Backyard Boat Pond

7 Materials
3 Days
Hi, I'm Liz from Simple Decorating Tips, a DIY and decorating blog. This is a super fun post I've been keeping in my back pocket since I got the backyard boat pond completed last fall!
Don't you just love the sound of water? I sure do! The calm soothing sound of a water fountain is so pleasant in the summer. At every one of the past 3 houses we've had, I've created a different type of water feature. I wanted a water feature in our backyard at our new house, but did not want the commitment, or cost of a built-in pond. I got a little creative and made a DIY backyard boat pond after seeing a similar one on Facebook a while back!Yup! It's a pond INSIDE a boat!This was a fun project to do and it's just plain 'ole fun to have! 
I found an old aluminum boat... Well, actually it sorta found me! I put a 'wanted... looking for an old boat' type of notice out there on Facebook Marketplace, and the gentleman that owned this boat contacted me. For $50 he was happy to get it out of his yard and I was glad to get it for a low cost investment for my boat pond.After we got it home, we set it in the backyard to be sure it was going to fit how I envisioned it. This also gave us the opportunity to mark the lawn where it needed the grass gone and landscape fabric and rock laid. I had a vision of it looking like the boat was on the edge of the water, on an island of sorts.To work on the boat, we set it up on sawhorses in the driveway. I sanded and scraped every loose and flaking bit of paint off it. I wanted to repaint it and didn't want the paint to easily flake off after doing so. 
The boat was aluminum, except for an attached wooden board on the inside back. This board gives it support for the motor to attach to. The board was showing signs of rot, and since this would be totally submersed in the pond water. I thought that maybe I could just remove the board and not need to replace it, but the back of the boat was just too wobbly. There would be a considerable amount of weight pushing against it when the boat was filled with water, so I decided to replace the wood with something waterproof.We traced the existing board, with a few minor adjustments to cut the replacement one. The replacement board is Trex dimensional lumber. We had a wide piece of white Trex left over from work on the front porch.
It was finally time to paint the boat! It was scraped, sanded, washed, rinsed and dried. Yay! That prep part is never fun, but it's really necessary for the rest to last.Since the inside would have plants and fish in it, and because it would be submersed under water I wanted to be sure I was getting the right kind of paint for the inside boat pond. After some research, I found a paint specifically for inside ponds. It's not cheap paint! But I figured it was worth it. HERE is the link for this special pond paint.The exterior received a coat of bonding primer, (very important to use a bonding primer! HERE is my favorite one) and then a couple coats of white exterior paint with the addition of blue for the trim. 
The final bit of fun detail was the reference to the S.S. Minnow.My husband and I grew up watching Gilligan's Island. A boat pond is whimsical in itself, so to add a little more fun was easy! I kept this Gilligan's Island part for a surprise for him. The wording is a custom decal I ordered from a gal on Etsy, (see link for her at end of post too). She was extraordinary helpful with sizing, font to match the Gilligan show and directions for installing it. 
The day I got the lettering put on the boat, I timed the 'big reveal' for him so that right before he got home, I was playing the Gilligan's Island theme song on the porch speaker. The S.S. Minnow reveal was fun!This verse of the song was kinda perfect for our boat pond... after all, it did set ground on this tiny un-chartered isle... in our backyard. ;)I love a little whimsy in decorating, (or a lot)! I can be like a kid with my imagination and setting the stage 'for the story' of the decorating. 
We have spent a lot of time in Maine. Yet, the one authentic lobster trap we purchased there, stayed there at the cottage we had. When it was time to landscape around our new backyard boat pond, hands down, we both knew it needed a lobster trap. This is the funny part, I found one for sale, in Wisconsin! I just think that's so funny! It's about the furthest you can be from an ocean... and yet that's where I found one for sale.To add to the nautical feel, we got a big green treated log. My husband cut it down for some 'wharf piers' with the chainsaw. I didn't want them perfectly placed, and didn't want to have to dig them in down below frost line and all that. Instead, we secured them to the ground by drilling holes in the bottom of each cut log piece and pounded re-rods in them. 
Those re-rods then pushed into the ground and hold the posts firm.
I added a fun curly 'Corkscrew Rush' bog plant inside a plastic pot inside the boat, along with some other floating water plants.Where the pond sits, is pretty much full sun, the water in the boat was heating up too much during the day, so I placed umbrellas around it to shade it most of the day and help keep the water cooler.On the original post at my I shared a sort of a funny/sad story about how I learned the water was too warm... (pop over to the original post at Simple Decorating Tips if you're interested in this personal story) In the original post on my blog I have a few other links, that there just isn't room for here. Researching afterward, I found out the warm water doesn't hold enough oxygen in it for the fish to survive, hence the umbrella shades. One of the striped umbrellas is on the patio table, and the other two are strategically placed around the boat pond. I repeated the black and white theme from the vintage window awnings I painted. (see original post)Plants, like lily pads, growing in the pond and shading it with their leaves will help keep the water cooler. I just didn't have time so late in the season to get many plants growing. 
It was late last summer that I finished the backyard boat pond. The trickling water sounds lovely. I am excited to get it uncovered and going again this spring! I've already ordered several more water plants!On the landscape rock 'island' I planted free flowing 'Maiden Grass' that hopefully will fill in around the boat pond, and around the little bridge.This boat pond gives my ears that soothing trickling water sound, in a fun and pretty darn kitschy sort of way. LOLWhat fun garden or landscape project do you have planned this summer? 
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Liz at Simple Decorating Tips
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  • Frances Ivonne Brensdal Frances Ivonne Brensdal on Apr 23, 2020

    Is there anything that the boat could be coated with or that could be put in the boat that would keep the water from getting too warm?

  • Nanou Nanou on May 08, 2020

    It’s so beautiful! I need some time to find a similar boat, but I can start something else I saw and love near the boat : the little bridge. Did you make it? If so can you post the diy for building it? Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Nickie Nickie on May 17, 2020

    What did you do about water circulation?

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