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Building a wildlife pond - Part 1


By sean50p


Last year we built ourselves a garden pond. We’d talked about it for a year or two and finally bit the bullet and gave it a go. Although I’m no expert I think it’s worth sharing my experience and hope it helps you if you’re planning your own hole in the ground.

We have always wanted a wildlife pond, something to attract insects and frogs. Apparently ponds support a greater diversity of life than any other garden habitat, and are one of the best ways to attract a range of wildlife.

As well as creatures and plants living in the pond, mammals and birds will come to drink or bathe. Sounds fun!

Below is a quick teases of how it all works out.

First off then is a list and a little planning, (Failure to plan is planing to fail and all that). I found the list also helps break the jobs into sizable, do-able chucks.

Most of the text below is a mixture of information I have gathered from various websites.

1. Decide on the site, shape and depth of the pond.
2. Clear the top surface area of the pond from gravel, turf, grass etc and either reuse in other parts of the garden or keep to one side for any finishing touches.
3. Before you dig know where your going to put the excavated soil.
4. Dig the pond site to your planned shape and depth.
5. Measure the deep end to make sure you are down far enough.
6. Clear the hole of stones, roots, sharp edges and loose dirt.
7. Line the hole with a layer of soft building sand
8. Line the sanded hole with underlay material.
9. Position the liner over the hole.
10. Start filling the pond liner.
11. Trim off excess liner when the pond is full.
12. Lay your edging material.
13. Stock the pond with oxygenating plants.

The pond before it was a Pond, 29 June 2010. This space is just crying out to be used. (Cam C902)

April is a good month to dig out a new pond as it gives you the rest of summer for it to get established, so let’s get started.

1. Decide on the site, shape and depth of the pond.

The ideal pond site is in a sunny spot, sheltered from cold northerly winds and well away from trees that shed their leaves. Too much shade will encourage algal growth, while falling leaves will soon clog up the pond in autumn.

The simplest way of establishing the shape and size you want is to lay garden hose or rope out on the pond site, and to view it from various positions. A healthy pond needs to be in full sun for as may hours as possible every day. Plenty of sunshine will warm the water and encourage plant growth. Plants with floating leaves will give some shade to pond dwellers.

Think of pond maintenance, ease of access, will make this job much easier.

Allow for an overspill, ideally into a marshy area or a soak away. You don’t want excess water draining into a neighbour’s garden.

No pond is too small to be useful but if possible, aim for a minimum of 4 to 5 square meters surface area. This will allow frog or newts to breed, as well as some dragonfly species.

Shape is not critical, but is probably best kept simple. An informal curved shape will look good for a wildlife pond.

Depth profile is important. The deepest point should be at least 75cm, this will allow hibernating amphibians and invertebrates to survive the coldest winters when the pond is frozen over.

There should be a shelf about 20 to 30 cm deep to place emergent plants on. Finally, there should be a gently sloping shallow area; this can be used by bathing birds, and as it will warm up quickly in sunny weather will be occupied by many invertebrates.

You can find Part 2 here

You can find Part 3 here

You can find Part 4 here

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I've had ponds for years buti have fish in mine...

13 Aug, 2011


The cats would love the fish too much I think, I'm reliably informed that frogs aren't that tasty!

13 Aug, 2011


I've got 2 cats although they sit and watch my fish they do not bother with them all they is drink from the pond, the one's you have to watch is the herons and magpies as magpies took 2 of my big fish last year, i now have netting over them but left enough uncovered for the wildlife and a slope if they get in they can get out, as i have a hedgehog and squirrel come in my garden.

14 Aug, 2011


young herons used to fish in our pond and would find our fish pierced with a hole straight through. The frogs would try and mate with them at night and we would find them floating on top of the pond in the morning.

At first we were baffled by the floating remains, so after dark when the frog chorus had begun we went out with a torch to see the culprits in action. It's very macabre to see a fish being held under water by a frog in the belief that he has found his perfect mate.

After many pounds spent replacing fish and netting, we gave up and just let it be inhabited by the locals.

16 Aug, 2011


Wise choice by the sounds of it. :¬)

16 Aug, 2011

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