How to build a wildlife pond

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Choose a site to build a wildlife pond where the creatures will feel secure.

  • Build a wildlife pond in a secluded part of the garden.
  • Try not to place your wildlife pond under trees.
  • Falling leaves will give you a maintenance problem in Autumn.
  • Amphibians return to the water of a garden pond to mate and lay eggs after winter hibernation in nearby wood piles or under garden buildings.
  • Surround it on one or more edges by planting from a moist habitat, bog garden or hedgerow to give the amphibians cover and protection from birds and other predators
  • Wildlife will make numerous journeys in and out of the water in a season so plantings of uncut foliage will link these areas together.
  • Patios, tarmac drives, fences all divide up nature and make wildlife journeys more hazardous. Avoid placing the pond near these.
  • Leave gaps under fencing between properties to allow wildlife to wander naturally.

Create different depths of shelving:

  • Build a wildlife pond 45 - 60cm (18" - 2' ) deep - planting shelf Suitable for shelf depth 23-44cm (approx 10-17”) below water surface
  • Construct planting shelves at different depths - 13-15cm (5-6") for planting shelf <p>Suitable for shelf depth 13-15cm(5-6”) or waterlogged mud </p> and 22cm (9") for shelf Suitable for shelf depth 14-22cm (approx 6-9”) below water surface plants.
  • Make the planting shelves as wide as possible and curved differently to the outline of the pond's outer edge.
  • Do not build a thin rim of shelves 6" wide evenly around a larger surface area of deep water as this will be unbalanced when you come to plant.
  • Have one half of the pond surface area as different width shelf planting areas with most as a 6" deep shelf
  • Dig one half  to the deepest water depth - deep area can be offset from the centre of the pond.

Follow this link for more detailed instructions on How to dig a pond with shelves for wildlife & plants.

Planning to plant the wildlife pond:

  • Place the pond plants on the marginal planting shelves in the baskets they are delivered to you in by us.
  • Pond wildlife will use plant baskets as 'stepping stones' to climb out.
  • Give easy access for certain wildlife in and out - create some sloping sides up from the flat level of the first shelf.
  • Cover with cobbles and rafting plants to create hiding areas.
  • Use pond plants that enjoy water at their roots but not much water over their crowns on that sloping area to give habitat cover <p>Suitable for waterlogged soil (wet mud)</p>
  • Choose Anemopsis californica, Mentha aquatica, Veronica beccabunga.
  • Build a loose pile of stones or rocks near/on a shallow stony beach where creatures can quickly find shelter.
  • Surround with plants of either <p>Suitable for moist soil (damp but drained)</p> or <p>Suitable for waterlogged soil (wet mud)</p> in a prepared area of moist soil or wet mud.

See more details on plant selection for wildlife ponds.