Key considerations for building a garden pond
Installing a pond is a beautiful way to add some rural charm to your garden. Not only is a pond an excellent talking point for the exterior of your home, it’s also great for attracting wildlife. Provided that your pond is healthy and well maintained, a variety of mammals, amphibians, birds, and insects will all flock to your pond for water and shelter. Here are some key considerations to ensure that your pond not only looks great, but becomes a hive of activity and a habitat for wildlife.
Provide a suitable habitat for wildlife
In order to encourage amphibians to come and visit your pond, a nice selection of rocks, stones and twigs does the job. Items such as these are necessary since amphibians need somewhere to hide when winter strikes.
Choosing plants for your pond is one of the most important decisions to make, so try to get it right the first time or else you might face a headache later on! Try to choose a selection of both aquatic and non-aquatic plants in order to provide shade and sustenance for the wildlife. While there are a multitude of different plants available to decorate a pond with, it is important not to introduce too many plants which are not native to the region, as this may have negative consequences for the pond’s ecosystem.
Location, location, location
While some gardens may only have a single spot available for a pond, you may have multiple options in other, larger gardens. Choosing a location for your pond where there are already plants to provide shade can be beneficial. However, if there are trees which overlook the potential area, this can lead to significant maintenance when it comes to cleaning the debris from the water – so this needs to be taken into account. Many homeowners like to position the pond in low-lying areas of the garden as this is where water would collect naturally.
The depth of the pond will be determined by its intended use. For instance, a depth of 3 ft is recommended if you plan on introducing koi carp and other large fish to the pond, whereas for other forms of wildlife, 1 ft is usually enough. You may wish to vary the depth of the pond throughout so a range of animals and plants can thrive. Sloped walls are also recommended so any small creatures that fall into the pond accidentally can easily climb out.
Avoid harsh chemicals
Because a pond’s ecosystem is small and fragile, the introduction of harsh chemicals can be extremely damaging for both the animal and plant life. Instead, preventative measures are recommended to keep the pond in tip top condition. You may wish to consider installing a pump to oxygenate the pond. This is beneficial for the health of the fish, and also helps prevent the accumulation of algae which can quickly turn your clear pond water green – or in severe cases, black!
Use rainwater instead of tap water
Tap water contains nitrates which contribute to algae growth. This makes rainwater a vastly preferable option when it comes to refilling your pond. If you are considering using soft water for your pond, please take care in regards to the species of fish you are planning to introduce. For instance, soft water is not appropriate for a pond with koi as the difference in salt concentration forces them to work harder to prevent the salts within their bodies from diffusing out through their gill membranes.
Photo by liz west