact on how much work it takes to maintain. The golden rule is to avoid overhanging trees and shrubs as the fallen foliage can cause smelly sludge to form. Aim for a spot that receives at least half a day of sun as this will help keep the water clear and allow plants to thrive.

A stable level surface is super important when installing a raised pond as any sloping issues with the container will instantly be highlighted by the water. Place on a layer of sand or gravel so the surface can easily be levelled if needed.

If you’re thinking of adding a pump or lighting, consider how close the nearest mains power point is. You may need these additions hardwiring into an exterior weatherproof power point, depending on output and period of use.

Do I need a liner?

If you’re building a raised pond from brick, blockwork or a timber kit, you’ll need to add a pond liner to keep it watertight. There are many different types of flexible liner, or geomembrane, to choose from.

Our recommendations are LLDPE (linear low density polyethylene) as it’s affordable, flexible and the fabric’s tightly woven construction means that snags won’t run, plus it’s laminated on both sides with a UV-resistant coating, allowing long-term outdoor use; and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), which is soft, durable and copes well in most temperatures with little risk of cracking. It’s heavy to handle and expensive but a good option for long-term use. Both of these are non-toxic for fish.

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