As you look out over your garden, what do you see? Do you see potential, space, a blank canvas; or instead a basic garden with stone paving slabs and a little gravel for gardens thrown in intermittently. You may actually think that the latter is ideal, especially when it comes to mowing season. Do not think otherwise, having a garden is a big commitment, and having the garden you always dreamed of can be hard work.
However, do not be put off. Life isn’t always about taking the easy way, accepting only stone paving slabs and gravel for gardens. If you like that, then fine, after all it is your space. But if you long for more, and perhaps have thought about building a pond for your garden, then read on. We’ll look at what you’ll need to do, and moreover what you shouldn’t do. By the end of it you may want to stick with what you have, stone paving slabs or not; you may though want to start a new adventure and build that garden pond.
The single most important step in the whole process. Before you even shovel a grain of dirt, you will need to plan. A list of things you’ll need to consider, though not exhaustive, includes the following:
- Location of the pond
- Shape and size
- Shelving/variable levels
- Liner – pre-formed or fitted by you
- Additional features such as waterfalls
- The types of plants you want to grow or wildlife to attract – this will directly affect all of the other factors, so may be the most important consideration
In the right place, you can have the foliage you want and a clear pond. In the wrong place, algae can discolour the water and some plants will simply fail to survive. Think of sunlight and shade, how it moves around the garden, then match what you want from the pond with where it will need to go to maximise the chances of success.
Also, you can’t just dig a hole these days – think of cables and pipes that run from the house to the street etc. It will potentially become a very expensive water feature it you dig through one of these.
Size and Depth
Most plants need a minimum of 60cms to flourish, but all species differ. Try and arrange the plants on papers before you do the same in soil/water. Plans can be thrown away with little expense, unlike holes and plants.
If you want added wildlife, create some shallows to help the same. Once decided, “paint” the pattern onto the garden (or stone paving slabs) so you can see how it feels in the space. Walk around it, and if it doesn’t feel right, start again.
If only it were that simple. Depending on the size of the hole, you may need a digger, but you will need to ensure that shelves etc. are level like in any build. It doesn’t matter that it is going down and not up, use pegs, string etc. to ensure consistency.
Removes stones as well as dirt as these can rip any liner and a pond with a leak, well, is just a hole in the ground! Being meticulous over details at this stage can save time and money in the long term.
Depending on the plants you are looking to grow, think shelving, and levels, it may create more work, but it will give better results. Think also of a jetty to enable access to the centre of the pond for maintenance.
Some prefer preformed liners, which will require better, more accurate measurements, whilst others prefer the flexible liners which can fit the hole you have dug. Choose which ever best suits your project.
Isn’t the pond a water feature? Of course, but flowing water adds that extra special “Zen-like” quality and can heighten the enjoyment. It also keeps the water from becoming stagnant more readily.
They may not need an invitation, and may indeed just move in without invite! If you want fish, then make sure you have researched the plants and type of pool best suited to them. Fish can be expensive (Coy-Carp), and can even be an invitation for the local heron to pay you a visit at their very own “all you can eat buffet” so be warned!
If you want low maintenance, then stone paving slabs and gravel for gardens may be the limit, and the reality is that you should probably avoid garden ponds altogether. But if you have properly thought things through and planned meticulously then the work may in fact be a little less arduous than you imagined.
Garden ponds are wonderful things, supporting both flora and fauna, and adding something special to a space. That you have created this feature yourself will only make you prouder still of all that you have achieved. Whilst nothing worthwhile is ever that straightforward, a little effort can reap you rewards and enjoyment for years to come.