Author Topic: Planning a bigger wildlife pond  (Read 751 times)

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 571
Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« on: August 16, 2021, 22:53:53 »
So... the sink bowls have certainly attracted wildlife, several species of which have thanked me by sinking their teeth into me. Bar stewards!

Now it's time to scheme a bigger pond (doubtless to attract bigger critters to bite me...) Given the size of my back garden there's not really room for a pond and a rockery (both of which I want), so my "plan" (as far as it has got) is that I raise the pond partway out of the ground and build a rockery round it.

So now I'm going to ask for advice, opinions, and no doubt get a few pond horror stories too! Please tell me when I'm talking spheroids.

This site: http://www.wlgf.org/Establishing_pond.html  suggests I need 30-50cm of water for invertebrates to survive (wot about froggies?) - I have several tons of nice slabby limestone that I can build the sides out of (and collect more from local fields if I run short part-way, guess what a lockdown project was for me!), and I can use some for the edges to have shallow sloping edges too. Outside of the pond, I'm looking for an effect a bit like a drystone wall, but looser, with soil for planting in between slabs, which will also help things get in and out. I'll probably use a flexible liner as all the ready-made ponds I've seen seem to made for fish, so have steep sides.

So... what am I missing, what have I forgotten, please?
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Allotments 4 All

Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« on: August 16, 2021, 22:53:53 »

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,770
  • Vendée, France
Re: Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2021, 09:03:43 »
You really need a depth of 60cms in the middle as this means it will have a stable winter temperature and won't freeze solid and fish and other critters can survive.

I don't see how building it raised above ground level would save space as the surface area would be the same surely and sinking it would help with temperature control - cooling in summer, warming in winter.  No cooked or frozen critters.
Obxx - Vendée France

Tee Gee

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,758
  • Huddersfield - Light humus rich soil
    • The Gardener's Almanac
Re: Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2021, 11:50:28 »
You don’t say how steep your rockery is? I was thinking in terms of two or three terraced mini-ponds which flow via mini-waterfalls into each other down  the rockery. You could use your sink bowls as the mini ponds. Trouble is if you want the waterfall effect all the time you would have to invest in a pump to take the water up to the top pool so that it can come down again.

This is all I have on “ponds” with two added links at bottom of the page!
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk/Content/P/Pond%20care/Pond%20Care.htm 

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 571
Re: Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2021, 13:28:17 »
Thanks, both. The information out there on depth is confusing, TBH, but with further rummaging last night it looks as though 60cm is the minimum depth for frogs as well as fish, which is quite a hole to dig on our clayey soil. We have frogs come through the garden, so I Want Frogs, but it it will need to slope up to something that short-legged beasts can climb out of as well.

It's not so much raising the pond to save space as raising it to make it do two jobs, and hopefully create habitat as well, by making the sides do the rockery job too. The rockery as it currently stands is a big pile of rocks outside the front window! I'll try to post a pic later of just what I've got, imagine what state my back is in. A brief google (I'm supposed to be working...) for raised ponds shows lots of formal ones - below is the closest to what I'm thinking (on a much smaller scale), but with much more sloped sides (this should help insulate the bottom as well) - maybe 60 degrees - so that things can climb in and out, and the spaces between stones can be used for planting. I'll have to make any relief as the garden is flat.

https://anypond.com/formal-or-raised-pond-package/

These guys have similar slabby stone - http://www.revolandscapes.co.uk/ponds/index.php - which I should be able to use to create nice slopes inside and out and cover my liner too.

Finally, yes, I have read this! https://tayportgarden.org/2020/04/08/how-not-to-build-a-wildlife-pond/

Sorry, that's a bit disjointed as I've been trying to work, but does that help make sense? I was considering a cascade effect along one side, which would need a pump anyway, I now wonder if I can re-use those bowls as suggested? And would I have to sleep with the window closed to avoid having to keep getting up and going listening to all that running water? (one of those two points is much less serious than the other!)
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,770
  • Vendée, France
Re: Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2021, 13:45:54 »
You can also use plants in aquatic pots on a marginal shelf as an escape route and even just an old log poked in the water and angled to one side or bank for them to climb out - important for hedgehogs if they fall in and frogs and toads can drown if they can't get out.

As for water noise, a gentle trickle will do.  Doesn't have to be a Victoria Falls roar.

I like that pond with waterfall and rockery option best but the more formal raised pond version does give you an extra seating option.   Just make sure it has an escape route.   
Obxx - Vendée France

gray1720

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 571
Re: Planning a bigger wildlife pond
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2021, 22:40:10 »
Here's the rockery as it currently exists (the big bugger at the front nearly crippled me, even carrying it home over several days!)

Not quite sure how I'll work a sloped exit yet, but both sink bowls just have a sloping slab in them for exactly that purpose. I'll work something.
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

 

anything