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in Wildlife gardening
Hi All, I'm seriously thinking of installing a small raised pond, approx 6 foot by 4 foot in old money. I've always thouht one would be a really nice feature adjacent to the patio, The trouble is with work and other commitments I'm concerned that I will have enough time to devote to it's upkeep. Just wondered if anyone has one as to how much maintenance is involved in looking after one?, I presume once it's installed and set up with the right filtration it should be reasonably self sufficient but if i need to be in there every five minutes I can't justify it as I want it to be an attractive addition not a green,stagnant eyesore, any help or advice would be much appreciated.
There are a few jobs you will have to do but siting your pond in the right place should help cut some of the jobs down.Your pond will need some sun but full sun all day and it will have a lot of evaporation and you will have to do a lot of topping up - how deep do you intend it to be? Using a floating plant like a small water lily will help shade the water from the sun, oxygenating plants will help keep the water clear.Siting it away from trees will mean that you won't have to net it or spend a lot of time scooping out leaves.
You will have to do routine maintenance on filters and lift out the pump in winter...but I'm sure the pleasure you get from a pond will far outweigh the hrad work in making it.
My pond is about the size you mention and it has been here for nearly 40 years. Apart from having to replace the liner we have had no major probs.I grow a variegated grass in it, which dies down in the autumn and I have to clear it. Apart from that I just remove the pump in the autumn to clean it before putting it away. (Some people don't even do that.) It needs topping up occasionally and I have a hose attached to a water butt to do that. I have a mock orange nearby so net the pond, so I do not need to clear the leaves. It has gold fish in it and several frogs too. So do have a go. I get lots of pleasure watching the wildlife it attracts and the sound of the "waterfall". The only other job I have to do daily is to feed the fish(only in the summer) which is a pleasure in itself as, (after a while) they come up to greet you if you feed them at a specific time every day!!
If you are looking for low maintentance, I would steer clear of Koi, although at 4 x 6 I assume you were probably not thinking about them anyway. Goldfish are a much more resilient bunch.
Also, you will probably find that the bigger the pond, the easier it is to maintain. Of course you will need bigger filters etc, but in the same way that if gardeners look after the soil, the plants will (sort of) look after themselves, with a pond, if you look after the water, the fish will probably be alright. With larger ponds, you have a bit more time to catch any water problems before they cause problems for the fish.
I have had a pond for many years, but my neighbour gace me a great tip this year which I had never heard. Throw a couple of corks into the pond and it gives the local honey bees a life raft should they ever fall in.
Good Luck if you do decide to go ahead.
The deeper you can make it the cooler it will stay in the depths and the fewer problems you will have so if the deg is to be at seating height, dig the centre down at least to the same depth below ground level. I wouldn't add fish as their excretions raise pond fertility and that encourages algae and blanket weed and fish also eat any frogs eggs and tadpoles they can find. You should plan to have at least 30% of the surface covered so look into small water lillies.
Make sure your pond liner is invisible and protected at the edges by overhanging slabs or timbers as being exposed to sunlight will speed its deterioration. Make sure there's a stone near the edge which allows creatures like frogs and toads to make the leap from pond to edge so they can go and do their thing in the garden once laying is over. They are amphibious so spend quite a lot of time out of teh water and can drown if they can't get out.
The first pond my daughter made had fish in it and then, eventually, when they all died we moved the pond. Needless to say, fish were never bothered with again and it's been the best thing ever for the rest of the pond wildlife. We now have newts, frogs, toads, freshwater shrimp, etc, and things that I wouldn't like to have a nip from. All in all it's the best thing we ever did by not restocking with fish. Many a happy hour is spent staring into the water and discovering loads of life that just wasn't there when the fish were - including some plants that just couldn't get to grips with being fish food. Only problem now are snails. We put 4 in and they breed with a vengence! All sizes are abound and some are real beauties! They lay eggs on absolutely everything and are thriving! No, I don't miss fish at all!
Agree with that beewoman. Fish are the last thing you want in a wildlife pond, none in mine thanks to a long ago heron. Now we have great crested newts, various species of dragonfly and all sorts of exciting life. Mind you, I don't think a wildlife pond is what's being planned by Norm2.
true,the fish will eat the frog spawn and toad and anything else,ponds like anything else have to be looked after .You may have to a filter or like me I just change the water ever so often.plants will need dividing and leaves removed but they are lovely when the plants flower and the wildlife come.
Nutcutlet - realise Norm2 not looking for wildlife pond, but I get carried away by them...Norm2 - if you are really hankering after giving your idea a bash I would go for it! We started off with similar hankering and advice and tips were given by friends. We read up on it all and went to it with gusto. It's another experience along the way, and evolving things to suit your lifestyle. We went through quite a few fountains, tried all sort of filtration, that pocket would allow, and evolved to what we have now. Water features of any sort are a magnet and we have never looked back, just moved on. The only thing I am not keen on doing is changing the water all the time - especially if it's tap water - as chlorine/fluoride are present and takes a while to settle down again. It may or may not matter depending on how you feel about it? If you don't try it you'll never know if it's a pleasure or a pain! Get in there Norm2.