If you were thinking about introducing a new feature to your garden this year, why not make it a pond. Modern ponds use sophisticated filtration systems that are expensive. But healthy ponds have been in existence for millions of years without such gadgets. You can make a natural pond in your garden that will attract wildlife and keep your children entertained.
Kids love pond dipping to find new little creatures that inhabit the water, so buy a few nets because they will have an endless supply of critters to investigate.
Here is my guide to building your own garden pond.
Choose a suitable location for your pond
You must choose the location carefully. If it gets too much sun, you will have problems controlling pond algae, but it does need some sunlight throughout the day.
If you placed it by a tree in such a position that it only received about four hours of direct sunlight every day, it would be perfect. You can add more bushes around the perimeter if you feel it needs more shade, at a later date.
Excavate the ground
Decide on the shape of your pond and start to dig a hole. Make it about two feet deep at one end and shallower at the other. Create a gentle slope at the shallow end of the pool, so that when it is full of water, little animals will have an easy way to get in and out. Leave a shelf that will be about twelve inches below the waterline, around the edge of the hole. Plant pots will stand on it.
Line the bottom and sides of the hole with a layer of building sand at least two inches thick.
Choose a suitable pond liner
Buy the best quality pond liner that you can afford. It may set you back a couple of hundred pounds for the best product, but it is worth it. Leaks can be disastrous to your water feature. Fit the liner into the hole and form it to the shape as best you can. Fill it with water now. The weight of the water will push the liner into its final shape.
Install a suitable pond liner
Bury the edges of the liner, so they are out of sight. If the area is grass, lift it and place it back on top of the plastic. Congratulations, the hard work is over.
Wait a minute; did you think this would be a DIY post without any manly tools? Think again. You need one or more benches where you can sit and enjoy the view. The easiest way to make them is to bury some vertical sections of railway sleepers in the ground, and put a cross piece over them to use as a seat. The best way to cut the sleepers is with a chainsaw. You can’t get manlier than that.
You must now put oxygenating plants in the pool. It is they that are the lungs of the ecosystem. Your local aquatics centre will recommend the best plants to use; listen to their advice. All you need do now is wait and let nature take its course. Use a rake once a year to remove any weeds that might be choking the pond, but that is all. The critters will move in, and the kids can enjoy them. Another successful project!