Back Yard Pond Idea – Milk Crate Upcycle!

2 Materials
1 Week

This 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.

Previous Pond

At first, our previous pond was wonderful.

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

Because of the physical effort it takes to install the bowl each spring (he's not getting younger!), 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.

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.

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!

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

And then adjust the water to your desired height.

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


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 (link below where you see our logo).

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 in the front yard too.

We have tons more seasonal inspiration on our blog so head there (link below where you see our logo).

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 Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Suggested materials:
  • Pond liner   (Specialty pond store)
  • Pump   (Specialty pond store)
Birdz of a Feather
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 8 questions
  • Elaine Williamson Elaine Williamson on Apr 29, 2022

    I already have a little pond that we put plants and fish in but having trouble keeping the water clear. What kind of easy filter can you suggest the pond is 2 ft deep x 3.5ft. Any suggestion would be appreciated....thanks

  • Debbie Debbie on May 16, 2022

    How do you keep frogs out? We had a beautiful little pond in our back yard with a small water feature, similar to yours. However, the frogs, thus hundreds of eggs loved it. I couldn't keep them out and the pond clean so it is now a lovely flower garden.

  • Dee Dee on May 20, 2022

    I have a small pond in my back yard never thought of putting the coloring in it. The milk crate is a great idea. I have a statue in the pond that needs cleaning. Any ideas of how or what to use to clean? Do you think I could spray paint the statue?

Join the conversation
5 of 15 comments
  • Linda Moore Linda Moore on Apr 30, 2022

    Love it!!! I really liked the little zen frogs in first pic, but the clean, simple feel of the second pond is amazing. Ya'll did a great job.

  • Joy Joy on May 06, 2022

    This is such a great idea. Your pond is beautiful.

    I had 2 koi ponds for several years. My family and I loved them so much. They were so peaceful. I eventually had to get rid of them because I couldn’t keep the water moccasins out of them. With small children I was afraid for their safety 😟.

    • See 1 previous
    • Geri Smith Geri Smith on May 19, 2022

      Get the product , "snake be gone", they wont come to your pond. It is powder form , just put it around the edges of your pond. I put it in and around my yard and garages. Nothing i hate more than snakes!