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in Wildlife gardening
I hope to finish off building my wildlife pond this year, and to make it child safe I was thinking of laying a steel reinforcing re-bar mesh grid over the top, or possibly just underneath the water level.
Would this steel grid cause any reaction with the water? Would it be ok to use galvanised steel? My pond is roughly circular and about 6ft diameter.
It should not be a problem if it does not rust but the gaps in the grid should be big enough that wildlife can get in and out. I have always had a pond even when my chidren were born and still small. I always watched them in the garden and they learnt from a very young age to never go near the pond and could both swim by the time they were 5. i had a very small garden so it was easy to watch them but if your pond is out of the way I can see why you would like to put a grill on it. Someone my husband worked with lost their child when they fell in a swimming pool at a party and the child drowned, very sad but I think parents should always watch their children.
Is there any way you can grid the deep end leaving the shallow end (if you have one) open? I'm thinking of the wee beasties who might get trapped under the mesh and not be able to get out. Baby birds, hedgehogs and mice have a tendency to drown themselves if they can't reach the shore easily
Im planning on using a steel mesh with square holes about 6" square, so that should overcome that issue hopefully. Im hoping the steel doesnt harm the water if it corrodes?
having increased levels of dissolved heavy metals in pond water is not really desirable but does little harm is it not possible in your situation to build a timber frame and lay this on the top of the pond with a plastic mesh??
I need it to support the weight of a child if they fell into the pond. Ive seen a plastic grid system thats available but requires support in the middle of the pond. I may have to suspend the metal grid over the ponds water surface, but ideally submerging it would be better to hide it from view.
it could be submerged but it would still be visible through the wtaer surface also it may rust and add dissoved heavy metals
Fair point, how about galvanised steel mesh? Seems there isnt really a perfect solution?
sounds like a plan give it a try
How big is the pond?
The pond is circular and is only 6ft in diameter.
From reading other forums I gather that the zinc coating on galvanised mesh poisons fish so I assume it would also poison other wildlife in the pond. How about a temporary fence until the child is older?
Given the possibility of zinc affecting wildlife, I'd simply paint it with a couple of coats of black hammerite. Although the paint will eventually crack in a few places, you'd probably get at least 10 years before any noticeable degradation. Painting it black would also make it much less visible if you place it slightly under the surface.
Lead farmer ,with all this safety in mind ,may I ask how young are your children or do you allow your neighbours children free access to your property ,if the answer to the above questions is :-1 your children are under 10 & 2 if your neighbours kids have access Don't build the pond . wait until the kids are older and have more sense about the Hazards of deep water
I'd say at six years old the lad will be fine. I know my children were at that age. I could happily have a discussion about the do and don'ts of ponds with them and be sure they understood. I only cover ponds because my daughter is nearly 2.
But of course, thats up to you. May I suggest a wide netting staked at the edges.
A wildlife pond with steel reinforcing re-bar mesh grid doesn't sound or look very wildlife friendly to me. Leadfarmer you of course must do what is right for you, but I don't think you can call this a wildlife pond.
If you want frogs and toads, they must be able to get in AND out. They (and fish) need access to the surface. I too have a 2m diameter pond, and am looking for the best cover to keep the leaves out, while maintaining a fringe hole for irises and frogs( who need stones as staircase to paving level).
Cover needs to be not unsightly in winter, and easy to remove and replace often according to season and wildlife e.g dragonflies, weed-removal, and use of fountain.
Any suggestions as to best cover for all this?
Future / present proofing your pond sounds a very sensible idea. It may not be your child that falls in but imagine the horror if at a party a friends little brother fell in while their mother was watching someone else, even if all that happened was wet feet forgotten about once sweeties are mentioned.Yes it's fine for us to say "oh its not really going to be a nature pond" or try and impose our suggestions on you but ultimately its for you to decide what you think is best. Its your garden that means you have ultimate control. The wildlife will just learn to adapt as no doubt is has done many many times before!
6" square mesh seems plenty big enough for wild life to me (esp. for frogs and things). After all if hedgehog was able to get in through the grid surely it can get out through the same hole? Its also a good size to get your hand in to retrieve action men who claim on the television that they can swim but actually sink like stones.
I'd suggest seeing if you could get marine grade 316 stainless steel (316L being a low carbon content, 316H being high carbon content) rather than galv or painted that should prevent issues with rust contaminating the water. Now you could google the life out of this and you'd find that it does react slightly in warm sea water (causing brown staining) and but this shouldn't apply to your situation. As with all materials there will always be a slight risk you have to take. This is the grade that as an engineering type bod I have used all the time for systems that are outside / get washed down regularly and its used for boat fittings which should go some way to proving its water friendly properties.
One thing to consider is how it is made removable so that you can do maintenance on your pond (taking out leaves, removing dead plants / fish).
Hope that helps.