Whether you’re interested in providing a haven for small animals, insects and aquatic life in your garden, or simply adding to the aesthetic quality of your garden, a pond is a wonderful outdoor addition. In the last hundred years, half of the UK’s ponds have disappeared and many of the remaining number are in poor condition. For the sake of local wildlife, Britain is in need of more ponds that are properly cared for and maintained.
Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden
A pond is a sure-fire way to attract wildlife to your garden, and digging a pond could even make a difference to the survival of certain species, particularly amphibians. Rare animals like voles and great crested newts find havens in garden ponds, and grass snakes, badgers, foxes and hedgehogs all like to drink at ponds. The birds in your garden will increase in number as they use ponds to bathe, drink and catch insects. Bats may also hunt over your pond in the hours of darkness and the waters themselves can be home to over 200 types of invertebrates.
Establishing Your Pond
It’s best to create your pond it the autumn, so that it can fill with water over the winter period and be ‘settled’ in time for spring when more animals and insects will benefit from it. Your pond can be any shape and size, so choose one that is appropriate to your garden. Ponds are excellent garden features as they can be used as focal points, somewhere to relax, and as educational aides for your children.
Tips for Getting Started
If you choose a site shaded by trees, you need to commit to fishing fallen leaves out of the water, but if you pick a site in full sunlight, this will encourage algae to populate your pond. Go for a happy medium if possible, and avoid tree roots, pipes and cables. Larger ponds will attract more wildlife, but make sure that the sides are shallow and sloping so that animals can easily slip in and out of the water. You should have a cross-section of aquatic plants from the three main categories. These are submerged, floating and shallow water emergent. It’s essential to invest in a pond filter and a pond pump in order to keep the water clean and attractive to wildlife. If you have young children, they should never be allowed to play near the edge of the pond unsupervised.