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New pond - size and location help please

Discussion in 'Water Gardening' started by glasgowdan, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. glasgowdan

    glasgowdan Gardener

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    I am going to put in a pond this winter and wonder if anyone has any thoughts.

    I plan to make it around 10x5ft and fit it between a raised bed and a large wooden swingset that I have made (no chance of kids swinging off towards it due to the framework!). I have options to put it elsewhere if this really wouldn't work, or if I need to make it bigger, but I have no idea and have never done this before.

    The location is south facing and gets barely any leaf fall. There's a privet hedge along the north side of it. The ground slopes slightly down towards the south. My plan is to make the higher side, north, the deep end and get it down to 75cm or so, and the south end will be above ground level so I'll build up the ground into a little bank to support it.

    Any thoughts on this, for size and any practical considerations I've not thought of please? I'd really appreciate it thanks.

    [​IMG]
     
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    • ARMANDII

      ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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      What sort of pond are you contemplating, glasgowdan, formal, informal, wildlife, raised, etc? I would recommend using a butyl liner rather than a preformed pond. Do you plan to put fish in the pond? Being in a Southern position you will need a depth of around 2 feet, or more, so that the water doesn't heat up too much and lose oxygen. Also you will need to plant marginal and oxygenating plants to take up excess nutrients in the water to help prevent algae forming and clouding the water. If you do want to plant marginal plants then it will help if you dig shelves three quarters of the way around to put the pots or small crates holding the plants on. The shelves would need to be about 10 inches deep and wide enough to sit the pots/small crates on.
      [​IMG]
       
    • Tetters

      Tetters Super Gardener

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      Dan, it seems to me that you have really given this plan lots of thought, and I cannot find any problems with it. After the spade, the good old bubble box will be the most important tool.
      Have you got a nearby power supply to add a pump etc? Will you have fish or will it just be a wildlife job?
      Forking out for a really good liner is well worth the outlay, as I found when I tried to cut corners, and had to do the whole job all over again.
       
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      • glasgowdan

        glasgowdan Gardener

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        The plan is wildlife, not fish as our lives are busy enough! Yes, I think I plan to get an edpm liner (0.75mm?) and dig it to my own shape, as I'd like to have it fit the site rather than try to fit in a preformed liner. Ok, good to hear there's nothing immediately glaringly obvious wrong with it! Thanks for the feedback.

        Where does one source pond plants from? Normal garden centres? It's something I have never thought of buying before. I'd like the margins to be quite busy with plants, and get some features for frogs to make use of and maybe one day see frog spawn with the kids.

        Do people with ponds have problems with birds using it during dry spells? Bird poo, cleaning their feathers and bringing in all kinds of muck?

        I've been reading into edging too. How do you go about laying stones at the edge? Do they come into direct contact with the liner or do you put a bit of sharp sand or something down first? Can you lay stones down loose or do you need to work out a mortar bed and pointing etc?

        I know I can probably find all of these answers online, but I have come across so many conflicting bits of advice it seems almost everything can be workable.
         
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        • ARMANDII

          ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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          Well, believe it or not, but a wildlife pond will take, say, 3 or 4 Goldfish and they don't really need looking after. I have about 6 fish in my wildlife pond, which I dug in '93, and they survive happily by themselves without me feeding them. There's also Frogs, Newts, etc that permanently reside in and around the pond. Insects like Water Boatmen will come and live there feeding off other insects, all that happens over time as the pond matures.
          My pond is about 12' by 22' and runs to about 3' 6" in depth with a shallow end to let any wildlife get out. I used Butyl liner and, as Tetters said, don't cut corners on the quality of it, so get a liner with at least a 30 year guarantee. The pond is, like yours will be, facing South but unlike yours is in a light shady position.
          [​IMG] [​IMG]
          A bench by the side of the pond to sit and watch the wildlife
          [​IMG]
          [​IMG]
          [​IMG]
          [​IMG]
          You can see what has developed since '93. Now, I'm not saying your pool should look anything like mine, but just showing what a hole in the ground can be turned into.
           
