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7 Quick and Simple Tips for Creating a Garden Pond Bursting with Wildlife

Published on June 27th 2021

by chris_dagorne. All rights reserved

A close up of a frog in some moss
According to The Wildlife Trusts, a healthy garden pond is one of the best things to include in your garden if you want to help support wildlife.
No matter how large or small, a pond can provide a whole range of resources for wildlife to thrive. A pond will have your garden bustling with life, from the shallow waters used by bathing birds to the surrounding plants as a refuge for insects and amphibians.
Making a pond is easy. Although, as with many things, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, all you really need is a container, plants and water. Keep reading to learn more about how to get started, and your garden will be a nature sanctuary in no time.
Explore the collection to create a garden bursting with life:
A close up of a flower

Wildlife, Water Plants and Pond Care

1. Pond care 101

Although they're pretty straightforward to create, ponds do need some attention throughout the seasons. This is super important because a pond left unattended can actually be damaging to garden wildlife. Similarly, knowing when to care for your pond is also key. In other words, cleaning your pond at the wrong time of the year may disturb wildlife, and this is something that you can easily avoid with some simple planning.
To make things easy, I'll list the key tips for caring for your pond in the summer.
The main thing to remember in summer is to keep topping up your pond with rainwater as it will quickly evaporate. Too little water will starve the wildlife living in the pond of oxygen. - Similarly, a water feature, hose, or even a floating object left on the water's surface can replenish oxygen on hot days. - Be on the lookout for blanket weeds and algae, which can quickly get out of control in the summer. Simply scoop weeds out of the pond. Just remember to leave the weeds on the side before disposing of them. This way, any wildlife you remove accidentally can safely move back into the water. Then, rinse the material in a bucket of pond water can help release smaller creatures that you can return to the pond. - You want to think about installing a wildlife ramp to allow creatures to get in and out of your pond easily.
Ponds will require maintenance in the colder months, too. You can find out more about caring for your pond in the autumn and winter below.

2. Where should you build a pond, and how big should it be?

Before you get digging, make sure you've chosen the right position for your pond. A pond filled with living things will require sunlight, warmth, and, ideally, some shade too. Sunlight is necessary for the tiny microorganisms in the water as well as your pond plants. Shade helps to regulate the temperature of the water and provides areas for aquatic wildlife to take cover.
When it comes to choosing the size of your pond, there are a few things to consider. First, how big is your garden? If you have a small garden, make sure your pond isn't too large. If you can, position it somewhere out of the way where it won't be a trip hazard. According to The Wildlife Trusts, a 2m by 2m and 60cm deep is a perfect size for overwintering frogs. Nonetheless, a mini pond is just as valuable. A small pond measuring 20-30cm-deep can still provide a wealth of benefits for garden wildlife.
A close up of a bird

3. Choosing your pond plants

It's always suggested to choose native pond plants wherever possible. This way, wildlife will be better adapted to the conditions of your pond.
That doesn't mean non-natives will hurt wildlife, although natives will certainly be preferred. If you'd like to include something more colourful, such as non-native Irises or Water Lilies, that's still ok! Just make sure the majority of plants in your pond are native to the UK or Europe.
Plants should be planted around 1 to 2 weeks after your pond is built. Within the pond, there should be four main zones, these are:
  • Submerged plants - these plants are found in the deepest parts of the pond. Their role is to provide oxygen to the life living in the pond and provide cover for wildlife.
  • Floating plants - Similar to the plants above, floating plants also provide valuable oxygen to pond wildlife. They possess leaves which float on the waters surface. As well as providing oxyen, they help keep the water cool in summer and provide shade for aquatic wildlife.
  • Emergent plants - these plants are grown in the shallower regions of the pond. Many will flower so are a valuable resource for pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies.
  • Marginal plants - Marginal plants grow around the edges od the pond. They provide shelter and food for a variety of wildlife.

4) You don’t need a huge garden to have a pond

You might think you need a big garden to have a pond, although in most cases, anyone can include a water feature of some sort, no matter what space you have.
Start with finding a suitable container. This could be anything from a plant pot, a washing up bowl or anything that falls in between. Ideally, the container should have a small base and a wide neck. This will allow you to build a ramp from stones and wood, which will act as an entrance for wildlife. The Wildlife Trust suggest upcycling a wheelbarrow, washbasin, a sawn-off plastic dustbin, a barrel or a rubber trug.
The best plants for small ponds
Here's a handful of plants deemed more suitable for smaller ponds that won't grow too large.

5) When is the best time to build your pond?

It can be tempting to jump in and make a splash from the get-go, but rather than creating your pond this summer, it could be worth waiting a couple more months.
There is no 'right time' to make a pond. However, if you're making a pond specifically for a wildlife spectacle, you should choose to make it in the autumn or winter. This way, by the time the next spring is upon us, your pond will be all set for wildlife to move in, and you will have much more activity early in the season!

6) Be on the watch for blanket weed

Blanketweed is an assortment of algae species that grow in clumps in the water. It is slimy and stringy to touch, growing beneath the water or floating on the surface. It isn't good because it spreads quickly, competing with wildlife for oxygen and other nutrients.
Tips for preventing blanketweed:
Adding Lavender or barley straw to your pond in spring can help prevent algae growth such as blanketweed. Just remember to remove any debris by the end of spring, so the plant matter doesn't rot.
A pond with the algae blanket weed

7) Creating surrounding habitat

Ponds provide an array of different habitats for wildlife and can do a huge amount to increase biodiversity in your garden. However, you can make your pond an even better habitat by surrounding it with wild areas, which will help wildlife feel comfortable moving between your pond and other garden areas.
Tips for creating wildlife corridors in the garden:
  • Plant wild grasses around your pond or cut grass less frequently.
  • Grow climbers, shrubs and trees close to your pond. These are great for providing shelter for birds, insects and other wildlife but will be beneficial for providing food, too.
  • Providing rocks and dead wood will provide a habitat for beneficial insects and is a great sunbathing spot for basking reptiles.
  • Make sure you have some gaps in the garden so that wildlife can easily pass through.

Now, all that is left is to get planning!

Start planning your pond today and choose from a great selection of plants and wildlife accessories in the collection:
A close up of a flower

Wildlife, Water Plants and Pond Care