Ponds are wonderful, but they can also present a drowning hazard to young children and pets. If this applies to your household, it may be better to postpone getting a full-sized pond until later. Instead, you can fill a couple of shallow containers with water, plants and stones. That way you can still invite wildlife into your garden, but without the worry.
Remember to also consider whether your garden pond could be accessed by children or pets from outside your property, and if necessary, fit additional gates and fences.
In considering the location for your garden pond, think about how it will look, but also whether you’ll be able to access it easily for maintenance. Mark out possible outlines with rope or garden twine to help you imagine different settings.
Think about size and depth. Larger ponds are more self-sustaining, offer a more stable ecosystem for wildlife and evaporate less quickly in hot weather. On the other hand, they present more of a hazard to children and pets, so a shallower pond could be better if this is a consideration.
In terms of sunlight, try to aim for a mixture of sun and shade, as this prevents algae from growing too quickly, whilst giving most plants the light they need. Locate it away from trees, so as not to disturb their roots, and to avoid it getting filled with their leaves in autumn.
Which plants you choose for your garden pond depends on the depth of water and how much time you want to invest. Irises make a wonderful plants for the shelf around the edge, and some varieties - like yellow flag - can be used to absorb excess nutrients from the water.
Water lilies come in a wonderful range of shapes and colours, but bear in mind that they need to be potted in submerged baskets and require a lot of maintenance. Frog bit is a lower maintenance alternative that looks like a miniature water lily. However, it can quickly spread to cover the pond, so keep a bit of an eye on it.
Having a garden pond will bring a whole new world of wildlife to your garden. As well as frogs and toads, it will also encourage different varieties of snails and water insects. You are also likely to see an increased number of birds, as they use it for hunting insects and bathing. Small mammals may also use the pond as a water source, so make sure they have safe access.
To make your garden pond as inviting as possible, let the grass around the edge grow long to offer wildlife a natural shelter. You can also construct small islands in the pond using rocks to allow frogs and toads to take a break from swimming.
A garden pond can add a lot to a garden. Start planning one today and look forward to peaceful afternoons spent watching your many new garden visitors!