Journal Wildlife Pond

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
Hi, 2 months ago I started to build a wildlife pond in the lawn.
It's been a slow project but almost finished now, the good thing about not having much free time is I am forced to take my time and this lets me stand back and have a rethink on parts of the design.

September 12th 2019
First part of the digging this took me 2 weeks using a bucket to move the earth.
The lawn slopes down towards the house and patio area so at the far end there would be a good 25cm drop before the water level, the canes sticking out of the dirt show the height of the water at the back. At the front is a beach area level with the water almost level with the grass.
I had to put a fence post in there as one morning I already had a frog move in!
IMG_20190912_085454.jpg


A few days later I went to the local garden centre that have a pond plant shop on site. Only to be find that they had 50% of all of their plants with nothing wrong with the plants, so this is what I ended up with before I have even finished digging out the pond.
30+ plants, yes I bought one of each rude not to.

IMG_20190909_175856.jpg

IMG_20190909_175944.jpg


September 14th 2019
Not happy with the 25cm drop that the pond would have at the back to the water level I decided to lower the lawn around the pond. This way the grass would be just above the water level to give much more natural look and also hide the pond liner. We are lucky that our top soil is so nice and deep so we filled & kept 3 x 500KG bags of top soil from the pond & only about 500KG bag of chalk and stones.

IMG_20190912_103536.jpg


IMG_20190912_120525.jpg


Bit of garden wildlife, birds flying from the nest.

IMG_20190914_081242.jpg
 
Last edited:

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
September 22nd 2019
Finished digging the pond, at one end is the beach that slopes down, the other end is 70cm deep with a wide shelf going all the way around this is 25cm below the water level.
To the front right is a deep bog garden area. Lawn lifted and sloped down to the pond. Still lucky with the weather at the moment.

IMG_20190922_151905.jpg

IMG_20190924_141134.jpg


Some more garden wildlife, bees making a winter nest in the lawn. I think I got on their nerves this year while digging the pond.

IMG_20190919_124403.jpg


September 26th 2019
A windy day to put the pond liner in. I doubled up on the heavy duty underlay as I dug up so much broken glass while digging out the pond.
The grass was lifted again around the edge of the pond and place on top of the liner. I then pumped all of the water out of the pond and used a off cut of pond liner to link the pond to the garage gutter down pipe to fill the pond with 100% rain water.

IMG_20190924_151149.jpg

IMG_20190926_134941.jpg


Just as the pond underlay was about to be put in this slow worm almost dropped into the pond.
IMG_20190924_141715_BURST002.jpg
 
Last edited:

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
October 2nd 2019
Few weeks before I received 15 bags of 20L Aquatic compost, 36 Square Baskets 28x28x18cm & a large roll of Natural Hessian.
I wanted to repot all of the plants into large baskets at the start to give them space to grow for a few years.
Over the next few days I set up a potting station and went to work, I kept the old baskets to repot the smaller plants.
This is why I made the pond shelf 25cm deep so baskets would sit 6cm below the water surface.
IMG_20190912_135328.jpg

IMG_20191002_172146.jpg


Two of the baskets had a mix of 3 plants in them so I split them up, the creeping jenny I split in to 2 and potted into the old smaller pots.
IMG_20191004_111350.jpg


October 4th 2019
Look at the state of that all lined up in a row looking all clean and not natural at all.
Then stated to make the pebble beach area and what a lot of pebbles that took. The beach is 10cm deep at the front and drops to 15cm, it was made deep so I could place 9cm planted baskets in the pebbles.
Pond is slowly filling up, the only time I wanted it to rain.

At the back the grass has been placed on top of the liner but at the front I wanted the water to be almost level with the lawn so the liner has been place up and cut level with the grass the pebbles will then hold it in place.
The grass has recovered well from being lifted the time of year has helped with it not being to dry and hot.
IMG_20191003_110257.jpg


