One of the best ways to encourage wildlife into your garden is to build a pond – which is exactly what we did for our clients in West Sussex. They are a professional couple who had recently moved into a new house with a very long back garden and large expanse of lawn.
The shape of the garden meant that there was very limited side access, except for a micro digger. However we were able to build a pond, within viewing distance of their conservatory, so that they could enjoy watching the wildlife attracted from both inside their home or sitting outside on their patio.
Although the clients didn’t want fish in the pond, they wanted to encourage more birds, newts, frogs and dragon flies into the garden. This happened the very moment we had finished the pond, as dragon flies began darting around the water almost immediately and birds swooped down to drink and bathe. It never fails to make us smile despite the back breaking work that goes into the construction.
After looking at the various shapes of two large, existing borders, it was agreed that the pond should be nestled into the back end of one of the flower beds and the edges should mirror the shape of the lawn with all of it's existing flowing curves.
We used 9–10 tonnes of hand picked, local stone and built a raised waterfall at one end of the pond, surrounded by a small rockery. Along the two lengths we planted a combination of shrubs for evergreen structure and perennials which blended in with existing planting in the garden.
Getting the planting right along the edges of the pond is just as important as selecting the correct plants for inside the pond itself. In this case, the soil was very dry and sandy and therefore we chose plants to suit the local conditions – which were exacerbated by large pine and sweet chestnut trees.
The pond was planted with a mixture of deep water aquatics, marginal and oxygenating plants.
The pump was set in a chamber (out of the pond) which not only aids any maintenance and makes any necessary adjustments to the water flow easier, but more importantly it prevents the pump cabling and hoses from being visible in the water.
Finally, we installed lighting in the plant beds to highlight the waterfall at night and with a remote control unit, these can be turned on and off from the house.
The clients were delighted with the finished pond and said we had "exceeded their expectations!"