Ponds… I love them! If you haven’t got one I strongly recommend you put one in your garden they add a totally different dimension to a garden that no other feature does. There’s the reflections, sparkles of light that “dance” across the garden, a relaxing babble of sound, lots of wild life and beautiful glamorous plants. The other wonderful thing about them is they’re a fantastic time waster, you go out into the garden to potter and half an hour passes before you know it and all you’ve done is sit and stare watching life go by in the pond!
So if I’ve convinced you to put a pond in here are a few pointers. First off you need to decide the type of pond you want, a koi pond which will be large with a lot of filtration, a wildlife pond with no fish or an ornamental pond with a few fish – I have to say this tends to be the most popular choice. Mainly because you get a little of everything, colourful fish and plants along with a good range of wildlife – damsel and dragonflies, frogs and newts, pond skaters and diving beetles. The position of the pond is very key, not under trees as the leaf drop will cause the pond to silt up, with enough full day light (minimum of 6 hours) to make the plants grow well as they keep the water balanced and “sweet”. A pond doesn’t have to have a pump to circulate the water, if the pond is planted properly the plants do all the work, however having a pump does add sound, movement and if there are scented plants nearby it heightens their perfume.
I always use a sheet liner (rubber) as they’re easier to install than the preformed ones, just as durable and cheaper per square metre. Dig out the hole creating two depths, a shelf 20-30cm and deep area 45-75cm deep making sure the top edge is level as when you fill the pond the water will be level and there’s more annoying than having a big strip of liner showing at one end! Bed the liner on 3-5cm of sand. As I’ve mentioned the plants are key, you need oxygenators and water lilies, aim for half the deep area to be cover in oxygenators and half the water surface to be covered in lily pads once the pond is a couple of years old. The plants on the shelf do some work in balancing the pond but are mainly aesthetic although great for damsel and dragonflies as they emerge from the pond. Leave the pond planted for a couple of weeks before adding the fish and be patient! It’ll take the plants two or three seasons for the plants to keep the pond clear and in the spring most ponds go murky but by May the plants are normally growing enough to clear the water. One last tip make the pond as big as you can, I promise you if you make it too small you’ll just be re-doing it in a couple of years!