A about a month before I also bought lots of perennial plants to make a little cottage garden border behind the pond next to the fence. When I bought the pond plants the garden centre had reduce a lot of their plants to half price. As perennials die back in the winter and come but in the spring it did not mater what they look like now. Seem to be a bonus with making a pond at the end of the season.
Here are a few as we made weekly trips for a month to see what had been reduce, chose ones that said bees and butterflies like.
IMG_20190908_180619.jpg
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
October 21st 2019
Pond is 95% done just need to pot 2 more plants and move some pebble about but as its starting to rain more now I am trying to keep off the grass.
The new border has been planted behind the pond I am not sure how well it will do regards to sun light but time will tell.
Mixed in bone meal when making the new border and have also been feeding the grass with Miracle-Gro weekly around the pond to help it recover.
With the feed in the lawn and the border and both sloping towards the pond I think some might leach into the pond water but not much that I can do about that.
IMG_20191021_141527.jpg


October 24th 2019
As the pond is in the lawn and I have made it so the water level sits 1cm below the lawn at the front, plus the pond is topped up with rain water from the garage roof when it rains, I was worried about the pond water over flowing on to the lawn and getting under the pond liner so I needed a over flow system.
When it rains 4 litres of water a minute goes into the pond from the gutter.
The bog garden is at the lowest point of the pond so this is where I planed to have the overflow.
Using 60cm tube with small pebbles placed at both ends this was place in the bog garden running form the pond entrance to the exit of the bog garden.
With 2 pot noddle pots I cut the end off and trapped the liner between each pot to form a water proof seal just as long as the pot is facing down and the water is running though the pots it should be fine.
Where the bog garden ends and meets the garden I have cut the liner it just above the ground to stop water being sponged out of the pond.
IMG_20191024_094844.jpg


Then with some drainage parts I made a water trap for the pot noddle pots to be place into and then conncted the pipe work to this for the water to be taken away.
Glass jar of water was my water sample to make sure it was clear water coming out and no dirt was leaching into to the drainage system.
IMG_20191027_162317.jpg


November 3rd 2019
Added a water butt to hold water for top ups in the summer.
Overflow system hidden next to the bog garden, water is just flowing onto the patio at the moment and I need to plumb the water butt over flow into the pond, also join the downpipe into the water butt.
Added a few plants between the bog garden and the pond to soften it abit.
IMG_20191103_144321.jpg

Garden wildlife last was a woodpecker tapping at the tree. I could not seek up on it so just got a photo of the hole it made.
Will be cutting the tree back soon as it gets so big.
IMG_20191028_141826.jpg


That's it up to date I have a few question to ask for advice on will ask soon.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,193
Looks great already. A little envious on the slow worm.
I'm sure you are aware but just in case one of the plants you bought looks like a canna lily and unless we have a very mild winter, or you really heavily mulch it, the cold will probably kill it. Here in norwich we have to move them into shelter or store them dormant over the winter.
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
cheers Darrel

Wow that's some knowledge you have there, must be right as it ticks the boxes.
Comes for Dorset
Lives under the grass
Active September to November
Likes ivy flowers

Looks great already. A little envious on the slow worm.
I'm sure you are aware but just in case one of the plants you bought looks like a canna lily and unless we have a very mild winter, or you really heavily mulch it, the cold will probably kill it. Here in norwich we have to move them into shelter or store them dormant over the winter.
No I did not already know, thanks for the heads up just in time as we had a light frost this morning and looks like tonight is going to be the same.
Bit of a pain as one was placed to block the entrance of the bog garden and keeping the pebbles in place.
I have three canna lily's now sitting in the greenhouse, do I still place the baskets in shallow water?
We live in a town not really on the edge, but next door has a large yard that's over grown, I use to play in there 40 years ago as a child and remember then finding slow worms.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,193
With the canna you can do a couple of things. You can let them go into dormancy by putting them somewhere dry that doesn't freeze which can be either in the pot or taking them out and storing like a bulb. The other way is to put them in the greenhouse and keep them just a little moist, not wet, and begin to water more as they start to grow in the spring. The idea is to stop them sitting in water as this can rot the tubers when they aren't actively growing. They might look a little tatty but should come back strong and vigorous next year.

Some people do get away with them in the ground in warmer areas of the country but it's a real risk if we get a wet and cold winter and the soil they sit in becomes water logged.
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,518
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Garden wildlife last was a woodpecker tapping at the tree. I could not seek up on it so just got a photo of the hole it made.
The tree is Acer saccharinum, Acers are the trees they make maple syrup from, so it may have been <"after the sap">?. I didn't know that British Woodpeckers did this, but <"apparently they do">.

