Even the smallest of spaces can include a self-contained feature to bring water into the garden and extend the range of plants grown. However, water features can sometimes be difficult to maintain. When planning a garden water feature, the following factors should be considered:
Site a pond in a sheltered, sunny spot well away from deciduous tress whose fallen leaves will pollute the water in autumn. Usually informal ponds are best located in depressions or low points, never on top of a mound. Formal ponds can be located at high or low points. Streams obviously start at higher ground and run to a lower point. The start and finish of a stream should normally be hidden from view, usually with heavy plantings. Water features create a focal point in your garden and will be better appreciated where they can be seen.
The bigger the pond, the easier it will be to keep the water clear. Pools under 2x3m are most likely to be susceptible to green water. If a pond is too shallow, it will be difficult to develop a balanced ecology that will keep the water, animal and plant life in a healthy, self-sustaining condition. Ponds should be at least 35 centimetres (or 14 inches) deep.
Moving water can be used as either a fountain, waterfall or stream. Moving water will require a pump, and while that is an added expense, moving water is much easier to keep clean. It is also easier to grow fish and plants in.
• Wildlife ponds
• Pebble pools
• Wall water features
• Dry stream features
• Tub pools
• Brick or stone
• Fabric pool liner
• Waterproofing the ground
Water can be cleaned either by using chemicals, filters or by improving the biology of the pond or stream. Where persistent water quality problems exist, filtration may be the only solution. This can be achieved using two different types of filter; physical or biological. With physical filters, water is pumped through a physical barrier which filters out waste products, algae build ups and helps oxygenate the water. With biological filters, water passes through a bed containing materials such as gravel, scoria and sand. The microorganisms present in these materials break down impurities and remove them from the water.
Pond Plantation must be carefully chosen as different plants prefer different environments. For example, some prefer to have their feet wet, some to remain on the margin of a pond or some prefer to have their stems fully submerged with just the flower of the plant on the surface of the water.
Even in small gardens, ponds are beautiful and ever-changing features that provide an ideal environment for moisture-loving plants and a habitat for wildlife. Most gardens only have space for a small pond but there are many different possibilities and variations that can be used when it comes to creating a pond for your own garden.
It doesn’t need to be a difficult task to build a pond but it is important to do the job properly and use quality materials. Here is a short guide to help you build a pond using flexible liner.
1. Firstly, decide upon the size and shape of the pond and mark it out using a hosepipe. To work out how much liner you will need, measure the maximum depth of the pond. Then multiply the depth by 2 and add this number to the length and the width allowing a little extra for the liner to sink. When buying liner, make sure you choose a good quality material such as butyl.
2. Dig out the shape, leaving a planting shelf of approximately 30cm deep around the edges to allow for the planting of marginals. Or, if you are looking to create a wildlife pond, give the sides a gentle slope.
3. Next, spread a layer of soft sand around the hole to prevent stones piercing the liner.
4. Spread the liner out to cover the hole and begin to fill with water. As the water level rises the liner will begin to sink under the weight so you will need to adjust the excess material to suit.
5. Hide the edges of the liner either by burying it into the ground and covering with pondside plants or alternatively you can lay paving to cover the join.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain a healthy garden pond:
• Use a fountain, waterfall or biological filter to help keep the water clean and oxygenated if you have fish.
• Use pond netting during autumn and winter to prevent dead leaves from rotting and fouling the water.
• Using Ramshorn snails will help keep the water clean by feeding on plant material and fish waste.
• If you have Canadian pondweed you will need to thin it out every few weeks or so during the summer to prevent it from choking the water.
• Remove spotty or decaying leaves of waterlillies and marginal plants otherwise they will foul the water.
• Deadhead flowering plants during summer to encourage more flowers. Leave flower heads intact if you want to attract birds into the area.
• Keep an eye out for algae and treat accordingly.
• Remove all marginal plant foliage as it fades to prevent decomposition in the water.
• Leave waterlily foliage to rot away naturally. The oily scum that appears on the water will disappear naturally.
• Just before winter sets in, remove the plants growing in containers and put them in a frost free place such as a shed or green house.
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