Attract wildlife to your garden pond

Even a small pond will make a big difference to your garden, attracting a wide range of creatures. Let wildlife find your pond naturally and it will soon become a thriving habitat for anything from mayflies to hedgehogs.

Give your pond the best chance of success by selecting the best possible site. Lots of sunshine will attract the widest range of creatures, but even shady ponds make good habitats for newts.

For a naturalistic effect, make a pond with an informal, curved outline. But a formal rectangular or square pond can still be wildlife friendly. Straight edges can easily be disguised with plants, both in and outside of the pond.

To attract the widest range of wildlife, create areas of shallow water (around 2-3cm deep), which are essential for the lifecycles of frogs, dragonflies and water beetles, and will also make it easier for creatures like hedgehogs and birds to bathe. Deeper areas (up to 1m) are essential too, as frogs overwinter in the muddy depths, breathing through their skin.

The following creatures are likely to use your pond:


Frogs need ponds to breed and tadpoles will feed on the algae in the water. Create an area of plants where frogs can shelter, to provide valuable shade and cover from predators.


Birds will visit ponds to drink and to bathe. Keeping their feathers clean is essential, especially in winter, as damp feathers are easier to preen. Preening spreads oil and waterproofs feathers, insulating them from the cold.


Dragonflies breed in water and need submerged plants for their developing larvae. Ideally, the pond should be in a sunny, but sheltered location.


Hedgehogs can swim, but if they have no way out of the pond, they will become exhausted and die. Either create a gentle slope for access or lay a plank down as a ramp. Avoid pond netting, as it can trap hedgehogs.

Water invertebrates

Water invertebrates include water snails (pictured), pond skaters, which you'll see zipping across the pond's surface from April until autumn, and water boatmen, which live at the bottom of the pond and feed on plant debris and algae.


Newts lay their eggs on pond plants. Good varieties to include are water forget-me-nots, brooklime, watercress and reeds.

Discuss this plant feature

Talkback: Attract wildlife to your garden pond
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Glyn from 10/05/2012 at 22:14

I have two ponds in my back garden and they certainly encourage loads of extra wildlife to the area! I've had seen beautiful dragonfiles, frogs, toads and newts in mine to name but a few, and the attracted bird life is staggering! I've written a short guide to building your own wildlife pond, have a look at - - although I can't pretend my writing is as polished as the articles on this website I can say I try my best!

mumbrister 19/01/2014 at 22:42

What do Newt eggs look like? I get lots of clear jelly like things attached to the back of water lily leaves, anyone know what they could be please?

Mrs G 20/01/2014 at 21:09

That does sound like newt eggs, they lay them singly wrapped in leaves.

Cosmiccarrot 20/01/2014 at 21:37

They could possibly be snail eggs.
Newt eggs tend to be laid singly with one black dot in the middle of each blob of jelly. Often the newts will curl the pond leaf around the egg for protection.
Its still a bit early for newt eggs although it has been quite spring-like this winter.

nutcutlet 20/01/2014 at 21:41

No newt activity in my pond yet. But mumbrister may not be talking about now.

My first thought was snails as well.

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