Garden Landscaping Pondlife
One of our many duties as stewards of the Earth is to respect and revere nature as an extension of our gratitude for all it provides, be that through conservation, or simple imitation, and one of the most accessible expressions of both is to include a body of water in your garden landscaping. This is particularly important as during the past century, it is estimated that nearly 70% of ponds have been lost from the UK countryside.
Winter is the ideal time of year to begin constructing your pond, since mid-spring to early summer is the best period to begin planting, which is important to provide shelter and food for your new residents and visitors.
The presence of a regular water source in your garden landscaping will likely attract frogs, toads and other amphibians as well as a host of different birds – guests you can further encourage by placing a ramp or tapered pebble beach from which they can take a drink and still get out again safely. You might also introduce some Koi or other fresh water fish to add colour and movement to the water, although you may find that they tend to eat the tadpoles, so the choice is yours! And you needn’t stop at animal life, there are a plethora of attractive water plants such Water Lilies, Irises, or Reeds to consider.
Even the smallest body of water will attract wildlife and so you might consider, after ensuring they are water tight of course, stone troughs, old bathtubs and sinks, or even old plant pots. However, if you have the room, a larger pond would be ideal. You can go for a pre-formed fibreglass type or, for something more natural looking, you could use a butyl liner. With either, make sure there is a good layer of sand or old carpet underneath to make sure the liner doesn’t get punctured.
When planning your garden landscaping, choose a spot for your pond that’s in the sun for much of the day as, although a little shade can prevent too much algae growth, too much shade is not good for wildlife and overhanging branches will cause leaves to fall and silt up the pond.
For the actual construction, a minimum water depth of 20-30cm should be observed to allow for minimal plant life to sustain itself and for practical reasons it should exceed no more than a metre at its deepest, as this provides a good balance of space for plants and easy access should you need to perform maintenance at depth. Include some shelves around the edge of the pond so that plants which require less depth of water can grow too and plant them up with aquatic compost in baskets recommended for ponds . Also, if you are blessed with particularly wet soil around the pond then you can convert some of it into a bog garden and attract even more species to the garden.