Friday, 14 September 2012

Pond Diary - Genesis of a Wildlife Pond

Pond  Diary - Genesis of a Wildlife Pond

As promised, my first green issues entry on a blog that is not going to be just about crafts.  I am now the proud possessor of a wildlife pond, although as yet there is nothing in it besides water.  Surely a pond is a pond is a pond many of you are thinking, but there is more than one type.  Most shops and catalogs stock items for a koi pool which is something else entirely, so if you are wondering - as I was not long ago - what the difference is here is the lowdown.

Q What is the main difference between a koi pool and a wildlife pond?  Surely it is a hole in the ground filled with water?

A Not really.  If you want to keep koi carp you won't have much else in the pond as they are voracious and eat everything in sight!  You will also want to keep the water clear so you can admire your beautiful fish and to do that you need a pump.  These get rid of impurities such as fish droppings and waste food and keep the water clear.  They are pricey to buy, expensive to run and difficult to maintain so feel pleased that if you are going to have a wildlife pond you won't need one.  You are going to have a proper ecosystem!

Q But I still buy a fiberglass pond base from my local garden center, right?

A I shouldn't.  They are rather on the small side, fine for carp being fed but not much good for encouraging native wildlife as they aren't big enough.

Q So how am I going to line my pond and what size does it need to be?

A You can find butyl lining on a roll in garden centers and buy the best you can get as you don't want to have to do it all again in a couple of years when the plastic wears out.  A good entry size wildlife pond for your back garden would be about 8' x 12'.

Q How deep does it need to be?  Can I dig it straight down like a tank?

A If you want water lilies - and I would suggest that you do for a number of reasons - the water needs to be at least a meter deep.  Not all over however - have lots of ledges of different depths and an area that slopes down gently from the ground level.  Birds and other creatures can drink here and take a bath, and snakes can glide in for a swim.

Q Okay, now I have dug and lined it (or got somebody else to do this as I did, nothing like a proper professional job) what happens next?

A  You need to fill it with water.  The most natural way to go about this is wait for it to rain, but it will take a long time to fill and every time you have a shower you have to go out and tweak the liner.  Better to just fill it from the tap unless you are on a water meter.

Q But the water isn't fit to drink and has to be filtered before I do so!  Surely it will kill all the livestock?

A  It would if you put it straight in!  Wait at least a fortnight so the impurities can evaporate before doing anything.  All you need to do as you wait is to obtain some oxygenating plants or your water will go stagnant.  But that is where I leave you this time apart from a few photos of what it all looks like...

The pond being dug in my back garden, first stage after being marked out with a hose.
Hole in the ground!  Turn on a tap somebody...
That is better.  Pea gravel on the edges and you can see the wrinkles of the liner.  Nothing you can do about that, but you won't see them when a few plants have been added.  Haven't Ben and Luke done a great job?  Now off to the garden center and hang on in there for more Pond Diary and of course some crafts.


  1. I would love a pond...sigh. Your's looks a winner and when you get all the plants in it's going to look great.

  2. Thank you for last, a comment! It now has three plants and I plan to send to Unwins for some more. The pair who put it in are back on Monday for a few this space for more crafting and more Pond Diary too.