The vast selection of inexpensive, easy to install, pre-shaped pond units has made water gardening a lot easier these days.
They come in all shapes from round to irregular. Choose a shape which best fits into the space you are working with, taking into account the design of your garden, the line of your beds, the sloping of the lawn to find an area which needs interest and where you might like to introduce some wildlife.
Measure out the shape on the ground and peg it out with string or use a spray marker. Then dig the hole, remember to keep the soil as you will need it later for back filling around the pond.
You must dig until you reach the depth of the pond plus an extra 8 cm. Also allow an additional 15 cm around the peripheral edges.
Rake the bottom removing any stones, then tread it down flat and place a layer of damp sand on it to create a cushion for the unit.
Position the unit in the excavation and support any areas not touching the ground with bricks or stones. Make sure that the unit is level. Place a plank of wood across the top and then check this with a spirit level.
Fill the unit with 10 cm of water to give it some weight, then start working your way round the edges, filling with more and more soil each time you go around it.
Check the level as before. Once the unit is firmly installed, lay a 2.5 cm mortar foundation around the pond. You can decorate it with natural rocks, cobbles or pavers, but make sure that the paving or rocks slightly overhang the edge to create stability and to make the pond look more natural.
Adding a Fountain
A wide range of fountains is available ranging from small sprays to elaborate sculptures. Fountains are powered by submersible pumps; the more powerful the pump, the higher and wider is the spray. They all work on the same principle, the fountain head is connected to the pump which drives the water up and through the head thus creating the fountain.
Some aquatic plants tolerate the movement of water spray; but most water lilies do not like it. If you prefer a wild life pond, with lots of plants, it is best not to have a spray.
Water lilies, deep water aquatics and marginal plants should be planted in baskets. Some baskets have micromesh sides, if not line with Hessian, place a brick in the bottom and introduce your soil.
Place the plants in the soil making sure that they are not overcrowded, leaving space for the plants to grow and spread. Once the plants are secured, cover the soil with a layer of gravel.
It is wiser not to mix species in the same basket, so that they will look more attractive in the pond and also grow better, avoiding competition between one type of plant and another.
Place the baskets gently onto the bottom of the pond, if they need to be elevated, place bricks under the baskets.
Any pool well planted is ideal for fish. Pond fish do not have any special requirements provided you do not overstock. The stocking rate is 5 cm of fish to every 0,093 m2 of surface area or 2Â” to 1 ft2.
Use flaked wood, a well balanced multi coloured flake paper feed. Another type is floating pellets; they are brown and also well balanced. Allow one pinch of food per fish every second day.
Watch the pond for 20 minutes, if all the food disappears instantly they can have a little more, if there is still food floating on the surface after 20 minutes, remove it as it will fall to the bottom, decompose and pollute the water, which in turn could cause a fungus that will affect the fish.
In winter fish do not need feeding as they are dormant and use up their reserves. Start feeding again in the spring.
Top up the water regularly as the heat on summer causes water to evaporate. Flowers should be headed and leaves removed. If you have a lot of trees around, it is a good idea to cover the pond in autumn to stop the leaves falling into it.
It is necessary to clean the pond every 4 years. Remove all plants and fish, scrub out with water and a brush, do not use detergents as they may linger on will kill the fish and affect the plant life.
Now sit back in an easy chair and enjoy the amazing wild life that a pond brings to the garden.