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Build a pond to attract wildlife to your garden

Build a pond - image of frog on lily pad

What’s the idea?

Build a pond or a small waterhole to encourage wildlife to your garden

What’s the story?

I’ve always been fascinated by wildlife.

Big or small, every animal has it’s own unique characteristics.

One thing all animals have in common is the necessity of water for survival.

Water is the centre of most natural ecosystems.

If you’ve ever watched a wildlife documentary you would have noticed that all the animals congregate around a waterhole, especially in hotter climates.

Some animals even live in the water like hippos, crocodiles and frogs.

Waterholes are a great spot to learn about the different animals that visit them.

People should do this because…?

Learn about the wildlife in your own corner of the world.

Summer is upon us and the days are getting warmer and longer.

The animals are more active as they venture out in search of food and water.

Make a waterhole or pond in your garden and soon you will have your own animal haven to observe.

Expect all sorts of garden wildlife to visit your waterhole.

Look out for frogs and toads, squirrels, insects, hedgehogs, foxes, mice and maybe even a rabbit or badger if you live near the countryside.

Ponds can also make a very attractive garden feature with a rockery and pretty lily pads.

How do you do it?

Make a mini pond using a big plastic washing up bowl or tub.

Alternatively, you can just dig a big hole in the ground.

If you don’t have room for a pond, you could try building a bird hide or a birdbath bowl.

Both options will follow the same steps:

Step 1: Find a large patch of even ground.

Step 2: Dig a hole large enough for your plastic tub or as big as you’d like your pond to be. It shouldn’t be too deep, only a couple of feet. You can put a plank across the hole and place a spirit level on top to make sure all sides are equal. This is to avoid all your water spilling over one side.

Step 3: Remove any sharp stones and place a layer of sand on the bottom.

Step 4: Put your tub in the hole or line the hole with some pond liner. Dig a little trench around the edge of the pond and tuck your liner in. Don’t trim your liner too short, as it will stretch with the weight of the water. Cover the exposed liner with rocks to avoid it degrading in the sunlight.

Step 5: Put some more sand on the bottom of your tub or lining.

Step 6: Fill the pond up with collected rainwater or tap water.

Step 7: Add some plants to the pond about a week after filling it. Choose plant species that will support your wildlife. If you have friends with a pond you can ask to use some of their plants for propagation. Place rocks, logs and shrubs around the pond to create a habitat for any visitors.

Step 8: Watch as all the different species of animals and insects visit your waterhole. This is a great spot to count butterflies for the Big Butterfly Count.

If you have selected the correct plants the ecosystem should look after itself and not need much maintenance.

However, do a keep a lookout for algae buildup and clear out any dead leaves or branches.

Stuff you may need

  • A large patch of even ground
  • A big plastic tub or a spade if you are digging your own pond
  • Some river sand or builders sand
  • Large sheet of pond liner
  • Some large rocks
  • Plant ponds
  • Plank and spirit level

Links to other stuffer pages

Build a bird hide for bird watching

Build a Birdbath Bowl

Learn how to propagate plants

Join the Big Butterfly Count and save the planet

Attract hedgehogs into your garden

Links to other articles on the web

Links to other videos on the web

Links to books

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