Wildlife Garden Ponds

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Wildlife ponds in a garden support a huge range of creatures:

  • invertebrates - dragon and damselflies, pond skaters, water boatmen, water beetles and pond snails
  • amphibians - frogs, toads and newts

The UK’s garden ponds are one of our most important and overlooked wildlife refuges. Our garden ponds give places of safety for aquatic species to breed and thrive. Everyone should create as many freshwater wildlife habitats in our gardens as we can.

Garden ponds:

  • Make more to replace the large number of water areas lost in farmland areas due to building projects in the countryside.
  • Fill these new ponds with rainwater to lower the levels of nitrogen and phosphorous that come with tap water.
  • If you have to use tap water to start a pond or container pond then also add Chlorine Guard - an eco-friendly liquid treatment of the chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals in tap water.
  • Aquatic creatures will colonise a pond themselves. It is against the law to move great crested newts and natterjack toads from their chosen habitat.
  • Leave frog spawn in the pond where it was laid.
  • Fish and amphibians do not thrive in the same pond. Fish will eat the young tadpoles and newt larva.
  • The froglets, toadlets and newt efts leave the pond using a shallow slope or by climbing on planted baskets.
  • Dragonfly and damselfly will breed in ponds. Their larvae live in shallow, sheltered water for some years and need submerged plants as cover and upright plants to climb up.
  • Add logs and stones for hiding places as protection from predators.
  • Predators include garden birds such as blackbirds that come to the pond to drink and bathe.
  • Water in the garden will increase the number of birds that visit you as well as the number of aquatic creatures.

Planting ponds for wildlife:

  • Plant rafting pond plants for newt egg laying.
  • Encourage pollinating wildlife to visit with pond plant flowers for butterflies, bees and hoverflies all through the year.
  • Plant tall emergent shelf pond plants for dragonfly larva to crawl up to leave the water & become adults.
  • Wildlife will benefit from a well planted area around the pond with bog or moist plants - make these good pollinating plants for air-borne wildlife too.

See our Tips and Advice pages on newts, frogs, toads, dragonflies and pollinating insects.

Download the ARG Amphibian Identification Guide to help you check what wildlife visitors you have in your ponds this year.