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          • ARMANDII

            ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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            Well, some Garden Centers sell Marginal and oxygenating plants, and some don't but there will be some in your area that do. You need both to give shelter to wildlife and also to take out excess nutrients out the water and they use those nutrients to grow.

            Well, not unless you get flocks of them, which I doubt will happen. Bird poo dropped into the pond will only add nutrients and will be taken up by the marginal plants. Birds will use the pond to drink from though.

            Firstly, to make a wildlife pond look natural you can lay grass along the edges as I have which takes nicely. I've put large stones on the edges as well and there should be no need for mortar as the weight of the stones will keep them in place, note that I said stones...not pebbles.:snorky:
            There a quite a few plants you can use as marginal plants such as Marsh Marigolds, Yellow Flag Iris, Iris Versicolour, Lythrum, Pontederia, etc. Have a look around, do a little research on them and find what you think is right for you.
            Planting marginals is best done using large pots and/or small plastic crates with holes in the sides
            [​IMG][​IMG]
            You don't need special soil, just use the garden soil. But you will need some hessian sacking to line the crates to keep the soil in. Plant the marginal plants in the soil and then cover the soil with gravel to stop it floating out, and then if your shelves are deep enough you should be able to cover the pots/crates with about 2 inches of water. One thing that happens with new ponds is that marginals are planted thinly and there aren't enough of them to take all the nutrients out of the water and algae appears. You don't have to buy a huge amount all at once but just keep adding them until you have enough for the pond to maintain it's own balance.
            If you've got Kids then you need to be watchful as accidents do happen so kids should never be left alone near a pond.:nonofinger: I had 3 young daughters who brought their friends home, so I built a fence around the pond with a lockable gate. That was followed by a Jasmine and Clematis hedge to hide the pond from the rest of the garden to make it a place to sit out of sight.
            Anyway, build the pond in the style that you want, take your time and enjoy it. So long as you understand what the pond needs to keep it in balance then maintenance will be minimal and the wildlife will come. :thumbsup::snorky:
             
          • Tetters

            Tetters Super Gardener

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            No no no....encouraging birds is one of the best things about a pond. Just provide a muddy puddle and you are helping wildlife. A little bit of bird muck is hardly a problem. It`s a good idea to float an old log in your pond so they have a place to land on. Pristine is not needed :nonofinger:
             
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            • ARMANDII

              ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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              One or two plants for you to consider, glasgowdan:doh::whistle::heehee:

              "With the extensive range of pond plants available in nurseries and garden centres, selecting the right plants can be daunting. The vigour of the plants and avoidance of unwanted invasive types as well as the suitability in varying depths needs to be taken into consideration.


              Suitable plants


              Choose plants that give contrasts in foliage as well as variation in flowering times to give as long a display as possible. The following list gives a selection of plants that garden centres, nurseries and pond plant specialists are likely to stock.

              Submerged plants (aka oxygenators)
              Submerged plants produce oxygen during the day and provide cover for aquatic life

              Callitriche hermaphroditica (syn. C. autumnalis) (water starwort): Also suitable for running water (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Ceratophyllum demersum, C. submersum (hornwort): Suitable for deep water, free floating
              Fontinalis antipyretica (willow moss): Best planted attached to a stone, suitable for running water
              Groenlandia densa (syn. Potamogeton densus) (frog’s lettuce)
              Hippuris vulgaris (mare’s-tail)
              Hottonia palustris (water violet): Do not move or plant in summer; lilac flowers in summer
              Myriophyllum spicatum, M. verticillatum (water milfoils)
              Lobelia dortmanna (water lobelia): Pale violet-blue flowers (may become too invasive for small pools
              Potamogeton crispus, P. pectinatus (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Ranunculus aquatilis (water crowfoot): White flowers in May; also suitable for running water

              Floating plants
              Floating plants do not need anchorage in soil. Their presence on the surface reduces the amount of sunlight penetrating the water and keeps the water cooler, discouraging algae. Aim to keep around 50% of the surface clear of vegetation, if necessary by thinning occasionally during the summer.

