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in Wildlife gardening
Well, I've dug up my concrete, and now need to dig the hole. I've had a look at previous pond building discussions re shallow areas and sloping sides, but I can't see that anyone has mentioned the appropriate depth at maximum? Assorted websites seem to produce conflicting opinions. The pond is going to be about 12 x 12 foot (not in a square shape though), be lined with butyl and have no filtration/aeration except for aerating plants. There will not be fish and there will be an additional bog area. Half will be in sunlight, the other half in shade and I plan a series of shelves at different depths for different indigenous plants. How deep should the deepest bit be though? All advice and experience very greatly welcomed, and I would love to see pictures of other people's projects too.
I'd say 2 foot minimum then It's unlikely to freeze right through.
Our pond is a fish pond so ours is about a meter deep at one end going upto 50cm's the other. I think I read at the time of constructing ours that an ideal depth for wildlife should be around 60/90cm's for hybernating frogs. someone will correct me if I'm wrong . We have frogs laying ample spawn every year but very little survives with having fish!
So if I aim for 3 foot ish before the cushion and liner, I should be ok. Do you know if this area has to have really gently sloping sides aswell or can it be more like a well in the middle (presumably frogs don't need to walk out of it when they wake up!)? It would just be an easier thing to dig and support if the whole thing isn't a basin shape, I think. I decided against fish Rodgy dodge, because I'm having a problem getting my brain round this anyway and would stand no chance if I had to think about filters and pumps aswell ....
PS Rudely forgot to say thank you for advice so far, both of you!
I don't think you need slopes other than to get out of the water Sara and you don't need to do that all round if you fancy a steep bit. You don't need fish, a wild life pond is much more exciting.
Most of the shallow areas should be less than 50cm deep to allow for marginals and invertebrates to thrive.The deep area should be about 1m in order for frogs etc to over winter successfully. The deeper water is also good for a water lily to grow in.
I'm aiming for as much of it as possible to be as shallow as possible, Daintiness, with lots of different plateaux, and for it to spill into flat sandy bits too. But I will make sure I go to a metre in the middle, unless I meet a completely immovable object.
I agree nutcutlet, I am much more thrilled at the concept of slug eating frogs than super expensive fish which a passing duck will eat anyway! I would love some newts too - I wonder if Ken Livingstone would send me some?
I have created a similar pond to yours. It has been very successful and I have frogs, toads and newts.
I have had a few problems therefore maybe a few tips for you to think about or look out for: topping up the pond with only rain water has been a challenge. I now have 3 water butts to help with this in summer. About 25% of the sides of my pond bleed into grass and other plants on the bank and although it looks really natural and is well used my birds and mammals for access to the pond it does absorb quite a lot of water.
Blanket weed has also been a problem - common to most ponds at one time or another. This year I have followed Monty's advice and stuffed a leg of a pair of tights with barley straw (50g per square metre of surface of the pond), secured the other leg under a stone at the edge of the pond under foliage and am letting it rot down. It seems to be doing its thing!
The only other thing I would say is if you know someone with a pond, approach them about having some plants. Pond plants can be expensive - I don't know why as they all grow at a terrific rate and need splitting, cut back or pulled out on a regular basis.
Hope this is useful to you. Good luck with your pond - make it as big as you can because once you start putting in plants and the edging grows - it seems that it shrinks!
Thank you so much, I've been really hoping that someone would give me the benefit of their direct experience so I hope you don't mind if I pick your brains for the foreseeable future! I am fortunate that I will have a lot of help with the first fill - I work for a brewery and they are going to bowser a tank of spring water over to get me started! I have 3 water butts already, but in the current hot spell they have been challenged by just watering the garden without having to top up a pond too. I will have to get some more. Plant wise, I don't know anyone with a pond (we have lived here since October, and I haven't found anyone interested in gardening in this town yet, although one of the neighbouring villages has a thriving society) so I shall have to hope for the best; digging the whopping great hole will take me a day or so anyway. I would love to see some pictures of your pond to give me hope ....
I don't blame you for not wanting fish sara, the pond is my husbands baby although he took a bit of persuading to make me an ornate pond cover to stop the heron's and next doors cats taking the fish, also to protect our grandaughter from falling in.
Its still waiting to be finished as he run out of steel, but once its painted up I think it will look quite sculptural. its loosly based on the blue peter one!
