How to Build a Pond for Your Garden 

Written by Ollie Wilkinson

A premium pond is a great investment that can result in fantastic environmental returns. But how do you build a garden pond? What benefits do they bring? And most important, why on earth is a milkround talking about them? 

These are all good questions. And don’t worry, we won’t be ducking any of them. Get it? Duck… Pond… Sorry, we’ll just get on with it, shall we… 

If you find yourself pondering ponds and weighing up water features, check out our guide to discover everything there is to know, including: 

  • • Is a garden pond a good idea? 
  • • How are ponds good for the environment? 
  • • Are you sure a pond is a good idea? 
  • • How do you build a garden pond? 
  • • No but seriously, are they a good idea? 
  • • How do you look after a garden pond? 

Is a garden pond a good idea? 

A garden pond can be a fantastic idea (up there with sliced bread and the spork), if you have the space and are willing to maintain it. Kind of like a beard. Only with (hopefully) more wildlife and less hipsters. 

Seven in every ten ponds has been lost since the 19th century due to drainage and infilling, which has had a detrimental impact on UK wildlife and biodiversity (UK Government

Why it’s a good idea to build a pond for your garden: 

  • • They create and protect valuable ecosystems by giving food and shelter to wildlife. 
  • • They support biodiversity – a rich variety of species love ponds! 
  • • They increase food resources. 
  • • They combat the threat of flooding. 
  • • They look beautiful! 

Garden ponds are to wildlife what nightclubs are for uni students. They’re a place for creatures great and small to live, breed and thrive. But they’re also a source of pollution if you’re not careful. A garden pond’s not just for summer. You need to commit to looking after it all year round. But more on that later. 

What wildlife and animals do ponds attract? 

Pond-skaters, great crested newts and toads… You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a Hogwarts back-to-school shopping list. But it’s actually the pond-loving posse you can expect around your new water feature. 

The fantastic beasts, and where to find them: 

  • • Invertebrates like pond-skaters, water snails, water boatmen and worms often hang around ponds, snacking on algae and plants. 
  • • Dragonflies are stunning critters that have existed for millions of years. And they LOVE chilling by the water. 
  • • Amphibians like newts, toads and frogs are never ones to miss out on a pond party. 
  • • Many UK wetland birds like a dip in the pond, including ducks, grebes and common cuckoos. 
  • • Fish! You didn’t think we’d forget the OGs of the pond world, did you? Goldfish, koi carp, sturgeons and catfish are all fin-tastic additions to your garden. 

You know what they say, you can lead wildlife to water, but you can’t get it to stay there and enjoy it. 

Getting frogs to your pond can be quite the Kermitment, and it doesn’t take a total muppet to get it wrong. Here’s how to attract wildlife to your pond: 

  1. 1. Fill at least one area with plants to offer food and shelter for frogs, toads, dragonflies and other critters. 
  1. 2. Keeping your pond clean will attract more birds, as they enjoy a pondside tipple while preening themselves. 
  1. 3. Position your pond in a sunny yet sheltered area. That way, you get the sunbathers as well as the predator-fearing pond-lovers. 
  1. 4. Provide a little ramp for creatures to get in and out of the pond. The last thing you want is an armband-less hedgehog flapping around in the deep end. 

Wondering what else you can do to help your local wildlife? Check out our blog on how rewilding works before discovering how to create a bee-friendly garden

How do I make a simple garden pond? 

To build a simple pond for your garden, you’ll need: 

  • • A liner 
  • • A pump 
  • • Some plants 
  • • Water (surprise, surprise!) 

You can find all of these items at local garden centers, which let’s face it, are practically a young homeowner’s Disneyland these days.  

Before you build your water feature, we recommend checking the government guidance on pond creation to ensure you’re not breaking any rules in your area. 

What is the best liner for a garden pond? 

A pond liner is the padding that keeps water in a hole. The best, most durable and easy-to-install liner for a garden pond is a rubber liner. This is because rubber is: 

  • • Flexible 
  • • Affordable 
  • • Tough and mostly tearproof 
  • • Watertight 

How deep does a garden pond need to be?  

A garden pond doesn’t need to be very deep. Just make sure it’s at least 1.5 feet (around 18 inches) so that the animals don’t struggle during the winter. Otherwise, you’ll have frozen fish (and not the tasty ones from Birdseye). 