              Azolla mexicana: Severe winters may kill this plant. Leaves turn reddish in autumn (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (frogbit): Small white flowers; sinks to the bottom in winter
              Stratiotes aloides (water soldier): Floats just below surface; sinks in winter (may become too invasive for small pools)

              1. Water 30cm (1ft) or more

              Alisma plantago-aquatica (great water plantain): White flowers. Remove dead flowers to prevent seeding. Height 60-90cm (2-3ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Aponogeton distachyos (water hawthorn): Tuberous. Fragrant white flowers. Water snails will feed on this plant and kill it. Height 5cm (2in)

              2. Water 15-30cm (6in-1ft) deep

              Menyanthes trifoliata (bog bean): Olive-green trefoil leaves, pinkish white flowers in spring. Height 15cm (6in
              Ranunculus flammula (spearwort): Bright yellow flowers. Height 70cms (2ft 4in)
              Thalia dealbata: Bold blue-green leaves. Height 1.5m (5ft)
              Zantedeschia aethiopica (arum lily) AGM: White spathe, golden spadix, fragrant. ‘Crowborough’ is the hardiest form. Height 45cm (1½ft)

              3. Water 5-15cm (2-6in)

              Acorus calamus ‘Argenteostriatus’ (sweet flag): Foliage variegated creamy-white, greenish flowers, can be invasive. Height 60cm (2ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Butomus umbellatus AGM (flowering rush): Pink flowers in summer, like a miniature agapanthus. Height 60-75cm (2-2½ft)
              Calla palustris (bog arum): Glossy leaves, white flowers in summer, followed by spikes of red berries. Height 22cm (9in)
              Glyceria maxima var. variegata: Yellow and white variegated leaves, rosy autumn leaf colour. Height 60cm (2ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Iris laevigata AGM: Rich blue flowers in June. Height 60-75cm (2-2½ft)
              I. pseudacorus AGM (yellow flag): Yellow flowers. Height 90cm (3ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Juncus effusus f. spiralis (corkscrew rush): Stems twisted in a corkscrew manner. Height 45cm (1½ft)
              Lobelia cardinalis AGM: Purplish foliage, scarlet flowers. Needs winter frost protection in most regions. Height 60-75cm (2-2½ft)
              Lysichiton camtschatcensis AGM: white flowers. Height 30cm (1ft)
              Orontium aquaticum (golden club): Shiny leaves, yellow flowers in a spike. Height 10-12.5cm (4-5in)
              Pontederia cordata AGM (pickerel weed): Glossy leaves, blue flowers in late summer. Height 45-60cm (1½ft-2ft)
              Ranunculus lingua ‘Grandiflorus’ (giant water buttercup): Reddish stems, large yellow buttercup flowers. Height 1.2m-1.5m (4–5ft)
              Sagittaria latifolia: White flowers in late summer, autumn foliage colour. Height 30-90cm (1-3ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              S. sagittifolia ‘Flore Pleno’: Double white flowers. Height 75cm (2½ft)
              Schoenoplectus lacustris subsp. tabernaemontani ‘Albescens’: Stems sulphur white when young, darkening to green. Height 1.2m-1.5m (4-5ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              S. lacustris subsp. tabernaemontani ‘Zebrinus’ (zebra rush): White stems banded with green. Height 45cm-1.2m (1½-4ft)
              Typha angustifolia: ‘Cat’s tails’ inflorescence. Height 1.2m (4ft) (may become too invasive for small pools)
              T. laxmannii: Narrow leaves, ‘cat’s tails’ inflorescence. Height 90-1.2m (3-4ft)
              T. minima: Brown ‘cat’s tails’ inflorescence. Height 30-45cm (1-1½ft)

