A pond is the perfect way to attract wildlife to your garden, from frogs, toads and newts to hedgehogs, birds and aquatic insects. Ponds are also lovely for us, too, providing a relaxing spot to sit on a sunny afternoon. Ponds are fascinating for children – supervised pond dips are the perfect way to teach them about the lives of amphibians and other animals.
Start your pond by marking out the position on the ground. Use a garden hose for an informal-shaped pond, or canes and string for formal designs, as in our example, below. When calculating the size of liner for your pond, measure the length and multiply it by twice the depth, adding on 15cm for an overlap. Repeat this for the width to get the size required.
Plant your garden pond up with native pond plants such as hornwort, water forget-me-not and brooklime, and fill it with rainwater if possible. You garden wildlife will find it in no time.
Looking to plant up your pond? here, Monty Don demonstrates how to plant up a pond with a variety of deep-water and marginal plants, including water hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos), pickeral weed (Pontederia cordata) and flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus). He shows you how to position each plant and explains why they need to be grown in aquatic baskets:
More on garden ponds:
Our garden pond shopping list
You might already have what you need to get started on making your garden pond. If you don’t, we’ve done the hard work for you with our handy shopping list.
- 60cm wooden garden pegs | from £23.99 at Amazon
- Timber | from £2.67 at B&Q
- Geo-textile protective underlay | from £14.99 at Amazon
- Swell pond liner | from £13 at B&Q
- Decking boards | from £7 at Wickes
- Ryobi cordless drilling starter kit | from £185 at Argos
- Residual current device | from £8 at Wickes
- Brass screws | from £3.39 at Toolstation
- Stanley Sta042074 Basic I-Beam Level 60cm | from £7.50 at ToolDen
You Will Need
- Wooden pegs (60cm long)
- Retaining boards (2mm thick)
- Timber, for edging
- Spirit level
- Protective underlay
- Butyl pond liner
- Decking planks (four)
- Residual current device
- Long brass screws
Dig a hole to 45cm deep. Knock in 60cm-long pegs around the edges and screw 2cm-thick retaining boards to them. Frame the edges with timber, screwed to the top of each peg.
Use a spirit level and long plank to check that all sides of the hole are level. If they aren’t, the liner will show and spoil the look of your pond.
Add extra soil to one side of the hole to create a long, sloping marginal shelf. Firm this down using your heels to make sure it’s compacted, then rake level.
Check the depth of your marginal shelf with your potted aquatic plants. The surrounding edge of the pond should be around 2-3cm above the pot’s rim.
Remove any sharp stones from the soil, then line the hole with protective underlay, such as the geo-textile liner or offcuts of carpet.
Lay the pond liner over the hole and, with shoes off, climb in and push the liner into every nook, pleating it for a neater finish. Allow a 15cm overlap at the edges.
Fill your pond, preferably with rain water from your water butt. If you need to use tap water, leave it to stand for a week before planting up, to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
When filled, trim liner and underlay together leaving 10-15cm of overlap. Fold over the corners ready to fix on the planks.
Lay lengths of decking over the four edges of the pond, parallel to the sides. Mark and cut where the planks overlap.
Cut to size then drill through the decking edge and liners into the edging frame, beneath. (Use a residual current device for safety.) Pull the liner taut to creat a neat finish then, using long brass screws, fix the planks in place.
Kate Bradbury says
The greatest amount of wildlife, including tadpoles and other aquatic insects, is found in the shallows of the pond, so give greater priority to the shallow areas than the deeper parts. A gentle, sloping side is also better for birds, which will drink and bathe in your pond. Shallows also make ponds safe for hedgehogs, enabling them to enter and exit safely.