How to build a 'bog garden' around your pond

Create & plant damp areas 1   2  

Why build a 'bog garden' around your pond for wet or damp soil:

Build a 'bog garden' or 'stream edge' to the pond water area:

  • Create an extended habitat for wildlife to keep them protected.
  • Grow a visual backdrop to your water area.
  • If this area maintains damp/wet conditions then it imitates the edge of natural water.
  • It acts as the emergence zone for amphibians as they enter and leave the pond at various stages of their lifecycle.

Method of 'bog garden' construction:

You can build a bog garden to keep either moist or permanently wet:

  • Dig out 2ft of soil in a straight sided shape and line the hole with cheap lining material like builders damp proof membrane.
  • Add 3” depth of gravel to the base for drainage and then puncture the membrane with a fork.
  • 1 fork piercing per m2 of base area to start with.
  • Check which plants you intend to plant in this area before you puncture the liner.
  • The number or size of the punctures you make in the liner will control how wet/damp the soil stays.
  • More holes will make better drainage and planting will be moist plants <p>Suitable for moist soil (damp but drained)</p>
  • Fewer holes will retain more water and require <p>Suitable for waterlogged soil (wet mud)</p> plants.
  • Fill with topsoil and humus rich garden compost if it is a moist area <p>Suitable for moist soil (damp but drained)</p>.
  • Fill with aquatic compost or a clay/loam mix if it is a wet area <p>Suitable for waterlogged soil (wet mud)</p>. Do not use multi purpose compost for a wet 'bog garden' as this contains peat.
  • Cut the liner off at the top of the hole so the area can blend into the rest of the garden.
  • Finish the edge of the prepared planting area to disguise the detail of the work you have done.
  • Hide the edges of the liner with rocks or logs so it looks natural.
  • This 'bog garden' area looks like it meets the water area next to it but they are both enclosed in their own separate linered sections.
  • The water from the pond or stream does not travel to the soil area.

The historic method of construction allowed the water to overflow to water the 'bog garden'.

Do not plan to build a 'bog garden' this way because:

  • The pond is fullest in Winter as it rains. The 'bog area' is wet from Winter rain too. It does not need to receive more water in Winter when the pond overflows into it.
  • The 'bog garden' needs extra water in the summer when the plants are growing. Pond water evaporates in the warmer weather and does not overflow into the 'bog garden' when the plants need it.

Watering the prepared 'bog garden':

  • Keep the area as wet as you need by watering from a porous or leaky hosepipe.
  • Leaky hose is made from recycled car tyres that leaks along its length under low pressure.
  • A hosepipe with holes in it soon gets clogged up with soil and blocked.
  • Leaky pipe has a stopper at one end so that it will constantly drip when attached to a tap or water butt.
  • Water build up forces the water through the holes in the pipe at root level as required.
  • Leave on for as long as needed to suit the plants in the area.
  • Better than using a hose and sprayer which sends water over plant leaves that may not reach plant roots.
  • This 'bog garden' will provide protection for wildlife species in the emergence zone as they leave the pond and become vulnerable to predators.
  • If you encourage frogs to the area they will protect the leaf of Hosta and Ligularia from being eaten by slugs.
  • To add the right plants to this area see our Tips and Advice page: How to plant an area with moist plants or muddy plants.

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