Oak Barrel Bog - suggestions / do's / don'ts ?


coyotes call me Charles
Oct 23, 2011
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Dalhart Texas
Hardiness Zone
At Lowes, I got three 40inche wide, almost 2 feet deep, oak barrels. I am going to try to set them up as a little mini-bogs, morphing the designs from Addy and others so to fit the circular shap of these oak barrels. I think the oak barrels were a limitied time deal because the other Lowes on the other side of town did not have any. I am afraid they might be a little too big, but they seemed like such a good deal so I just bought 3 of them. :razz: :razz:

Barrels holds almost 100 gallons if filled to the top, but I not going to fill it that high with pea gravel.

I was thinking of sitting a barrel right next to my stream and water feature berm, extremely close to the berm. Not directly on the berm since I am afraid the weight of the barrel with pea gravel will cause the berm to sink.

Then, the barrels will have a very aggressive 1" slope where the low end of the barrel waterfalls into my stream or water feature. I was think the aggressive slope would allow the barrel to reach over the berm, so that none of the water dribbles out on the wrong side of the berm. I am hoping it works this way. Otherwise, I think I will have to extend my pond liner to be sure all the water goes into the stream or water feature. A nice looking spout would help with this extension over the berm. Anyone know of a nice looking spout or spigot or shoot I could attach to the barrel ?? something rustic, metal looking.


Once of my main concern is that, since these barrels are going to be above ground bogs, the winter is likely going to completely freeze over the barrels, killing my plants, and possibly busting the barrels. So, I am not for sure what to do, either add a little insulation, move the plants to my barn, or just drain the water, let the plants freeze, then fill with water once I know the hard freeze period of winter is done. These barrels are quite sturdy, but I know expanding ice will still likely break the seams and, over time, bust the wood; so, not gonna keep the barrels filled with water over the winter. I think it might work out better than I hope, maybe. :)

I think I am definitely going to drain them and I was thinking of throwing a solar blanket over them so snow melting and refreezing would not occur. I don't know if I want to go into the expense of a stock heater or a heat trace cable. My plug box is already full and I am reaching 12 amps on my 20 amp breaker during the winter. Heck, if I gotta run more electric line, then that's fine. So, if I should do the stock heater or heat cable, then I'll do it.

I am also thinking of puting pond liner inside the barrel. I have heard of oak swelling and shrinking so I don't want any possible leaking at all. Should I paint the barrel with some sort of patio deck water sealant??


I have been reading the other bog build threads here. I am planning on doing these bogs where the water is pushing from pvc pipe at the bottom.

I was thinking of constructing the pipe at the bottom to be like an octagon. I was thinking of having two octagons, a small one and a big one, small one will lay inside the big one. I was thinking this would help with a good even flow up through the pea gravel. Not for sure on this. Am I going right??

I am sure though I am going to miss something.

I figure it is not much different than building a typical in-ground bog.

Any suggestions / do's / don'ts appreciated. :razz: :razz:


Jul 13, 2011
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NE Indiana
Hardiness Zone
United States
Not sure if I can help with all your questions. Someone on here my have better suggestions. But I would try to create some sort of ip for the water to flow out of on the low side of your barrell. I'm just wondering without something there to direct the water if it would just run down the side of the barrel. Also I would think just one straight pvc pipe with slits cut 1.5" apart, across the bottom middle of the barrel should be good for getting your water through the gravel. My bog is somewhat of a round square shape and that is what I have done. Somewhere on here Addy has a sticky for building a bog that is really helpful. Also Nelson Water Gardens has great information for building bogs too, they are located in Texas, maybe they arae close to you? If you have to much pipe releasing to much water at once into the bog then the water may go through it to fast to get the full filtration benefits. But that would depend on your pump too I think.

As for winter, this is going to bemy first winter with my bog, and I too am not really sure what to do to ensure nothng dies or breaks or leaks when all is said and done. I think I will drain my bog as well. Cut back the folliage of the plants like you would any perenial, and let it go. I read that some marginal/bog plants are fine to freeze completely solid and my plants in the bog are all on that list. Other plants don't take a completely solid freeze well, and I have read that you can just cover your bog with a tarp and insulate over the tarp with mulch to protect those plants. That would be much cheaper then a heater or solar blanket I think.

Good luck with your bogs, thay sound like they will be really pretty. And great deal on the barrels too!

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