Creating a Wildlife Pond in the Old House Garden

We started this project in February when we decided to move the Building that the cats slept in! Honestly, that was all the little house was used for! It also took up room and light so a new area was in order! The old pond liner has degraded so much it is full of holes so we decided to create a wildlife pond in this space. What we hadn’t expected was the cold and snowy weather we had in March which really put our plans behind. However, this Easter we have finished the wildlife pond and it looks fabulous!

What to do with this space?

This was the area once the site had been cleared. It was enormous! Much bigger than we had imagined!

Creating a pond in the old house garden.
We dug a hole and the pond quickly took shape.

Digging the wildlife pond

We wanted the pond to be a kidney shape and we wanted both shallow and deeper areas. A good depth for a wildlife pond is just over your knees in the deepest part (about a metre).Any deeper and the sunlight wouldn’t get down to this level. Any shallower and it may freeze in winter. We added 3 different depths in steps up to a shallow ridge on two sides. This allows a handy shelf to sit plants on and it also creates warmer, shallower water for creatures to live in. Adding different depth layers will help provide habitats for different animals and plants. You also want to think about how wildlife such as hedgehogs, will be able to drink from the pond without falling in and if they do fall in, how they will get out again! Wildlife ponds do not have to be large so if you have a small garden you can still create havens for wildlife.

You need to remove all the stones and sticks so that the liner doesn’t get torn once you add water. We had a large tree stump in the way left over from the Leylandii which had to come out and that was hard work! We got as much as we could out but left the stump in under the soil in the end because it was so huge.

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden. Oldhouseintheshires.
An old tree stump had to come out but it proved harder work than we imagined!

 

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
The liner can then go over the entire area and water was added. We also moved the seat we had in another part of the garden with plans to incorporate that in our design.

Lining your wildlife pond

To calculate the size of the liner you will need to add twice the maximum depth to both the width and the length.

We put an underlay underneath the liner for added protection from sharp sticks and stones as you really don’t want to rip the liner. You can add a layer of soft sand, old carpet or newspaper instead which will do the same thing. Once the water is in, the added pressure can easily rip the liner so good preparation is key. Once the pond was full with water, we left it for 2 whole weeks for the area to settle. This proved to be quite important as we didn’t want any movement once we started to concrete the pavers in place. You need at least a 50cm overlap of liner around the edges to secure it in place. We used pavers to secure the liner but you could also use gravel, pebbles or soil.

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
We used old pavers that we had in the garden from an old path. We washed them first and they look amazing!

 

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden.
We laid out the pavers to check they fitted and then concreted them in place.

 

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
You need to make sure that the liner is long enough to go all the way around and to leave a sizeable overlap to secure your pavers to. You can then cover with soil or gravel.

 

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
We added pebbles in the setting concrete for a more natural look and to disguise the liner. The liner shouldn’t be left exposed to sunlight as this can cause it to perish quicker.

 

Creating a wild life pond in the old house garden
Adding the pebbles all the way around. We created a bank behind the pond with soil to add some height for planting.

Adding the plants to your wildlife pond

It’s best to leave the water for another week or so. This ensures that the water is ready for wildlife and plants as tap water is too chlorinated for wildlife. Then you are ready to add the plants. This is definately the best part!

I added many plants to the pond but did this over the course of a whole week as the weather was so cold and I was worried they wouldn’t survive! I also transferred some from the old pond. For a healthy pond you need lots of oxygenated plants; I asked for advice from the local garden centre who were very helpful.

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden.
The fun part….adding the plants!
Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
I transferred lots of wild primroses from around the old house garden to the bank behind the pond.

Wait for the wildlife to come to your pond

For the first week of the Easter break, it was cold and very, very wet so the primroses loved it and settled in quickly! I then added a few new plants including some shrubs that I moved from other parts of the garden. I just hope they all survive. I want to add some more plants that will attract bees and other insects so will do that as the month warms up. I have already seen bumble bees enjoying the primroses.

The wildlife pond is looking amazing and frogs have laid their frogspawn in it already! I just hope that there is enough for the new tadpoles to eat once they hatch. The water is looking quite green but that is just the algae blooming in the first days of the spring sunshine. This should settle in time.

To read more about the benefits of cheating a wildlife pond in your garden, I found this post useful.

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden.
The new wildlife pond.

 

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden
We added gravel so that you can sit and watch the pond in the morning sunshine.

 

Creating a wildlife pond on the old house garden
The new wildlife pond. A lovely spot to enjoy my morning coffee! Photo taken March 2018

I’m really pleased with the new wildlife pond! I just hope the wildlife like it too.

Update: We have newts!

Wildlife pond. Oldhouseintheshires. #gardening
This photo was taken in late April 2018.

 

If you loved this post and love gardening, you may like to join in with #MyGloriousGardens linky which is open now.

Creating a wildlife pond in the old house garden. Oldhouseintheshires

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22 Comments

  • Oh you’ve given me big time Garden Envy! I’ll try to remember your tips if we ever leave London (and our little garden) and move to the country! #thatfridaylinky

    • Oh I’m sure you will love more space. Xx

  • It looks wonderful, what a great job. Love the idea of adding pebbles over the concrete. Hope you get some wildlife in there soon.

    • We have hedgehogs, slow worms, insects, birds…all sorts

  • Oh I would love a garden pond this is fab Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    • Ah thank you Maria! We haven’t ever done anything like this

  • Looks amazing, well done, you’ve made a fabulous addition to your garden by doing that so beautifully. Look out for my own post coming soon, I’ve made a tiny version of a wildlife pond in my garden, small but simple!

    • Oh brilliant Paul! I shall definately look out for that. I love all pondbut wildlife ponds, I can sit for hours watching them!

    • Ponds are awesome for wildlife; even a tiny pool or barrel will bring in wildlife.

  • OMG it looks fabulous – you clever (and very hardworking) things! I am very envious of you having frogs and frogspawn – such happy memories from childhood and I wish we had the space to have something similar here. I remember my Dad doing us a pond like this many years ago (kidney shaped too) and I remember the faff with the liner! Amazing work and the primroses look beautiful. #thesatsesh xx

    • Thank you for your kind words Hayley! It’s a labour of love. X

  • What a beautiful pond. I wish I had the room in my backyard to build a large pond like you have. I have always kept fish in an aquarium as a hobby. I would really love seeing interesting animals like newts, frogs and turtles living in my backyard.
    Mark recently posted…Aquarium Air Pump Size CalculatorMy Profile

    • Yes it’s a really lovely way to attract wildlife into your garden. You can still do the same with just the smallest of tub ponds. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

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