I'll be interested to see how they Pitcher plants (Sarracenia) do as well, I think the water might be too hard in the pond itself (the rain-water itself would be fine, but I think the run-off from the lawn etc will add bases from the chalk).
Wow that's some knowledge you have there
That is actually an easy one. I can't identify many solitary bees, (and if it was June you would have a lot more choice), but that is the only one you are likely to find at this time of year in your lawn, and you were in the right part of the world.
somewhere dry that doesn't freeze which can be either in the pot......
Would be my choice.

I am really liking the garden and pond, I think you may find you get very rampant plant growth next year, which will be great, but after that it might be a little too nutrient rich. I would actually have re-used the chalky rubble from the hole, just mixed with a small amount of aquatic compost.

When I did <"my pond">, I didn't actually put any soil in it, I built the terraces from the limestone rubble that I extracted from the hole, but plant growth was still quicker than I would have liked. That first image was from 2010 (I did the pond autumn 2008). This was <"2013">, and by 2018 there was any visible water at all, and eventually it has had to have a <"complete re-set">.

cheers Darrel
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,193
Also with canna if any have flowered and have seed pods then they are very simple to grow from seed and flower the same year. I bought two cheap red canna last year for a fiver and got 90 seeds from them at the end of last year. I wasn't particularly confident in my growing ability but I had 85 come up and 80 made it into nice plants of both red but more original green. We sold half for charity and I kept the other half to see how they did and now have literally a shed full to overwinter.
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
I'll be interested to see how they Pitcher plants (Sarracenia) do as well, I think the water might be too hard in the pond itself (the rain-water itself would be fine, but I think the run-off from the lawn etc will add bases from the chalk).
With the turn over of new rain water coming from the garage roof I hope it will keep the water in check.
I would actually have re-used the chalky rubble from the hole, just mixed with a small amount of aquatic compost.
The old soil had so much broken glass in it I could not risk adding it to the pond, but the bog garden part is filled with just garden soil but I did place underlay on top of the pond liner first. I also wanted to keep any small stones out as I know in the future I will need to get in the pond to move the plants about like the deep water plants that at the moment I have placed of the shelf while the pond settles. So no risk of standing on a sharp stone and making a hole.
When I did <"my pond">, I didn't actually put any soil in it, I built the terraces from the limestone rubble that I extracted from the hole, but plant growth was still quicker than I would have liked. That first image was from 2010 (I did the pond autumn 2008). This was <"2013">, and by 2018 there was any visible water at all, and eventually it has had to have a <"complete re-set">.
That's a nice pond and lovely planted boarders in the garden. Like your pond this pond is also in a north facing garden and not getting much sun at the moment, I hope this will help the with algae control and with the lower water temperatures while things settle down.

looks great the pond. looks very natural. love it
Thanks, I wanted to make a pond that looked more natural as if it was always there will be interesting to see how in evolves, I hope the lily's cover the water.
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
I have now linked a 6 foot cattle water trough to the pond, it did have summer bedding plants and a fern in it.
The pond over flow pipe now fills up the trough and I have a small pump that feeds the water back to the pond.
As this is a wildlife pond with no fish the water that flows out of the pond has to work its way through pebbles to keep the wildlife away from the pump.

So I now have some options.
1. Just don't link it and use it as a summer planter again
2. Add a box filter to the return feed, is it needed for a pond with no fish
3. Put more water plants in the trough to help keep the water clean, it only gets sun in the summer in the afternoon.
4. Hydroponics using the pond water.
5. Gravel filter.
6. Put gold fish in the trough.

At the moment I have noticed that its acting like a settling tank as there is a small amount of gunk on the bottom, been running for 5 days.
The pond water looks a little more clear now it has running water, I let the water fall in to the pond.
One down side is that any water evaporation from the pond is going to lower the water in the trough and not the pond, but would add a pump that would cut off it ever run dry.

Here is what it looks like at the moment.

IMG_20191111_132314.jpg

IMG_20191111_132137.jpg
 

martin-green

Member
Joined
8 Aug 2011
Messages
220
The trough is galvanised and will affect the water both quality and PH
How does the water get from the pond back to the water butt?
I am trying to understand what it is you are trying to achieve.
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,193
I think the water butt just overflows into the trough Martin and the overflow from the pond goes through a pipe round the back of the butt into the trough but Garsands will explain it I'm sure.

