Building a Garden Pond

The addition of a pond to a garden is nothing to sneeze at, the workload can be arduous, but if you’re avid about wildlife then there is no surer way to attract it close to home.

As with any major construction the success of a pond is determined before your spade ever bites into the soil, in the planning phase.

As always, your first consideration should be the garden as a whole and what, if anything, a pond could add to it. With this mind it is paramount you consider the dimensions of both carefully. While, in theory, a water feature teeming with life might seem an attractive prospect, it can easily become an eye-sore if incorrectly proportioned or styled to the space surrounding it.

Another thing it is important to note is the future presence of children or small animals – even an inch of water still poses a threat if underestimated. Also consider the current role of your garden, if you have children of an age that a pond is no danger, question whether they’d appreciate its presence. A medium sized body of water is no kind of football net!

The most effective way of sitting your pond should be based on where it can be viewed from – ideally an area with clear visibility from the most popular areas of the garden and house. This will also provide visibility when a child or pet is near the pond site.

During the winter months your water and plant life will fall prey to prevailing winds and in the summer to evaporation, so you should perhaps site it near to a hose pipe, but away from raised areas.

Another note, one of overlooked, is to avoid sitting under deciduous trees, as their foliage will settle on the surface and rot, ultimately fouling the water.

Next you must decide on the general structure, as, depending on your preference, certain flora and fauna will require different conditions in order to sustain themselves. For example, if you wish to cater to water-life, then you should forget a sustained wildlife, as the former will make prey of the latter! A fresh water pond populated would provide no safe haven for frogs or their offspring, similarly an amphibian population would require different climate conditions to a family goldfish.

Thus, it is important to tailor your initial dig with an eye to what it is to support. If frogs are to spawn there, then it is necessary to provide them with varying depths of water as they prefer to spawn in the shallows while tadpoles and fledglings will require deeper water to mature in. If fish are the primary concern, then a depth of at least of two feet should be observed so that in a harsh winter there will be sufficient depth of water that the whole pond does not freeze. The same goes for unusually hot summers – so that there are cooler depths for them to retreat to.

If you wish to attract smaller land/air based animals such as hedgehogs and birds, the incline of your Pond Liners will also dictate how hospitable it will be to those who need somewhere convenient to bathe and drink. A pebble ‘beach’ also gives your water based creatures somewhere to bask.

Also remember, if you wish to pursue a fish rich pond, and then be prepared for the costs of meticulous filtration.

For marginal plants to integrate the land/water border, a shelf 30cms wide by 30cms deep is suggested for lining with planting baskets, this will also provide a secondary site for frogs to lay their spawn. Remember only to use aquatic compost as normal compost will encourage algae growth.

The inclusion of pond plants is essential to the aesthetic success of your pond. Without them, algae will take over the water’s surface and turn the pool into a soup of dead plant life, not to mention strangle the surrounding the area of the garden. Take care to avoid invasive species though.