So when it comes to pond size, think: not as deep as your mate after a few pints at the pub, but less shallow than a gossip-loving, trash-talking reality TV star. 

Where is the best place to site a garden pond?  

The best place to site a garden pond is in a shady spot in your garden. By that, we don’t mean the more unscrupulous and dubious areas of your garden. Or your outdoor shrine to Eminem.  

We mean an area that’s protected from the sun, as this will help keep you out of hot water and your pond nice and cool, preventing it from drying out during the summer. 

An idea spot would be somewhere that gets a bit of sunshine during the day, but not all day. 

How small can a garden pond be?  

A garden pond can be as small as you like, but it should be at least 18 inches deep to prevent potential winter issues. Less than 18 inches deep, and you’ve got more of a puddle than a pond. 

A step-by-step guide to building a pond for your garden

  1. 1. Choose a spot that gets plenty of sunlight. Try to avoid spots below trees, too. Unless you want to be forever plucking leaves out of your pond. 
  1. 2. Mark out the shape and size of your pond using string, then dig a hole around two feet deep. 
  1. 3. Place your liner in the hole so it’s covering the perimeter all the way to the top. 
  1. 4. Fill the hole with clean water. 
  1. 5. Add your plants and decorations to create a natural habitat for fish and other wildlife. 

Bonus/extremely necessary tip: Check the recommended pond size and water temperature before buying and re-homing any fish. Because not everyone likes to be a big fish in a small pond! 

How often should you need to top up a pond? 

You should only need to top up a pond if it has been raining heavily or if evaporation has been high. Otherwise, it should pretty much take care of itself. 

Should I top up my pond with tap water? 

No! You shouldn’t top up your pond with tap water unless you have a water filter. Tap water contains chemicals that can be harmful to fish and other wildlife. But don’t worry, it’s still safe to order at restaurants! 

Is rainwater good for ponds? 

As you well know, it can be tricky to avoid the rain in Britain. But fear not, because this means that UK wildlife has adapted pretty darn well to it, meaning rainwater is generally okay for ponds. In fact, it can be pretty good for your pond, as it helps maintain the water levels. 

Rainwater does hold pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus, so if you do have a filtered pond for tropical fish, you’ll want to install a harvesting and ensuring your filter is working effectively. 

How do I keep my pond water clear? 

You can keep your pond water clear by adding plants, as these will help to filter the water. You can also install netting to ensure no unwanted critters either fall into your pond (we’re looking at you, doggos) or try to eat what’s underwater. 

Do garden ponds need a pump? 

Garden ponds don’t need a pump, but if you happen to have one lying around (as you do), you can use it to help to circulate and aerate the water. 

What plants are good for garden ponds? 

Plants keep your water clean, your garden guests impressed, and your pond posse fed. Here are some of the best ones to include for a healthy little ecosystem: 

  • • Water lilies – Water lilies are beautiful additions to any pond, bringing a rainbow of pastel pinks, yellows, oranges and white to the surface. They also purify the water while creating shelter and shade for the underwater lurkers like fish and toads. 
  • • Irises – Irises are tough cookies, able to grow along the edges of most ponds. All they need is a little bit of sunshine (we hear you, irises, don’t we all…).  
  • • Cattails – The poster boy of ponds, cattails are the classic reeds you see lining up along most water spots. They are the bodyguards of the pond, ensuring only those on the VIP list get in, and that erosion stays the heck out. 

If you’re looking for a buzzing atmosphere and plenty of pollination, we recommend adding some bee-friendly plants to your pond. You may even notice some worker bees borrowing your pond water to cool their hive during the summer! 

Do ponds attract mosquitoes? 

Mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water. To deter them from swarming around your pond, we recommend keeping the water in your pond moving and free of debris. You can do this by adding fish, a pump, and a net. 

Ready to test the waters and dip your toes in? 

If you’re building a pond in your front garden, remember to warn your milkie if it’s on their route to your front door! Otherwise, you may hear a splash and a few soggy swearwords mumbled at your front door. 

Remember, we deliver before 7:30am, which means our ninja-like milkies often drop produce on your doorstep in the dark. But don’t worry, we feed them plenty of carrots to aid their night vision. 

How to update your delivery instructions: 

  1. 1. Sign in to your account 
  1. 2. Select delivery details 
  1. 3. Type in your new delivery instructions (this is where you can warn them of the pond/booby trap). 
  1. 4. Drop a pin 

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