I should have continued with....we don't have marginals just oxygenators and water lily's. Our last pond we had marginals and didn't have a problem keeping clear water. This one is wick with blanket weed that I have suggested trying the barley straw. I've even sugested we put a plastic crate in the bottom of this one to put marginals at the shallow end to see if it helps control the weed. We also have the filters running with a UV but still its green.
My pond is wild and wooly and you can hardly see the water at the moment!
This taken from the main pond end. It narrows goes under a large stone slab (recycled) which acts as a bridge and path and then the beach end...which is where the next picture was taken from...
You can see that the level has dropped at the moment. We have been promised rain so I am holding off on topping up. There is also rather a lot of duck weed but I can't do anything about that at the moment without removing a lot of tadpoles so I'll wait until they hop off.
The water is pretty clear at the moment, thanks to the barley straw I think.
Both ponds look lovely in different ways - I'm impressed with your husband's ingenuity (even if under pressure!) - although as soon as you mentioned Blue Peter I looked for the wire coat hangers and sticky backed plastic! Daintiness,your pond looks gigantic! I thought mine was going to be big but now I'm jealous of your stream (if I dig the path up as well, I could have one, but the other half is getting nervous of my drilling activity. It might come up 'by accident' tomorrow, I think ...). At the moment, mine is still a b... great hole full of evil bits of rubble which are really difficult to shovel up but I shall post pictures of it now and as it develops - more as a gradual record for myself than anything although comments and suggestions will inevitably be asked for and welcomed. Thank you for your pics and knowledge - I'm not getting response emails hence delay in saying so.
Chuckled at the coat hangers and sticky back plastic! Good luck with it all Sara it will be lovely to watch your project evolve, Have you thought about bloging it? I started to blog our house extension last year. I thought it would be informative for anyone thinking of doing their own extension, its lovely to look back on it.
I lost control of new technology speak round about Amstrad! I don't really know what blogging is ... it is in the mystery zone of tagging, blue tooth, blue ray, cloud technology and how to work a mobile phone to me! I may help your husband with his next project though, as I once made a stonking incendiary hanging candle thing on the advice of Valerie Singleton ...
Ha haa can't wait for christmas.....
I only blogged (wrote) as far as the roof! its a long story why I never got around to the finished build that I don't want to bore you with. I keep saying I'll re-write it and put it in better order you need to scroll down to the bottom to start at the begining. The actual buil was the easy bit, the internals was where the nightmare begun!
Wow! That's some impressive work (I have to ask how you get the handle Rodgy-dodge from the name Denise) both by the pen and the spade! It made me smile to read you echoing my favourite (as in over used and over optimistic) phrases, eg 'How hard can it be, it's only .... a paint job/pond/extension/conservatory/scale model of the Palais de Versailles water garden.'
and particularly - 'No way did all that rubble come out of that tiny little hole!' (It did, and continues doing so) and 'I can't believe it, it's raining' (Hallo, this is England) !
Still it gives me faith that things do get completed in the end, but I am of the over optimistic variety of idiot who things everything will be finished by Tuesday. I can't imagine being grown up enough to allow three years for a project because I would be overcome by the enormity of it and never dare to start so you have my heartfelt admiration on that too. I'm assuming that your kitchen extension did end up finished despite the nightmare internals (sparks/plumbers/kitchen fitters in one place aaaaaaaargh) and you're justifiably proud of it.
So maybe I will attempt a sort of blog, after I have received some elementary instruction on how to turn on the (not a box brownie) digital camera!
Your so eloquent in writing, You could do your own writing about you pond build in word then publish it on blogger which you can sign up with google...we built this extension with very few tradesmen and on a very tight budget, we hired brickies by the day, we hired the joiners by the day,as well as the roofer and plasterer although we fitted all the plaster board. My husband did all the plumbing & electrics (although we had to have a certified leccy to over see the installation) Husband and I fitted the kitchen, layed the floors and I did all the painting and decorating. Our problems began when we found wood boring weavil in the old parquet flooring, every downstairs floor had to come up and renewed. It was then I couldn't write about it anymore I'd about lost the will to live. It took us 8 months. I need to rewrite the experience.
Sorry folks for taking over this thread, the moral of it all is that you can construct anything. the internet is a fabulous place for information on how to???
Hi - I only just got the notification that you'd posted. Very kind of you to compliment the purple prose; we had a superb English teacher and my school really valued creative writing so I think most of my peers speak and write in a similar way.
I can only cringe at the crushing weevil blow; and in parquet it's SO lovely and SO expensive, and to find it when you were so near the end of the build ... well, my well tutored words fail me!
But you did it, and really should be justifiably proud - finish off your story and let the world know!