How to make a Small Garden Wildlife Pond Quickly and Easily
24th May 2019
The number of ponds has halved in Britain over the last century, but thankfully there is a renewed interest in restoring and creating new ponds in gardens. They are one of the best things you can do to make your garden wildlife friendly, as they can attract amphibians such as frogs, toads, and newts, aquatic insects, dragonflies and damselflies, as well as provide a drinking source for birds. Preformed ponds are are a quick and easy way to make a pond in your garden. Here are a few tips to make a great wildlife pond, even in the smallest of gardens.
Video credit - Urban Ponds 101
Buy a Preformed Pond
Preformed ponds are ready made plastic ponds, that just need to be added to a prepared hole in the garden. They are a lot simpler to install than pond underlay and liner. Flexible pond liner is great for larger ponds, but for a small wildlife pond, the preformed ponds are perfect.
Gardenis.co.uk sell 3 sizes of preformed pond;
Small - 85 litres is about the size of a large Belfast sink (£37 inc UK delivery)
Medium - 200 litres is about the size of a small bath (£60 inc UK delivery)
Large - 420 litres, the surface area of an average fireside rug. (£106 inc UK delivery)
(Delivery is usually 1 to 2 days excluding weekends)
Available here. https://gardenis.co.uk/products/preformed-pond-3-sizes
Once you have bought a preformed pond you need to measure and create a hole big enough to fit the pond.
A good location for a wildlife pond is partial shade, with some sunlight and shade during the day. Near a fence or shed can help protect it from extremes of cold in winter, and heat in summer. Avoid positioning directly underneath an overhanging tree, as the pond could become full of fallen leaves.
Once the pond has been put in position, it is ready to be filled with water. Ideally this should be rainwater, either from a water butt, or through rainfall. If you are eager to get it full of water, and are installing during the summer, when rainfall is less, and you might not have any in a water butt, it can be filled with tapwater. Leave for a few days so the water settles, chlorine evaporates etc, before adding plants.
Planting some plants, such as marsh marigold or lady’s mantle, around the pond edges will give some cover for frogs, toads or newts to hide amongst. The ponds surface should be 50% free of pond plants such as water lillies, so there is some light for submerged plants. Water lilies are grown in pots that are placed on the ponds base, and the leaves and flowers float. Submerged plants grow totally underwater. These are great for creating oxygen in the pond.
Native British pond plants are best for a wildlife pond.Examples;
FLOATING - Water lily, common water-crowfoot, frogbit.
POND EDGES - Marsh marigold, globeflower, pillwort, brooklime, watermint, lesser spearwort, water forgot-me-not.
SUBMERGED - Water violet, rigid hornwort.
It is possible to add a bog garden / mini wetland next to your pond, this is achieved by adding soil onto pond lining or old plastic compost bags etc. This will prevent the water draining away, making the soil boggy, and ideal for pond edging plants.
Once complete it should start attracting some aquatic life, even in just a couple of weeks, and added together with new ponds appearing in gardens all over the country, will be playing a small part in restoring our wetlands. Not only is it great for garden wildlife, they also look great as well! Remember, if you have small children, ensure the pond is behind a picket fence, to ensure they do not get close to the pond unattended.