The world's frog, toad, salamander and newt populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. The reason for this being mainly that their natural habitats - ponds and bogs - are also disappearing. However, you can make a difference!
In the past, every village had a pond. Farmers who had no rivers nearby dug ditches joining the rivers in a broad network, which allowed plants and animals to spread. However, ditches are now often neglected and allowed to dry up and farmers prefer to use piped water. This leaves the countryside a drier place where water-loving wildlife can struggle to find a home.
Ponds have been around for millions of years and, during this time, many species of plants and animals have become adapted to the conditions that ponds provide. It would make a tremendous difference to our native wildlife if you decided to build a wildlife pond in your garden.
Before building your pond, there are certain things you should bear in mind:
Adapted from "The Pond Book" (1999) by P. Williams, J. Biggs, M. Whitfield, A. Thorne, S. Bryant, G. Fox and P. Nicolet. (Page 71)
When building a pond, there are certain things you will need to consider.
The pond must have a depth of at least 60cm (2') because you need a place deep enough for oxygenating plants and for animals to over-winter or stay cool during the summer months.
The pond must have an area that slopes gradually on at least one side. This will allow animals such as hedgehogs to climb out if they fall in and provide the right type of conditions for marginal pond plants.
A rotting log and rocks help to provide shade and shelter for animals (such as frogs and newts).
A flexible liner is probably best, with butyl rubber the best material for durability. It means that you can allow your imagination to govern the shape of the pond (although a basic kidney or oval shape makes most efficient use of the liner and is simplest to build). A preformed liner is best when there is very stony ground.
As big as space allows! But try to bear in mind the minimum depth.
It is relatively easy to install a flexible pond liner. You need to make sure that there is at least 3cm of sand between the liner and the soil so that the chances of puncturing the liner are minimized. You can also use old carpet or thick layers of old newspapers.
First of all, you will need to find out how much liner you need. This is done using the following:
Length of liner = Maximum pond length + twice maximum depth
Width of liner = Maximum pond width + twice maximum depth
For example, a pond of maximum dimensions 8m x 6m and 1.5m deep would need a liner:
8 + (2 x 1.5) by 6 + (2 x 1.5) = (8 + 3) by (6 + 3) = 11m by 9m
The following is a general running order for the rest of your installation:
And the illusion is complete! Leave the pond for at least two weeks before planting it to allow any chemicals from tap water to evaporate.