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Garden Advice water gardens - planning a pond    
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Water Gardens - Planning a pond

In Planning Your water garden you must decide what wildlife you want to attract before you dig your pond because its position, size and shape will affect its appeal to different species. There is a lot of information available on the creation and maintenance of ponds. Much of it is conflicting, in part because no one knows all the answers and also because different types of ponds are made to attract different wildlife. First, you have to be sure what you want from your pond. A relatively small garden or school pond, for interest and pleasure, as a place where birds can drink, children can be shown wildlife, or a more ornamental pond for fish which in many cases will require a pond filter system
In general, for wildlife, the larger the pond the better, provided there is a wide variety of habitat.

Water Features And Garden ponds

Most garden ponds are very small, but they can still provide homes for wildlife. Mostly, this will be of common, mobile and adaptable species, but nonetheless interesting for that. Garden ponds can be important to frogs (they became very important in the 1960s when frogs suffered a serious decline). Dragonflies may breed in ponds, and a surprising number of birds may drink and bathe in them. Such ponds can give enormous pleasure, and give children and many adults their first real experience of wildlife.

Where to site a pond

Warm, sunny sites are probably best for wildlife, so try to make sure your pond has an open aspect to the south side. Trees can be a problem: if your pond is sited under mature trees, it may fill with autumn leaves, but if it is under young trees you may have problems with roots puncturing the pond lining. Low bushes near a pond can provide cover for bathing birds, but remember that they can also harbour cats. For better bird watching, build your garden pond so that you can see it from a window. Do not automatically place your pond in a wet or damp hollow. These areas may already be important for wildlife. Indeed, having more than one wet area in a garden can be very good.

Pond shape

A pond should have gently sloping sides to give the all important shallow areas on which much wildlife depends. Birds will drink and bathe in the shallows, and they are important for spawning amphibians. Slopping sides are also important for safety, both for children and to allow wildlife such as hedgehogs to escape. In general, the more varied the slopes and the longer the shoreline, the better.
Although the shallow areas are important for insects and spawning frogs, ponds should also have some water over 60cm. deep, so that they do not freeze solid in hard winters.

Pond size

Some dragonflies will breed in ponds with a surface area as small as 4m_, but many species need a pond of over 50m_. Frogs and smooth newts may breed in ponds as small as 1m_, but toads and great crested newts prefer larger ponds, above 15m_. Frogs usually spawn in water 7-10 cm deep, in submerged plants; toads and newts spawn in water 10-50 cm deep.







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