              4. Very shallow water (less than 5cm [2in] and mud)

              Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’: Leaves striped pale yellow. Height 20-30cm (8in-1ft)
              A. gramineus var. pusillus: Forms dense tufts. Height 7.5-10cm (3-4in)
              Caltha palustris AGM (marsh marigold): Large golden flowers in March. Height 22.5-30cm (9in-1ft)
              Carex elata ‘Aurea’ AGM (Bowles’ golden sedge): Golden foliage. Height 45cm (1½ft)
              Carex pendula: Arching stems, drooping brownish spikelets. Height 90cm-1.2m (3-4ft)
              C. pseudocyperus: Bright green foliage, dark green spikelets. Height 60-90cm (2-3ft)
              Cotula coronopifolia (golden buttons): Annual, sometimes perennial, seeds freely, aromatic foliage, button shaped yellow flowers. Height 15cm (6in)
              Houttuynia cordata: Dark green leaves, red stems, white flowers. Height 60cm (2ft) spreads freely. ‘Chameleon’ leaves variegated red and yellow (may become too invasive for small pools)
              Iris ensata AGM (Japanese water iris): Blue, red or white flowers. Height 60-90cm (2-3ft)
              Iris sibirica AGM: Blue flowers. Height 45cms (1½ft)
              Iris versicolor AGM: Violet-blue flowers. Height 60cms (2ft)
              Mimulus cardinalis AGM: Orange-red flowers in summer. Needs winter frost protection in most regions. Height 30-45cm (1-1½ft)
              M. lewisii AGM: Red or white flowers. Height 30-60cm (1-2ft)
              M. luteus: Yellow flowers. Height 30-45cm (1-1½ft)
              M. ringens: Violet-blue flowers. Height 45-60cm (1½-2ft)
              Myosotis scorpioides (water forget-me-not): Blue flowers in May. Height 23cm (9in)
              Saururus cernuus (lizard’s tail): Fragrant white flowers, dark green leaves. Height 15cm (6in)
              Veronica beccabunga (brooklime): White-centred blue flowers. Height 10cm (4in)



               
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              • ARMANDII

                ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                :thumbsup::love30::snorky: I agree, a wildlife pond is natural looking and will blend in better with the garden and Nature is definitely not a Pristine Entity.:heehee:
                 
              • glasgowdan

                glasgowdan Gardener

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                Great stuff thanks.

                I was out in that area of the garden today taking away a couple tonnes of rubble and looking at the more southerly raised bed thinking I should really make it smaller and make the pond bigger. So the plan now is.... make the pond bigger and make a bridge to walk over to get to the area east of the pond, where there'll be a pear tree, some grass and hopefully a few nice plants, a fire pit and the bench.
                 
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                • Tetters

                  Tetters Super Gardener

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                  If you form a bog garden right next to the pond area, it would be great for loads of moisture loving plants - like gunnera for example - big stuff that likes it`s feet in the mud - I`m thinking about digging a patch out behind my own pond for that reason.

                  Oh yes, and while I`m here, can you put some photos on - before, during and after....so we can have a beak at your progress - and maybe even make comments [​IMG]
                   
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                  • ARMANDII

                    ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                    I followed the late great Geoff Hamilton's advice when digging out the pond by incorporating a Bog Garden into the pond. He recommended putting the liner in, then laying a dry brick wall into the pond along the length and about 6' from the bank. He then advised using ordinary garden soil to fill in the space between the dry brick wall and the bank and then fill the pond with the water. The water then seeps between the gaps in the brick wall to feed the Bog Garden and keep it moist. I did that and it has worked nicely, with the bonus of the Bog Garden plants also helping to keep the pond water clear by extracting nutrients from it along with the Marginal plants.:coffee::snorky:
                     
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                    • Redwing

                      Redwing Wild Gardener

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                      We recently made a large wildlife pond .
                      We're Making a Wildlife Pond

                      It’s early days for us but as far as plant selection goes, look up the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts websites. They both make good suggestions for what are the best plants for wildlife ponds and also what should be avoided.
                       
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                      • Verdun

                        Verdun Passionate gardener

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                        Some great advice there for anyone wanting a pond of any kind:)

                        The only thing I can add is to make it as big as possible. A pond looks huge at the digging out stage but often disappoints when completed. Worth saying now I think :)
                        Glasgowdan, I would be tempted to move the swing to accommodate this.
                         
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                        • glasgowdan

                          glasgowdan Gardener

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                          I know, it's a good idea in theory, but this swing set isn't a standard kind of structure, it would take a person on each leg to move it, plus I've planted climbers at each corner!

                          I'll make the pond as big as possible though. Going to go for a vague '8' shape with the bridge over the narrow middle bit.
                           
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