Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Ponds: how to create a wildlife pond when you have no room for a pond

Everyone wants a wildlife pond, these days: and it's a great thing to have, because it brings a surprising variety of creatures into your garden.

But what do you do, if you don't have room for a pond?

Or if you are concerned about the safety aspects?

Here's a solution: make a Tiny Pond.

Simple instructions:

Take a plastic container.

Sink it into the ground.

Place rocks and stones around it.

Fill with water.

All done!

 As always with gardening, there is a little bit more to it than that: so here are the detailed instructions.

Firstly, find a plastic container. It doesn't matter what size or shape it is, as long as it holds water.

Choose a good location - somewhere that you can see it, but not somewhere where you are going to keep treading on it. This one is next to a fence, just at the end of the gap between the shed and the fence, which means there is a nice "tunnel" or "runway" which is frequented by nocturnal visitors. 

Dig a hole large enough for the container, such that the rim is sitting at ground level, and that it's flat and level. If you don't have a spirit level to hand, just put the container in the hole, and fill it with water - you will then see if it's level or not. Adjust it until it sits level - there is nothing more annoying than any sort of water feature which is not level!

Take some biggish rocks, and lay them around the edges, to break up the regular outline. We do this because we want it to look "natural", even though it clearly isn't!

Put at least one or two large rocks inside the container: this creates perching points, and also helps smaller creatures to get out: if the container is quite large, then put a piece of flattish rock, or wood, sloping into it, to create a ladder or ramp, for easy entrances and exits.

And that's pretty much it! 

Top it up with water from time to time: it's better to use water from the water butt if you have one (and if you don't, why not??!), otherwise fill a watering can with tap water, and leave it for 4-5 days for the chlorine to evaporate.

Most of the wildlife which will benefit from your Tiny Pond will be nocturnal, so unless you have a PIR activated camera, you probably won't see much activity: you can try spreading a layer of wet sand around it, then smoothing it out each evening: next day, you can look for tracks, and see who came to visit!

In my own back garden, I have a very linear, non-pond-like feature (it's actually a moat, to keep the slugs out of my lettuce stand - hang on, I'll find a picture of it):

There you go, you can see that the water in the moat is rather green, but the wildlife seem to prefer it that way.

I have seen frogs in this moat: the squirrels, hedgehogs and cats all drink from it: and the little birds love it, they frolic around having baths, as well as drinking from it. 

And that's just the ones I see, in the day time!

I put this in, to illustrate that you don't have to make your Tiny Pond as real-looking as the one at the top of this article: my moat is about as artificial as it can get, being just some square-section guttering, set into the ground, but it still attracts the wildlife!



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