We haven’t had a garden pond for a long time, the last garden just didn’t have the right conditions, it was too sloping and too shady, but now we’ve got a flat garden without too many trees nearby which makes it pretty ideal.
Ponds seem to add a whole new dimension to a garden, they reflect light and you can have different types of plants, like water-lilies. Mostly though, they’re a magnet for people of all ages, keen to see whats happening in that little, watery world.
It’s not only people, birds, insects and frogs, in fact any kind of amphibian are attracted to ponds, we had little crested newts in our pond, and it was lovely to see their wriggling little bodies scooting through the water. Many of these creatures are predators of garden pests, so enticing them into your garden by providing shelter and water to drink, helps to maintain a natural balance, keeping it all as sustainable as possible with little effort.
Things to consider before you build a pond:
- Safety is the most important thing to think about, children can drown in very shallow water. You could wait until your children are over the age of five, but you’ll still need to make provision for visiting children. I’m considering one of those strong, metal grids that fit over the surface of the water to make it safe for my grandchildren.
- There’s the position to think about, a pond needs an open, mostly sunny spot away from over-hanging trees, especially deciduous ones, the shedding leaves are a real nuisance, best avoid adding another chore to the list.
- Have enough space around it for a border of plants or paving, and so that you can get round it easily without being too near the edge.
- The deepest part in the middle needs to be at least 60cm/2ft deep, this avoids the problem of the water getting too warm, and making the ideal conditions for blanket -weed and murky water. Also, make sure there aren’t any underground pipes or cables that could be in the way.
- The surface needs to be at least 5 square meters for it to work, smaller than this and plants will continually outgrow the space and the water will get too warm in summer and freeze easily in winter.
- Make the size of the pond proportional to the size of the garden, and choose a shape that’s informal or formal to suit the style of your garden, although this doesn’t need to be slavishly followed.
- Decide if you want a pond for wildlife or fish, it’s either one or the other, as fish eat most wildlife, especially in the early stages of their life.
- On a practical note, it’s a good idea if it’s near a water butt that can be linked up to the pond as the over-flow, tap water isn’t good for ponds.
I’m writing about plants and ideas for my pond next week. Have you got a pond in your garden? Leave a comment if you’d like to share your tips.
Happy gardening, Jill
all photos: Jill Anderson