Garden Pond Ideas

There is lots to think about when building a pond. Where to position the pond and how to construct it. Building a pond is not complex but there is basic information and steps which need to be followed. For detailed advice check out A step by step guide to Building a pond and how to install a Butyl liner. It is very important to decide at the outset what type of pond liner you want to use. 

The style of a pond is important, something formal or more of a wildlife pond. In the image above the side of the pond is gentle shelved with stones, the gentle slope is essential for wildlife to enter and exit. Garden ponds are a magnet for wildlife, but you may want to deter the ducks. 

There is the question of whether to have fish, and what type. Fish are interesting in a pond but too many can add to the problem of having a green pond by increasing the nutrient level. Getting the balance right in a pond will ensure clear water and there are tips and advise on how to  avoid a green pond.

Making a waterfall feature

  Waterfalls in ponds are attractive to us and the birds, plus you can enjoy the relaxing flow of the water. 

To construct a waterfall, it is necessary to make a raised area from which the waterfall can flow downwards. To get a base, you can use the soil previously excavated to create the hole for the pond. It is also necessary to fit a pump, and these come in various sizes. A good retailer will advise on the size of the pump needed for your pond, and an electrician is required to undertake the electrical work safely.

There are pre formed water fall kits which make construction easier. There are all different types and shapes designed to represent different construction materials. The image left is a slate and is a preformed waterfall, which comprised three separate pieces placed together to form the waterfall. Preformed waterfalls are quite heavy, and the key is to ensure the waterfall is bedded in and level. The best way to get the waterfall level is by using sand to pack the sides and underneath, which allows fine adjustments and a spirit level to check. It takes time to level of the sides of the waterfall to make the pre formed kit sit comfortably. Pre formed are good in that they create an instant water fall all in one go, however they may look less natural than a waterfall formed out of original materials.

Alternatively, you can dig out the waterfall shape as part of the overall pond construction and build it yourself using Butyl liner, rocks and slabs, as in the image right. This way you can make a waterfall out of stone local to your area so it looks natural and to the size and shape you design. In both instances, place the pipe leading to the pump first and build the water fall around it.

Making a Pond Jetty

pond jetty

  Having a jetty in the pond is an attractive feature in itself. It also has the practical benefit that it enables you to look closely into the pond to see the wildlife in it and also access to the centre of the pond for maintenance, which might otherwise require you to get into the pond. 

The image shows a simple Jetty utilising decking and the support posts which are concrete and lined to prevent water rot. Getting in a pond for maintenance is more difficult than it sounds. Waders are needed and over time the bottom of the pond is covered in debris and there are plant baskets to avoid. There are pond tools which can be used to cut back plants which cannot be reached from the edge which look like large scissors on sticks, but they are often heavy and not that easy to use reaching in across a pond. A jetty provides easy access and looks attractive, illustrated top right.

A wildlife Pond

shallow beach entry into pond

A pond will attract wildlife, as water is a basic need and habitat requirement for wildlife. There are features you can incorporate into the pond to increase wildlife. 

 In the image left there is a shallow beach area and also shallow areas around the margin of the pond. Frogspawn likes shallow water, as do the emerging tadpoles. Frogs spawn and tadpoles grow in the pond, but after this, they need to get out. Ponds with steep edges are too difficult to navigate in or out. 

To help the wildlife in at least at one end of the pond, it is a good idea to create a shallow beach. Putting a couple of larger stones in this area that the birds can hop onto is a nice feature and allows the birds to dip into the pond. A waterfall really acts as a bird shower and is ever popular with grey wagtails. 

A log pile near the pond gives shelter to creatures emerging from the pond needing a shady sanctuary home.

More information about ponds: Garden PondsHow to build a pond, Pond Linersproblems with a green pond and how to clear it, and wildlife ponds.

Last updated 29.11.2021