Ponds are such a beautiful feature to have in your garden. They are full of life and can look stunning. They add an extra element of beauty to your garden and make an excellent feature. However, before you start, you need to make sure that you are cut out for this pond malarkey.
Ponds are hard work – they are difficult to create, difficult to set up, and can be difficult to maintain. That is, unless you know what you are doing. Get it right, and your pond can take care of itself to an extent – the different plants and wildlife all contributing to the natural cycle required to make your pond clean and functional.
This cycle is known as the nitrogen cycle, and basically works as follows.
Fish waste and uneaten food etc. decompose and produce ammonia, nitrate bacteria convert this to nitrates, nitrates are absorbed by algae and other plants, plants breathe carbon dioxide and release oxygen, fish breathe oxygen, nitrates are reduced and the cycle begins again.
So what you need to make sure is that you have the right balance of plants, fish, other animals, and water.
If you still think that you can do it, you also need to consider leaves blowing into your pond as this produces extra decomposing waste. If you have a garden with lots of trees – great, it will look gorgeous, but come autumn, you are going to spend a lot of time scooping leaves out of the pond. Come spring and you are going to be scooping blossom out of the pond, and come summer and you will probably be scooping a lot of berries out of the pond. Neglect to do this for just a few weeks, and you could end up with a build up of dead waste at the bottom of the pond. This fares badly for the old nitrogen cycle and your poor fish could end up overwhelmed. If you find them gasping at the surface, by the way, this is a sure sign that they don’t have enough oxygen in the pond, and you need to make sure you aerate it using a pond filter – which will set you back a few hundred pounds, for a good one, and perhaps add some more bacteria to the pond to get them munching on the decomposing waste and turning it into something good.
It’s a lot to think about, but if that still hasn’t put you off, then you can definitely get some absolute delights from your pond.
So, start by thinking where you are going to put it. As I have said before, if you have trees, they frame the pond nicely, but can end up being extra work for you. Putting a pond directly under a blossom tree of any kind is probably something you should avoid. A sunny spot is usually good for encouraging wildlife though.
When you have picked your spot, you need to dig out the hole and purchase pond liner – a water proof liner that will contain the water therein. The best time to do this is in late winter, as this is when everything is in hibernation, and you can prepare the pond, ready for it to flourish come spring.
Make sure you have no sharp stones sticking out when you fit your liner, as this can result in your liner splitting, and then hey presto – no pond. An extra foot of liner should be left at the top for you to use as a margin. This can be covered with rocks etc. to keep the liner in place.
Fill the pond and get planting. You need to choose a variety of different plants – with different plants at different levels. You can also get oxygenator plants for your pond which will be great for fish, and things like waterlilies always look great during late spring and summer.
There you have it – your beautiful pond in all its glory. Don’t forget to maintain it properly though, or you will soon be tutting at yourself and filling the thing in again!