How to create a wildlife pond in your garden this summer
Summer is here! And there’s no better time to get out into your garden and spruce the place up. Saving water in the garden is of course of the utmost importance, but using water to create a haven for wildlife and humans is also recommended.
There’s no smarter or better way to use water in your outdoor space than with a wildlife pond. Here we talk you through the why and how so you can create an out of this world water scene in your very own garden.
The wonder of wildlife ponds
UK wildlife is arguably at its most beautiful during the spring and summer months. Creating another home for these creatures has never been so important, especially as almost 70% of ponds in the countryside have been lost in the past century.
Ponds play a vital role in wildlife habitats. They support a vast number of birds, fish, dragonflies, amphibians and larger animals, not to mention feeding endless carpets of wildflowers. Open water environments are in sharp decline up and down the country, and as water is life, the nation’s wilder residents are being affected by this loss of habitat.
By installing a wildlife pond in your garden, you’re doing your bit to support wildlife in your local area as well as creating an attractive feature in your own backyard.
Is my garden a suitable site?
As wildlife ponds come in all shapes and sizes, any garden is a suitable space. The pond’s design can be adapted accordingly, with the addition of water features adding further interest and intrigue.
Those with smaller gardens or extensive areas of patio may want to opt for a container wildlife pond. Containers can be made from anything, with stone troughs, old baths and sinks, wooden barrels, and large, glazed plant pots providing perfect bases for wildlife ponds. Larger gardens with plenty of grassy areas can accommodate loftier designs, complete with cascading streams and drop pools to encourage greater diversity.
Even waterlogged areas – also known as ‘bog gardens’ – can be put into use and provide ideal wet sites for wildlife ponds. Households with smaller children can still get involved by adding a bubble fountain or birdbath to encourage wildlife into the garden in full safety.
How can I make a wildlife pond?
Those opting for a traditional wildlife pond need to consider its shape carefully. Whether natural or manmade, a wildlife pond has to be fully accessible and safe for all types of wildlife. Incorporating at least one sloping side is a must as the RSPB details:
“At least one gradual sloping side – This will provide a range of important shallow areas on which many pond-users will depend. Birds will have an area safely to bathe and drink, amphibians will spawn their eggs there and animals such as hedgehogs will be able to use it to escape if they should accidently fall in! Generally speaking, the more varied the slopes and the longer the shoreline, the better!”
This shallow slope can be lined with cobbles and flat stones to create the perfect living conditions for insects and amphibians. The deeper part of your pond should be over 60cm deep to ensure the pond can be used by wildlife all year round. This extra depth will prevent the pond from freezing completely during the winter months.
The site of the pond should also be warm and sunny, and surrounded by low bushes and other foliage. Positioning your pond too close to trees however can cause issues as roots and falling leaves can damage the pond and its lining. There are several different lining options. Butyl liners are the best choice for those wishing to create a pond, whilst natural ponds of a larger size will benefit from the addition of a clay or sodium bentonite liner.
Once you’ve created your pond, the fun can really begin! In fact, we guarantee you’ll while away many hours watching nature at work in and around your new watery wildlife haven.
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