A wildlife pond can be an easy, cost-effective project for a garden that can simultaneously attract wildlife whilst beautifying and improving a space.
True to their name, wildlife ponds can attract a vast variety of native wildlife to a garden and greatly improve the ecology of an area. Wildlife that a pond may attract includes amphibians such as newts, toads and frogs; insects like dragonflies and damselflies; and even birds like ducks and herons, especially in larger ponds.
By coupling a pond with suitable plant life and natural materials, a well-implemented garden pond can do wonders for an outdoor space.
Choosing and preparing a space for a pond
Once you have decided to install a wildlife pond into your garden, the first consideration is placement. Whilst a wildlife pond will work in just about any area, some contexts work better than others, so it’s worth researching in order to get the best out of your wildlife pond and attract the most wildlife.
The best place for a wildlife pond is near existing wildlife. Overgrown areas, shaded areas and forested areas work best, as these provide vital cover for the smaller insects and animals to reach your pond and make a home, which is what will attract the larger creatures. By placing a pond near to existing wildlife your pond will get a kick-start as nature spreads into your garden.
Not everybody has easy access to a sprawling nature reserve outside of their back garden however, so this is not in any way to say that there needs to be existing cover in order to have a pond that helps the local ecology and environment.
However, keeping ponds away from driveways, roads and other open flat areas as much as possible is important, as they can negatively impact the changes of wildlife reaching your pond. Not only do these areas divide up nature and separate a garden from it, but it creates a wide open space for small creatures to be spotted by predators before they reach your pond.
Installing a pond
Once you have chosen a suitable place for your pond, it’s time for the next and most inevitable step of installing a pond – digging! And when it comes to wildlife ponds, the rule of thumb is the bigger the better in order to maximise your chances of getting the broadest range of wildlife visiting your garden.
Once the hole is dug, the next step is lining. Lining a pond is necessary to ensure that the water does not seep back into the ground and turn your wildlife pond into a bog. Consider the use of a preformed wildlife pond construction which takes all of the hassle out of trying to properly line a pond.
Now that your pond is dug and lined, it’s finally time to fill your pond. Rainwater works best for this, either taken from water butts or just by allowing nature to do its thing, although this can take a long time. Tap water is totally fine to use, however it may contain some chemicals that can be harmful for plants that are used to wild conditions. So, it’s recommended that the water is left to ‘naturalise’ for at least a week before introducing any living organisms, including plants. Failure to wait before planting decorative plants may lead to a pond becoming full of algae.
Decorating your wildlife pond
Now that you have your pond, the final step before leaving it for nature to make its own is to add rocks, plants and other natural materials and features in order to blend it in with the local surroundings and attract wildlife.
The first thing to note is that, especially if you have placed your pond near other wildlife, you may not find yourself needing to introduce your own plants at all, as large areas of water make it easy for plants to get the water and nutrients they need, so they will naturally spread towards your pond.
However this can take a while, and it can also be helpful to introduce plants not native to your area to diversify the ecology and attract different insects. Plants such as Water Violet and Water Soldiers can help to oxygenate a pond’s water and therefore help to sustain more life, and plants like the beautiful Frogbit grows lily pad-like leaves that float on the water and can offer a perch for insects and amphibians as well as shade and protection from above.
Other natural materials such as rocks, stones and pebbles can add structure and further decorate a wildlife pond. Creating ramps, shelters full of crevices and small rock pools can all help to protect and sustain creatures and encourage long-term sustainability for the local ecology.
You could also consider mixing a wildlife pond with some man-made materials, such as a small fountain, to add even more calm to the idyllic nature aided by the surroundings.
If you wish to find out more information on installing a wildlife pond, or are just after some friendly, professional advice, contact Ponds4Fish using the form on our website or by calling 07597 244 780.