Personally I wouldn't put goldfish in the trough simply because it would be hard to overwinter them in there. You could go the root of some summer tubbing, bringing the fish in for the winter.

I like the idea of a vegetable filter but going by the amount of plants you have in the pond you might not have many excess nutrients once they get going. I like it as a filter/pond extention just to add more real estate and habitat.
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
The trough is galvanised and will affect the water both quality and PH
How does the water get from the pond back to the water butt?
I am trying to understand what it is you are trying to achieve.
The water butt just holds reserve rain water and the over spill at the moment runs into the trough.
A pump is in the trough that pumps water back into the pond, water then runs back into the trough from a pipe that runs behind the water butt.

What I am trying to achieve is finding a possible use for the trough that could help the wildlife pond water quality.
It is more of a hybrid wildlife pond as I don't really what a swamp with dirty water as its close to the patio.

I like it as a filter/pond extention just to add more real estate and habitat.
This is what I am leaning towards and fill it up with more water plants, already thinking of adding 2 more 5ft troughs and joining it all together at the end of next summer.
But not sure if I will end up with lots of gnats flying around the patio area.
Having lots of plants I hope will give me control over the nutrients in the pond so I can feed if I need to.

Beautiful! My family would have shot me if I was to build a pond in the garden vs a swimming pool.
How about a natural swimming pool? :)

The pebbles in the pond started to get covered in a dusting a green algae but took a photo today a most of it has now gone.
But I understand its getting cold now so will see what the spring brings, I am still dreaming that having the pond flushed with lots of fresh rain water will stop any algae taking hold.

IMG_20191125_150939.jpg
 

mort

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2015
Messages
1,193
I think it's highly likely that you will get a fair bit of algae next year going by my recent experience. I setup a wildlife pond in my brothers garden and it uses rain water collected from his garage roof (one side goes straight to the pond, the other to water butts that then overflow to the pond when full).
The pond is south facing so that doesn't help but it suffered from horrible stringy algae in the shallow for the first summer but remained crystal clear. This year however there was very little algae and I'm hoping this trend continues. I'm now slowly diversifying the plants, removing the overly rampant growers and trying for more decorative stuff with flowers.
The pond isn't filtered but has a small pump to gently break the surface and stop scum developing.

So that's a long way of saying that if it does get manky then it will come good if you give it sometime to sort itself out and mature. It could be a several year project.
 

garsands

New Member
Joined
6 Nov 2019
Messages
19
Location
Dorset
Spring is here.

The ponds first frog spawn, I have little tadpoles swimming between the pebbles.
IMG_20200322_150541.jpg


I have removed the pump from the overflow water trough as its not going to work. I also did not what the tadpoles being flushed out of the pond & other wildlife.
The grass is growing nicely over the edge of the pond in some places long grass roots are growing in the pond.
When I cut the grass 2 weeks ago lots of grass cuttings ended up in the pond so I am going to grow the grass longer all around the edge of the pond, like at the bottom right of this photo. This was left as in February I planted 25 Snow Drop bulbs & some flowered so did not cut that part of the lawn.

IMG_20200329_151107.jpg


Dug over the Herbaceous border at the back of the pond part of it gets little light so will see how works out over the summer. But pleased the pond gets full sun from midday to evening. Still have the 3 large Canna plants over wintering in the green house to add to the gaps.

IMG_20200329_151028lll.jpg


Two plants in the pond that are in flower at the moment Carex riparia & Primula rosea I kept the labels :shh:

IMG_20200329_150907lll.jpg


IMG_20200322_150559.jpg


I have just emptied a packet of wildflower seeds around the edge of the pond to mix in with the uncut grass, they have a choice grow or die we will see what they have chosen in a few months time.

IMG_20200330_19312222aaa.jpg


I am really pleased how this pond has turned out its just how imagined it and more.
Will let the water level drop and rise with the weather to see how it works out and leave it to nature.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Kezzab Journal Lockdown wildlife pond Ponds 67
A Journal Lockdown Pond Project Ponds 4
NorthernDan New Turtle Pond (UK) Ponds 22
Wolf6 Our (overgrown) garden pond Ponds 8
Macman6 planting in a pond Ponds 2
killi69 how to disinfect pond plants? Ponds 11

Similar threads

Top