Mismanagement and pollution due to development, draining and intensive farming have, over time, degraded many of our ponds, rivers and streams. This has led to a rapid loss of freshwater habitats to attract and sustain wildlife. But all is not lost.

There is a lot we can do in our gardens and communities to help. Even a small pond can be home to a wide range of wildlife including dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and newts. 

Damian Haasjes, Head of Business Development and Community Engagement at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, explains how you can bring one to your neighbourhood by following these simple pond creation stages.

1. Choose a spot and dig

Your pond will want light, but not full sunlight all day. You can dig a hole and sink your container, or just have it sitting on top of the ground. Your pond will need a wide “neck” so that wildlife can get in and out. Other than that, the shape really does not matter!

As everyone needs a home project, myself and my son decided to do some practical hard landscaping together in the garden. As my son's A level exams were cancelled during lockdown, it was good for him and for nature!

Pond creation stage 1 digging

Stage 1 of Damian's pond creation: Choosing a spot and digging.

2. Add pond liner

Once we had chosen a spot we were happy with and dug to our required size, we levelled the edges and added 'underlay' and pond liner to the base. Make sure there are no holes in the materials otherwise you will get a leak!

Pond underlayPond liner

Stage 2 of Damian's pond creation: Lining the hole with underlay and pond liner.

3. Fill with rainwater and add stones, gravel and ramps for wildlife to access the pond

Pond in progress

Stage 3 of Damian's pond creation: Filling the pond with water and adding gravel, stones and ramps for wildlife around the edges.

4. Start planting then watch as it develops into a haven for wildlife!

Plants are an important part of any wildlife pond, oxygenating the water and providing food and shelter.

You only need one or two plants and some great plants for small ponds include:

  • Lesser spearwort (Ranunculus flammula)
  • Starwort (Callitriche stagnalis)
  • Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus)

Completed pond

Stage 4: Planting

After this, our pond very quickly became a popular bird destination! We can't wait for the other freshwater wildlife to emerge.

Completed pond a year later

Damian's fully established garden pond 1 year later.

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