Bathtubs in the gardens can be for bathing, for fish or for planters! We’ll show how to create a dreamy outdoor bath, or colorful planter and learn how to make a bathtub fish pond.
Refreshing outdoor bathing
Relaxing in a bathtub filled with steaming hot water is a pleasant way to start, or end the day. But our soaking tubs are not indoors like most,…they’re outdoors…surrounded by a beautiful garden. You can also enjoy a long hot soak without paying for an expensive hot tub…
Becky Doucette transformed her unique tub and it’s the “Stuff Dreams are made of!” She says, “My tub is eight feet long, four feet wide and three feet deep….made out of fiberglass. It was a old fish tub and can be filled with water from my well, and emptied from a drain at the bottom. It’s not heavy, so it can be moved any where,… simple and easy!”
“I placed it at the very end of my back lawn…you can’t tell from the picture but it’s quite private. I really enjoy it. There’s solar lights floating inside and at night they turn different colours. It’s cool to look down in my back yard and see the different colours in the dark…it looks like aliens have landed! I take a dip whenever and sometimes lay on floating lounge while having a glass of wine.”
Annie Albright really uses her outdoor tub, enclosed with fencing and a towel nearby, she can soak to her heart’s content after a day of gardening.
Tub detail,…flowers and herbs are a fragrant treat.
Anne-Marie and Jeff Allen’s tub has humble origins,but shows how the setting is key for your outdoor tub whether for bathing or for show. Theirs once served as a place to clean tools and keep drinks cold during parties before the Allens spruced it up to use as a bath. Hot and cold running water leads to a newly enameled green tub set on a thick stone slab.
- Have a plumber hook up hot and cold water for a truly luxurious experience, or simply add a bucket of very hot water for a refreshing cool summer bath.
- Your tub already has ‘drainage’ but if using one as a planter, tip it slightly, so the drain end is a bit lower so it drains easily.
- Surround your tub with a flagstone or gravel patio, a wood slat ‘bathmat’ and fill in the spaces with Japanese black pebbles for a serene Zen look.
- Create screens with bamboo or birch branches and plantings to create privacy. Gardenia, jasmine, and sweet olive can fill the air with perfume.
How to: Create a bathtub fish pond
Jane Mesch says, “This is my goldfish pond. I found an old claw foot tub and rigged up a pump and shower head. I love to hear the water as I sit out on the deck or patio.”
Jane used these supplies:
- Lamp base and the metal casing
- PVC pipe
- Small pond pump
- Old shower head
“This shows the top how the pvc pipe elbowed out and hooked up to a shower head. (We drilled larger holes in the shower head because it gets plugged easily. I clean it every week or two so it doesn’t drip as much but showers more.)”
“This shows how we wired the casing to the center rod of the lamp post. I wound silk ivy around it to hide what we had done.”
“I used the base of an old floor lamp and ran pvc pipe through it for the shower. And my husband wondered what I would do with an old lamp base when I brought it home! I pulled the metal casing of the lamp off which left the center rod of the lamp. We elbowed the pvc pipe up, slipped the metal casing over it, and wired it to the center rod.”
This is how we ran the water to the shower, we used a small pond pump, hooked it to pvc pipe and ran it out the hole of the tub below the faucets.
Jane says, “I added some rocks as shelter in the bottom of the tub, plastic plants, silk lily pads, a ceramic frog on a rock, and of course my fish. In the winter the fish go to my kindergarten classroom.”
Garden ‘bath tub’ scenes
Nancy Butcher tells us, “This is a project we did this summer. The tub is from our house, the sink was found in a pasture north of the house, the enamelware was in an abandoned house. The shelf and chair were dumped along the road. My husband hooked the sink up to a pump in the tub so the faucet runs, when the sink is full it trickles over the edges back into the tub.
Jeanne Sammons says, “Last year I started planting more shrubbery among the pine path leading to my Secret Garden, hoping to hide it from view of houses. With a little persuasion my hubby helped me hook up my old claw foot bathtub from another location and drag it out with the ‘Gator’ to the pine path here.”
Jeanne planted astilbe and coral bells in her tub and hosta around the base. Her garden ‘frame’ frames a view through the pines.
Donna Dunn tinted the water blue in her tub, designed as a water source for all the thirsty creatures around her garden. She says, “My idea for recycling a claw-foot bathtub works as a watering hole for the wildlife, also. Birds, squirrels and deer all use it. We have terrible droughts in Central Texas and they really appreciate having a drink of water.”
Donna created a solid surface for her tub which still has its ‘feet’ and placed rocks inside so the animals will have firm footing themselves. Water is circulated through a watering can and down a chain into the tub.
To add to the bath scene, add a sink or vanity like these savvy gardening scavengers:
Carmen Mcginnis says, “I found this metal vanity at Goodwill for a few bucks and just couldn’t resist the thought of it being a planter. I am looking for a little metal stool that I can cover with Iris moss, if I can’t find one, I will repurpose something else!”
Kathy Engel’s sink would make a great accompaniment to any bathtub scene in the garden.