How To Build a Garden Pond

July 19, 2019

Creating a pond is the perfect way to attract wildlife to your garden. Frogs can come to inhabit during different seasons, birds will drink the water and dragonflies will gather to breed. 

It can take just one weekend to build your pond from scratch, and you only need a few items to get started. Follow our easy step-by-step guide below to help you build your wildlife pond.

What you will need:

  • A spade for digging out the pond
  • Plank of wood
  • Spirit level
  • Protective underlay
  • High-quality pond liner
  • Builders sand
  • A wheelbarrow
  • Pond plants
  • Artificial grass
  • Large pebbles or rocks


Step 1 – Choose the pond location and shape

Natural ponds need sunlight in order for the plants to grow. However, too much sun will cause the water to gradually evaporate. Choose a partially sheltered area which gets around 4-6 hours of sun a day. Balance is key for wildlife to flourish.

Decide on a shape for your pond. You can create a round pond, a rectangular pond or even dig an abstract shape.  As long as the level of the pond is even, you can choose any shape you like. Map out the shape using string first, to check that you like the size.


Step 2 – Dig out your pond

Dig out the pond using a spade, filling a wheelbarrow with the soil and turf. Around a metre deep in the middle is perfect if you are eventually going to add fish. Dig shelves into the sides for planting and ensure there are shallow, sloping areas for wildlife to enter and exit the pond. Place a plank of wood across the pond and use a spirit level to ensure that your pond is level.


Step 3 – Add layers of protection

Remove any sharp rocks or stones from the pond and fill the hole with a layer of builders sand, to prevent your liner from being damaged.

On top of the sand, lay down your protective underlay. This will create a protective layer between your pond liner and the ground below. You can then line the pond with your high-quality pond liner. 

Ensure that your liner is pushed into the crevices – you may want to go barefoot and check that everything is in place. 

Dig a small trench around the edge of your pond and place the excess liner into the hole. Fill in the trench and place some stones on the top to weigh it down. This will stop the liner from moving too much when your pond is filled with water.


Step 4 – Filling your pond

Natural rainwater is best for ponds, as tap water contains too many minerals and can turn your pond green. Fill your pond using rainwater from a water butt, or wait for your pond to be filled naturally with rainwater. 

If you do use tap water, leave your pond to settle for a few weeks to ensure that the minerals have evaporated. You can then begin to add plants to attract wildlife to your garden.


Step 5 – Decorating your pond

For a pond which blends in with your garden, you can place artificial grass around the edge. Remember, artificial grass has a directional pile, so make sure all the strips you cut have the fibres facing the same way! You can then place large pebbles or rocks around the edge to create a border and weigh the grass down.

Plant a variety of pond plants to attract nature and to help your pond’s ecosystem. Include oxygenating plants such as pondweed, add water lilies for lily pads and plant water violets for delicate flowers.

You can also add upturned flower pots with an entrance cut out, to give frogs and toads some shelter. Frogs will eat the slugs in your garden, meaning that your plants and flowers will flourish. 

Small planks of wood on the edge of the pond will help animals to get in and out of your pond. It might take a year or two to attract animals to your pond, but in time, you should have a mini-ecosystem in your garden.


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