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5 things to consider before building a garden pond

Your garden can have a luscious lawn, fabulous flower beds and a perfect patio, but without a centrepiece, it can lack character.

One of the best ways of adding life (quite literally) into an outdoor living space is to build a garden pond.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll down your path every day and take a moment to reflect as you stare at the beautiful skyline reflecting onto the small pool of water. A garden pond is the epitome of tranquillity.

However, before you can start digging or call up a local garden pond specialist, there are certain steps you need to think about. After all, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

Garden pond regulations

It’s hardly rock and roll, but there are several garden pond laws you have to think about before starting the project.

For starters, when you purchase common garden pond animals, such as the common frog, toad, newts, Atlantic stream crayfish, goby, snails and trembling sea mat, you have a responsibility as an owner. According to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981), it’s a criminal offence to intentionally kill, injure or take the animal in question between ponds.

Similarly, you’re not allowed to damage or destroy any structure/place that an animal uses for shelter or protection. To deliberately disturb or obstruct the living space (garden pond) falls under this remit too.

It’s also worth noting that you can face prosecution or damage costs if your garden pond is at fault for injuring a visitor or if it leaks onto neighbouring land. That’s why it’s vital to cover it up when people come over and make sure it’s built properly to avoid any unwanted issues.

Location, location, location

The main reason to install a garden pond is so that you can enjoy it. For maximum enjoyment, place it near your home, so you can watch it from your terrace or patio. Make every step towards your garden pond a journey of wonder by connecting it with a wonderfully constructed path.

As well as the aesthetics, you need to think practically too. For instance, your chosen location need to provide just enough sun to keep the animals happy and the proliferation of green algae at bay. You should avoid building a garden pond under a tree too, as it will create unnecessary extra work due to fallen leaves.

During the build stage, the composition of the soil is an important factor with basin-style ponds, as you’ll need to be able to dig a minimum of 80cm before lining it.

Finally, your garden pond needs to be built on a flat surface. Opting for a sloped area or in a hollow of the ground will invite a build-up of residues and unwanted debris.

How deep should your garden pond be?

Several possibilities are available to you when building a garden pond. The most common type is the basin-style, otherwise known as a preformed pond, which is sealed with a liner.

Essentially, all you need to do to create one of these is to dig. Although, you need to respect the shape of the preformed liner, the different levels of depth and ensure it’s sealed properly.

The optimum depth of a basin/preformed garden pool is between 80cm and 1.5m to protect the fish during frosty mornings and to cater for certain requirements of the plants. Ideally, provide a flat bed of sand at the bottom of your garden pond, putting geotextile protection and your PVC or EPDM preformed liner in.  

Alternatively, if you haven’t got the soil composition or space to dig a classic basin-style garden pond, you can make an “above ground” one. They’re particularly easy to install when you have your DM GREEN® artificial grass or a block paving terrace. An above ground pond can be built in a variety of styles to fit in with its surroundings, including wood, stone or concrete. If you need a bespoke "made to measure" version, you’ll need to call in a local landscaper and garden pond specialist like us.

What plants to choose for your garden pond?

When it comes deciding what to put in a garden pond, plants are highly important. The pick of the bunch has to be the water lily, as looks great and lets off a natural perfume throughout the summer months. Just remember, it must be planted at the bottom of your garden pond, so you’ll need to do it before filling it up with water!

On the banks, water iris, buttercups, water marigolds, rushes and ornamental rhubarb are fantastic additions too. It’s just a matter of matching the colours depending on the style of your garden.

Think about the animals

The final thing to consider before building a garden pond is the fish and their surroundings.

Common redfish and koi carp are the way forward, as they’re easier to look after and provide a splash of colour to your garden.

However, some thought needs to be given during the initial stage. This includes finding a good biological balance of your pond water and providing a sufficient quantity to guarantee their well-being. Rainwater is usually best, as tap water can contain high levels of dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients will discourage aquatic plants and accelerate the growth of algae and duckweeds.

Instead, invest in a downpipe conversion kit or set up water butts to collect rainwater from the roof of your house.

Buying local food consisting of small larvae and insects isn’t enough. To keep them in good health, you must buy specific foods to help them adapt to their needs. You can find out more about this by looking at Pond Informer’s guide.

Last but not least, a little decoration will not only make your garden pond seamlessly fit in with the rest of your outdoor living area, but it’ll create a hub where wildlife love to come.

For a natural atmosphere, add rocks and lots of greenery, or for an ultra-modern vibe, think rectangular-shaped rocks, integrated lighting and adjoining romantic terrace furnishings.

Consider all of these elements and you’ll be able to successfully build your very own are of paradise, bringing both tranquillity and style to your garden.

If you’d rather let a local hard landscaper and garden pond specialist take care of it for you, then get in touch with your nearest Daniel Moquet today.

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