Gardens and Homesteads

Landscaping

How To Make a Pond in Your Garden

How To Make a Pond in Your Garden

How To Make a Pond in Your Garden

So, you’ve decided you want a pond in your garden. How fun! There are many benefits to having a pond in your garden. Small bodies of water tend to draw all sorts of wildlife to your garden or allotment. You can create a beautiful space for your pond and fill it with all sorts of delightful plants, creating a sort of habitat for creatures such as frogs, newts, tadpoles, dragonflies, and damselflies. Also, ponds can be a great way to deter pests such as slugs from destroying your plants.

You can hire companies that will come and create a pond in your garden and save yourself a bit of manual labour. These processes are often pretty expensive however, so you could get the shovel out of the shed, build a pond that you’ve made with your own two hands, and save a good chunk of cash doing it yourself. But, before start digging a hole and filling it with water, there are a few steps you need to take in order to successfully build a pond.

You first need to decide what type of pond do you want. Some prefer large ponds with fish and a pump and big plants growing out of it, others are happy with just a humble little water garden. Next you need to decide where the best place for your pond is in your garden.

Where should you place your pond?

The best place for a pond is at an open, level area, with good drainage. You want to make sure your pond is not too close to any trees, as when autumn comes, the surface will be bombarded with fallen leaves, also you don’t want to have to deal with tree roots. You don’t want the pond site to be too windy.

Is a pond better in sun or shade? You can put your pond in shade if you don’t wish for anything to live in it, but if you’re putting fish and plants in your pond, it’s imperative that your pond is positioned in a sunny spot so that they can all thrive and get the sunlight they really do need. In order for lily pads to flower, they need sunshine.

However, if you live in a particularly hot area, be careful not to create the perfect spawning spot for unwanted wildlife such as mosquitos. A good tip for discouraging mosquitos from breeding on your pond is to always keep the water moving. You can do this with an outdoor pond pump. On top of being a mosquito deterrent, pumps provide many benefits to your pond. You can also introduce a few critters and they will enjoy a tasty mozzie snack.

How do you dig a pond?

Now you know where you want to build your pond, you can start digging! Mark out the perimeter of your pond with either paint, string, or even an old hose pipe. If you’re using a pond mould (otherwise known as a preformed pond), dig out the exact right shape and depth for it. If you’re using pond lining however, you can be pretty creative when it comes to both shape and depth of the pond. Pond lining tends to last about 10 years longer than the expected 15-year life expectancy of pond moulds, and allows a unique shaped pond, and are far cheaper than preformed ponds.

If you’re wanting to build a slightly larger pond for bigger fish like koi, you can even go a step further and create some sort of permanent pond wall with bricks.

How deep should your pond be? Depending on the size of the pond, 1-3 feet is usually a good depth for a medium sized pond as it allows room for plants to take root and also areas for fish to hide from predators such as herons and cats. As winter comes, the surface of your pond could freeze over, so having a good depth will ensure fish’s survival.

Useful tip: you can create a layered pond by digging out a top layer of soil, and then digging out another smaller layer, and so on. Then you create pond shelves for smaller plants to dwell, and a good area to place rocks as protection for creatures such as tadpoles and other insects, don’t make this shelf too large, however. This also makes for a more interesting look to your pond. If you want your pond to have a natural look, don’t make the shape of your pond too “perfect”.

Make sure your pond is nice and level by using a long piece of straight wood and putting a level on top. Keep in mind the possibility of smaller animals falling in your pond like hedgehogs, make a sort of sloped bank to your pond with pebbles so that they can easily climb out.  

How do you line your pond?

After digging out all that earth, you can start to get an idea of the actual size of your pond, decide whether you want to adjust its size by adding or taking away soil before you start adding the pond liner. After you have laid down the underlay and lining the best you can, you can weigh it down with some rocks and then after you add the water, it should take its shape. It’s better to get a liner too large for your pond than too small, so that you can take away any extra material. Double up on the underlay for added leak protection.

What type of water to fill your pond?

Make sure you use the right water when filling your pond. You don’t want too much chlorine in your water. Using collected rainwater is ideal.

After you’ve added your gravel to the bottom, it can be quite difficult keeping the water clear. Installing an outdoor pump in your pond will keep the water moving and filter and clean it. Now you can plant and add fish, but there is still a lot to keep in mind, such as what plants do you use, what fish are best and how to maintain a pond.

It takes time for your pond to establish, so be patient with it and treat it well, and you will have an incredibly happy and successful pond!

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