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How to build a wildlife pond

On this page you will learn the basic principles to help you build a vibrant, self sustaining wildlife pond.

People think ponds are high maintenance.....wrong!

People think they need expensive pump and filter systems to keep the water clear......wrong!

How many naturally occurring ponds have you seen in the wild with pumps and filters?.........None!

People think ponds are dangerous for children. If you leave you're children unattended when they're playing around a pond then it isn't the pond that's the problem.

Large wildlife pond

This is one of the larger ponds I've created over the years.

The hole was dug using a mini digger.

I used underlay felt to protect the liner both underneath and on top.

Some of the subsoil was kept from the excavation, to use back in the pond for planting.

A native seed mix was sown around the edge.

It was allowed to fill naturally with rain water and planted up in stages as if filled.

Large wildlife pond hole

Originally a contractor was employed to dig out the pond with a large excavator. The result was a soil profile that resembled a bomb crater.

Despite being given a sketch showing how it should be dug.

I then hired a mini digger myself to re profile the pond edges.

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This shot shows the underlay just beneath the butyl liner.

Then overlay on top to protect the liner from the soil as it is filled back on top.

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The sub soil, that was dug out from the pond, is used to plant back into as the pond fills with water.

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Once the liner is covered with sub soil the pond is ready for the water.

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Large wildlife pond

Allowing the pond to fill naturally and gradually with rain water prevents the soil from clouding the water too rapidly.

The rain will soak the soil and allow particles to become waterlogged so they remain on the bottom rather than float in the water.

As the pond fills you can begin adding the plants.

Start with oxygenators and deep water plants like lilies.

Then as the water level rises you can add in emergent plants. Those are plants that like to be beneath the water but will send up leaves and flower stems above the water.

As with all ponds a spirit level was used to create the top edge

The top edge of the liner was covered with some of the turf that was removed prior to excavating the hole.

A mix of native marginal plants was sown around the edges early on before the pond filled. This meant a good selection of plants would develop below the maximum water level as well as above it.

This guarantees the pond edge is as natural looking as possible with a striking mix of plants flowering almost throughout the year.

During natural seasonal changes in water level from rain fall and evaporation the pond will always have that natural vegetated look.

This is so much better than having a paved edge where the liner is visible from all angles regardless of the water level.

The pond two years on with seating on either side to relax on and enjoy the view.

Birds come to bathe and drink as well as regular visits in the summer from dragon and damsel flies.

Newts have also been seen.

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