Adding a pond to your garden for wildlife

Adding a pond to your garden for wildlife

Adding a pond to the garden for wildlife can be this year's project - for you and for the children.

  • Get them involved with nature by creating their own pond
  • Encourage children to help you and they will be fascinated to watch the pond wildlife arrive afterwards
  • Kids love pond dipping too but make sure its done safely

Add a pond to your garden however small it is - every pond is important to the wildlife!

  • Too many ponds have been lost in recent decades with more roads, houses & paving for cars.
  • Wildlife can struggle to find the wet sites they need to drink and mate
  • In urban & suburban areas it is important to recreate some wildlife zones in our gardens.

Many forms of wildlife are attracted to water at different stages of their life:

  • Frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies all use it to lay their eggs
  • Birds, bees, butterflies and maybe even bats will come to drink
  • It is important to encourage pollinators to visit the garden and pollinate our plants.

Dig a pond or water feature in any shape or size:

  • From a bucket sunk into the ground to a large field pond.
  • Or if you are in a flat with a balcony or gardening on a roof terrace choose a container pond. Available in lightweight fibreglass in attractive colours and finishes.
  • All ponds are useful.

Add a pond to your garden for wildlife by digging down:

  • In a secluded part of the garden but not in complete shade & definitely not under trees that will drop leaf into the water
  • Leave plenty of space around the water for plants (not hard landscaping) in a 'dug down' pond area so that the wildlife can come and go in safety and shelter
  • Perhaps have one side next to a fence of hedge for shelter. This also means the children have access to fewer sides of the water and are easier to supervise.
  • Dig down in stages - 2 depths of shallow shelves near the outside first for the plants and for animal access - see Digging an informal wildlife pond for more details
  • Then add the deepest area of water down to the length of your arm (as a guide) so you can reach to the bottom to reach plant baskets
  • Keep the shape simple but allow a narrow end to be a sloping beach area back to ground level from the top shelf where the water gradually gets shallower through some cobbles to allow wildlife movement.

Or you can dig a hole the size and shape of a container or preform pond in fibreglass or plastic and sink that.

  • Make sure the pond finishes level to the ground or water will run off on one side.
  • Hide the rim of the pond with planting on the outside of the preform structure

Add a decorative 'above ground' pond:

  • A container pond is even easier to add
  • You could achieve this pond in just a day or two
  • Choose your container and make sure it is watertight - you can choose anything that will hold water
  • Add a liner or trug inside if not
  • Avoid barrels that have had alcohol in them previously as this changes the pH of the water and pond plants will not grow well. Line or add a trug if necessary.
  • Fibreglass and plastic options are fine
  • 'Above ground' ponds will mostly attract air borne creatures - bees, butterflies, birds and dragonflies. Not so many frogs, toads and newts

To add any pond to your garden to attract wildlife:

  • Finish it off with plenty of plants that will make it a good planted habitat area:
  • Plants for oxygen in deep water
  • Surface cover leaf for hiding under & to keep pond water cool and shaded from too much sun
  • Pond plants for shelf areas to grow up out of the water and others to raft gently across the water surface
  • Plants outside the water but nearby for shelter, hiding places or additional pollen sources

Adding a pond is a great way to help the wildlife and get you and the family outdoors. Encouraging the children to get involved with nature and their environment is going to be a benefit for a long time to come.