Garden Ponds are a massive attraction to all kinds of wildlife including frogs and dragonflies and create their own little wildlife habitat. I’ve lived where I am now for twenty five years and I’m afraid that, despite turning my garden into a wildlife garden as soon as I moved in, I didn’t put in a pond until 2009, The main problem was that my garden is sloping so it made it impossible. It was only four years ago that I built a wall to level out the garden, but it wasn’t just to make a pond. There had been generations of voles living under a low growing bush just outside the kitchen window which had given me many hours of pleasure watching them, so I decided to build a wall not only to be able to add a pond but also to give the voles a great new home. The wall and the pond have been the two best things I have added to my wildlife garden. Once the wall was built I could start to dig out the pond. I didn’t have room for a very big garden pond so I had to maximise the space. It’s best to have a couple of different levels but it’s essential that part of it is deep enough so that it won’t completely freeze in a bad winter. This means that at some point it has to be three feet or one metre deep. If you are going to have a garden pond there is no point unless you can dig it this deep as in a bad winter all the pond life will die if all the water freezes.
When it has been dug out it needs to be lined with a proper butyl pond liner. It’s no good just putting a plastic sheet down because garden ponds are a permanent feature and most plastic these days (for environmental reasons) is made to disintegrate. The sun’s rays on most plastics will break down the bonds between the atoms and wherever the sun hits the plastic it will become brittle and break. If you use ordinary plastic it will soon break just at the surface allowing the water to escape, this will then expose the plastic just below to the sun which will soon break and let more water out, I’m sure you are getting the picture.
Butyl liners are not cheap so before you put it in you need to put in some padding because any sharp stones will pierce it and you will have thrown away a lot of money. I wanted to be extra careful so got hold of some old carpet and placed that in the hole. I then placed in some proper pond padding before finally laying in the butyl liner.
You need to make different levels if you want to place plants or make a ‘boggy’ area around your pond. NEVER make a wildlife pond with vertical sides and flat stone slabs around the edge which overlap the water. This is a death trap for hedgehogs and any other mammals which fall in as they will not be able to climb back out and will drown. Always make at least one side so that any creatures which fall in accident can find a way out easily.