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I am currently in the process of setting up my small pond. It's a Bermuda cove preformed one ( 84cm/64cm. Its sited in a sunny/shaded spot come late afternoon., we started it last week ( could only put tap water in) and already it's gone a bit green and a few bubbles on top of the green bit. 

The max depth is 30cm In the middle. I have two marginal plants. ( can't remember names sorry but one has tall reeds and the other is sporting pretty delicate white flowers. 

I have also just bought a floating plant 'nymphaea pygmaea (red Pygmy) water Lilly and for the oxygenators I have a bunch (10) of 'elodea crispa and a starwort plant. (Still to arrive this week )There are also 2 water cress stems floating in it that my husband put in. 

I'm wondering if this is enough for my little wildlife pond and also how do I plant the aquatic plants? I have some pond baskets and 3 hessian squares. I'm guessing that I need to buy aquatic compost? I have a bag of small pebbles in the shed. Will they be ok to weigh the soil down? 

Apologies for all the questions but I'm v new to gardening and I really want to get my pond balanced out so hopefully the frogs will approve of it Any tips would be gratefully received.


If you have a pre formed pond, it probably will have shallow shelves each the edge, perfect for your marginal plants but not wildlife friendly.You will have to make a beach at one end/side of your pond. This will make a gradual entry and exit point for all wild life allowing birds to bathe and drink; frogs to spawn and hedgehogs to get out safely (they often drown as they can't manage the slippy,vertical, plastic sides of a pond)

You can do this by adding a combination of stones, bricks or large cobbles to one of your existing shelves until they are above water level.

Your plants sound great and I'm sure you have more than enough. I can never understand why water plants are so expensive as they grow so fast. You will soon be dividing your lily (a couple of years)and lifting out pond weed as it overtakes your pond at the end of the summer!

You can use aquatic compost to plant your plants in or poor garden soil that has not had any fertilizer added to it. As the introduction of nutrients to the pond will encourage algae to grow. Set any plants you are going to add in the shallows so they can soak up the water before you lower them deeper into the water to stop the soil floating out of them. Mulch the top of your pots with a good layer of large gravel.

I would also invest in a water butt or two to top your pond up from so you are not adding any more tap water to the pond and therefore more nutrients.I attach the hosepipe to mine and it fills up my pond when the levels drop.

I seem to have got a bit carried away here but I would have liked to know this sort of info. when I set up my pond....which is now very successful 

Good luck and enjoy. My pond brings me a great deal of pleasure along with a lot more species visiting my patch.

Thank you so much Daintiness. I'm finding this pond business complicated but your post simplifies thins peectly. I really appreciate the time you ave taken to help me out. Now as for wildlife I forgot to mention in my post that the pond has a wildlife ramp so hopefully the critters should be ok. I've also put some logs nearby and stones near the edges. There's a few upturned pots too. Hopefully once the new plants are in the greeny bits should balance out but it's only a week old so v early days yet. 


That should read simplifies perfectly. This auto correct can be v annoying lol.


The ramp should do the job for getting creatures in and out but frogs may not spawn unless they have access to a little more in the way of shallow water. They hopefully will do it among your marginal plants which will provide a shelf on a shelf - if you see what I mean. 

It will also be likely that your pond may get greener and take a while to clear - combination of nutrients in the water and the sunlight we are experiencing at the moment which will heat the water quickly in a small pond. Monty Don was adding barley straw(not wheat - it must be barley) to his pond a couple of weeks back to help with the balance in his pond. It might be something you may need to add as well. You can buy it in ready made sheets for a small pond like yours or add a handful or two of fresh straw wrapped in an old pop sock, onion bag etc. I can't remember the amounts needed, he did explain. Might be worth taking a look on the i player.

Sounds as though you have made a great start and hopefully will soon be seeing lots of critters visiting.


Ahh I see what you mean about providing a shallow area. Hmm, maybe I could put some stones on one shelf side and raise it a bit so it's a bit more shallow. Thx again, you have given me some ideas and a job to do tomorrow.  

do you mind if I put a pic tomorrow and you can tell me if things are positioned correctly? This site is fantastic for information and helpful advice. 


I have just bought a water lily for our pond from a water lily specialist. The accompanying instruction say DON'T use water lily compost as it contains turf which will kill the plant. Only use ordinary garden soil! Enjoy your pond, I'm sure it will turn out great!


Hi JJ-great advice already given and I'll just add that as you've already added watercress, it will soon grow and help clear the water as it  takes up the nutrients that cause the green algae and blanket weed. Enjoy your pond - it will give you immense pleasure 

Thanks SwissSue and Fairygirl.

By the way is it possible to grow watercress in a container? I fancy eating some but would rather it didn't come from the pond for obvious reasons! 


You can grow land cress, a kind of water cress in a container. Water cress itself usuallly grows best in flowing water as far as I can remember. Land cress seeds are readily available and it crops quite quickly too.


If I were you I would take the watercress out as soon as you can before it takes root and overwhelmes the pond completely.

If you leave it and then decide to remove it you will have great difficulty in getting rid of it all as every bit of stem left behind will grow into a new plant.


If you need to thin it out it's a lot easier to pull out than blanket weed! Never had a problem with it in anyof the ponds I've had.

Thanks guys, I've removed most of it tonight and just left one shoot. My submerged plants should be arriving soon  

I have just found an old pond in my garden (have only just moved in) so today I have been digging it out of all the debris, any advice would be just wonderful, I live on the west coast of Scotland - it rains a lot. I have read all the comments above, I know nothing about gardening so all help would be very welcome. Thanks in advance.

Sue T


Hi Susan. If you can post a pic or two it helps enormously. Click on the tree icon in the toolbar at the top of the posting window and follow the directions.

Clear your pond as best you can and then take a look at what's there and let us know. People here will be only too happy to offer advice. At my last house we had a huge pond which fed into a smaller one. It was so neglected my then partner didn't even realise there was a pond there at all. A couple of hours work clearing and it came back to life. If it's a wildlife pond you want there's some good advice on this thread already and there's a couple of other pond threads around too. If you type in 'wildlife pond' into the search facility at the top of the page it should bring up some of the other threads. It really depends what plants will be happy within your own plot and what kind of look you like. As you say, topping up a pond here isn't usually necessary! 


Like Jodejay we are also setting up our small garden pond and I have bought 2 marginals -oenanthe japonica and dwarf reed mace as well as elodeae for oxygenating. I want some small lillies too, do I need to buy special pond baskets and aquatic compost?Also I was advised to use childrens play sand on the bottom so that beasties could burrow in, is this ok? We also live in the west of scotland and I thought it rained a lot too but after 3 weeks of bucket round the garden my wee pond has only just filled up

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