Looking for a brand new summer project? Interested in attracting new and exciting wildlife to the garden? You should consider building a pond. A pond is the finishing touch towards making your garden a beautiful-looking haven. Whether you are building something simple, or an intricate water feature (which I recommend you consult a professional about), it is exactly what you need. This article will take you step-by-step through how to build a pond.
So where do you build a pond? Somewhere sunny or at least where the sun shines in summer. That will attract wildlife and keep it thriving. Avoid building under any trees or shedding plants; when those leaves begin to fall, you will be left with a brown sludge instead of water. Try to dig it somewhere with surrounding area for planting. Plants are something frogs will appreciate come summer.
Step one of pond building is measuring out the area. Don't just dig a hole and fill it with water! You want to take into consideration where you are digging it, how much material you have to line it with and if it is the right size for you. Once you have measured, mark out the area. You can do this using hosepipe or string; anything really. When you are happy with the pond mark-up, this is where the real hard work beginsÃ¢â?¬Â¦
The next step is digging. This is when the pond really takes shape. Work out how deep you want it and stick to that depth. 50cm-60cm is a good estimate if you plan on keeping fish. As you dig, compact the soil so that adding the liner will be easier.
You don't want to just dig straight down. Make sure there are shallows towards the edges so that wildlife can thrive there. Frogs and tadpoles will love you for this especially. One way to achieve this is by digging the pond in layers, making it deeper as it approaches the centre. Make each layer only slightly deeper than the last, avoiding any cliff-like drops. As well as this, make sure the edge of the pond has a slope so that animals which may fall in can get out again.
Once you've dug the hole, make sure it is level. A plank of wood across the whole and a spirit level will do the job.
Now you have the shape of your pond. Next you'll want to line it so that it can hold water.
Before placing the lining, remove all sharps stones and edges to prevent piercing and leaking. Then add some form of underlay. You could use some soft sand or even old carpet: anything that will provide padding to the liner. Then begin putting your liner down. Any rubber based liner will work; PVC or Butyl is especially good. Smooth the liner as you go, weighing it down with flat stones or even the pond water.
The final step is adding water. Some will advise against using tap water since it contains too many nutrients for fish and plant life to thrive. This is somewhat true. If you can't wait for the pond to fill with rainwater, tap or hose water will do the job. Before adding wildlife, you will need to let the water assimilate and become part of the natural environment Ã¢â?¬â?? usually this takes around 6 weeks.
Add flat stones and attractive looking rocks around the edge of the pond to cover the remaining lining.
And that is it. You now have a very basic pond.
Just how do you make a basic pond a wildlife haven?
Plants are the first step. Once you have given the water a few days to settle and sediment you can start planting. And plant everywhere: plant in the surrounding soil and in the water itself. Plants on the edges will provide much needed shade to wildlife in the summer, and those in the water will really bring the pond to life.
Here are some floating pond plants to try:
For floating plants, simply throw them into the water and they'll handle themselves.
Here are some marginal/bordering plants to try:
These will need the same due care and attention as any other plant.
These are just a few examples of plants, but there is a whole variety available.
Once everything is planted, you'll see your pond change. The water will initially turn green. This is when the wildlife will begin to arrive, of its own accord. If this doesn't happen instantly, don't worry! They will come. After the water has become green, it will steadily turn clear.
Animals are the next step after plants. As I said above, many will arrive independently. These are usually the frogs and the insects, as well as mammals and birds. For birds, you should consider adding a raised stone to the pond so that they have somewhere to perch and wash themselves. Within the vegetation, pile some logs so that frogs have somewhere humid and warm to live without the glare of the sun. Everything else should be able to survive independently.
For fish, wait around six weeks before introducing them to the water. You want the plants to become a part of the water first.
You'll need to maintain the pond too. Remove excess growth and algae as often as possible. One huge problem with a pond is a lack of oxygen and an excess of nitrogen. Decaying plants, fish and tap water all contribute this nitrogen. The easiest way to reset the balance is investing in an oxygenator for the pond. If you don't, you are jeopardising the entire pond and everything within in. Also consider fitting a water overflow system to stop the pond flooding when it rains. All of these installations should keep your pond well maintained, and give it a long existence.
Finally, safety! If there are little children nearby, put a fence around the pond. Make sure to educate them on the danger of deep water. Do everything possible to minimise risk of injury.
And now you'll have a fully thriving, alive and beautiful pond in your own garden. These simply to follow steps could be the summer project you were searching for.
If you do decide to build a pond, email Fraser C. Robb your pictures to have them featured on their social media pages.
By Dylan Blyth.
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