How to choose a site & build a wildlife pond

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

Siting the wildlife pond:

  • Place a wildlife pond in a secluded part of the garden.
  • Try not to place your wildlife pond under trees as the falling leaves will give you a maintenance problem in Autumn.
  • Surround it on one or more sides 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 a number of 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 so avoid placing the pond near these.
  • Leave gaps under fencing between properties to allow wildlife to wander naturally.
  • Amphibians return to the pond water to mate and lay eggs after winter hibernation in wood piles or under garden buildings.

Build a pond profile with different depths of shelving:

  • The pond should be built to a depth of no more than 45 - 60cm (18" - 2' ) - shelf Suitable for shelf depth 23-44cm (approx 10-17”) below water surface
  • Plant shelves at different depths - 15cm (6") for shelf <p>Suitable for shelf depth 13-15cm(5-6”) or waterlogged mud </p> and 30cm (12") for shelf Suitable for shelf depth 14-22cm (approx 6-9”) below water surface plants.
  • Make the 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 to the shelf at 6" deep
  • Dig one half  to the deepest water depth which can be offset from the centre of the pond.
  • Place the pond plants on the shelves in their baskets and the pond wildlife will use these as 'stepping stones' to climb out.
  • Give easy access for wildlife - create sloping sided areas away from the flat level of the first shelf.
  • 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, Juncus ensifolius or Cyperus eragrostis.
  • 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.

For more details on plant selection for your wildlife pond see the next section or click here