How to make a wildlife pond for your garden
Having a wildlife pond in your garden can be a truly wonderful thing. They can be true hives of all kinds of natural creatures, from pond skaters to frogs, and everything in between. To have a wonderful wildlife pond in your garden, there are some things to bear in mind - that's what we're going to be talking about in this article.
Plants in a pond can have a number of different features and functions in the tiny ecosystem that you're creating. For one, this could be to add oxygen to your pond water. Another function could be a plant that would remove certain toxins or waste products from the pond.
Submerged plants are a common first step when planting in a pond. A great example could be hornwort or water starwart. Both of these options are ideal for submerged plants that will work as oxygenating plants, making the pond itself more habitable for aquatic life.
Floating plants can also be important for a pond. The reason for this is that they will reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the pond, allowing less algae to grow in the pond.
Garden ponds are generally distinguished from other ponds in that they're designed to be pretty. A garden pond typically has aesthetically pleasing items throughout and around it, and may not be designed to attract wildlife.
One of the main drawbacks of a garden pond is that a gardener can sometimes accidentally plant an invasive species within the pond, negatively impacting the biodiversity of the garden that it's sitting in.
Understanding how to make a wildlife pond can be a little tricky, but the core element to bear in mind for wildlife ponds is that they are typically built with nature in mind, making room for nearby elements of the world.
For example, when considering how to make a wildlife pond in your garden, you might look out for animals in your garden that would appreciate an aquatic environment. For example, any birds in nest boxes would surely appreciate the flying insects that typically accompany ponds.
What if I want to make a bigger wildlife pond?
Typically, the best way to make a larger pond than the one that you currently have is to dig and construct a new pond, and then construct a channel between the two.
Typically, this is achieved to create a good wildlife pond that has more room for different types of plants and animals. The new pond, for example, might have slightly more room for plant roots to grow, while the old one might get more sunlight.
Add water to wildlife ponds
Generally speaking, tap water can be used to add water to wildlife ponds. If you've read a lot of guides on the subject of how to make a wildlife pond, you might have read that you should only use rainwater to fill a pond.
While rainwater is ideal, even the largest water butt in the world isn't going to provide people with an endless supply of water with which that can fill a pond.
When topping off a pond, using rainwater is ideal. However, if you really need to, you can add tap water in small increments. Any additives in the water will be diluted by the water already in the pot, allowing you plenty of room to breathe.
Unwanted pond guests
We all adore having some guests in the pond, particularly if they're ones that we love to have around. The obvious example, here, is a frog that is using your pond for frogspawn.
However, when studying how to make a wildlife pond, you may consider that there are some creatures you might not want making an appearance. Typically, these are birds that might predate upon creatures in your pond.
The best way to deter these guests is to place mesh over the surface of the pond. Placing it directly on the surface won't be wonderfully helpful for creatures like fish and frogs, so we would suggest securing the mesh around two or three inches above the surface of the pond. That way, birds won't be able to gain access, but you can still expect a frog or two at the pond edge.
Attracting animals to your pond
The best way to attract animals to your pond is to allow your pond to be as inviting as possible. You can do this by introducing many species of pond plants that are eaten by creatures local to you. With a little research, you can surely find a few native plants from your area sure to help you out with attracting animals.
Another great idea is to allow for the pond edge to be gently sloped. This will allow animals to easily enter and exit your pond with very little extra work, leading to more creatures living there with little effort.
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention the idea of sunspots and shady spots throughout your pond. They will allow for a greater variety of pond creatures in your garden since not all creatures love all weather conditions.
Looking after your wildlife pond
Maintaining your wildlife pond is far too complex to totally get into here, instead, we're simply going to mention pruning.
Surface-dwelling pond plants are vitally important to ensure that there isn't too much sun in the pond. However, there does still need to be a little, as that little sun will allow fish to see, and water-borne bacteria to photosynthesize.
Aim to find a good balance in your pond by allowing, at most, fifty percent of the pond surface to be covered with pond plants. This should allow for a good mixture between cover and sunlight.
A step-by-step guide
Considering the specific spot that your pond will be in is important. We would recommend that you should place a pond on sunny soil. This will allow the pond to thrive with photosynthesis, while also providing warmer water for your fish.
Place (or draw up a list of) a number of different pond accessories around the edge of the pond. These will ensure that any pond animals have a space to retreat to, should predators arrive near the pond.
The digging process is much simpler than you might think. Consider the ideal root depth for the plants you might like, and start to dig!
If you're terribly concerned about the digging process, you could opt for shallow-water plants. This will ensure you don't have to dig as deep in your garden.
Lining and filling
Pond liner is a fairly cheap material. You can buy a rigid liner if you would prefer, but we would recommend a flexible pond liner. That will allow you to totally form the liner to the contours of the hole you're creating, leading to an even, well-filled final pond.
After you've filled the pond (ideally with rain water) you can add any plants that you might like to the pond. This will allow you to ensure that the pond is well-oxygenated, allowing for a good home for wildlife.
The water forget me not is a great choice for a pond plant as it can be planted in shallow water, or on the banks of your pond.
How do you make a simple wildlife pond?
A simple wildlife pond couldn't be more simple to make. Digging a hole and lining it with a pond liner is a good first choice, and then following that with plenty of rainwater will allow for a great level of water content within the pond itself.
Finish off the pond with some native plants a good choice, such as water forget me not if you're in the UK. That plant's not only pretty, but it's also really easy to care for in a small wildlife pond.
What is the best depth for a wildlife pond?
Anywhere between eight inches and two feet will be ideal for a wildlife pond in your garden.
The reason for that range is that there are plenty of plants and animals that might prefer something deeper or shallower, so choose what plants you'd like, and plan a depth based on that.
What do you put in the bottom of a wildlife pond?
A layer of something rigid and semi-permeable is ideal to provide a 'substrate' - something to plant in. For example, you should remove sharp stones from the sides and base of the pond you're creating, and then line it with a layer of wet sand.
That provides a simple soil that plants will be easily planted in before their roots dig deeper into the soil beneath your pond.
What can I use to make a wildlife pond?
To make a wildlife pond that will inspire garden wildlife to appear, we would recommend using local plants.
Doing a little research online will yield you a list of plants that are totally native to the area that you're in, and can be ideal for your new pond.
To make a very simple pond, dig a very shallow hole, and allow rainwater to fill it. That will create a bog garden area, that you can fill with bog-loving plants, such as marsh marigold.
What is a mini pond in a pot?
A container pond, or a mini pond, is precisely what it sounds like. It's a way of creating a small pond without needing to dig a giant hole, which allows you to plant some beautiful pond plants without having to do all of the hard work of digging a pond.