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Pond Life Part 1: How to Build a Pond

A pond can be a great addition to the garden, bringing biodiversity and acting as an attractive feature. However, the prospect of installing and maintaining a pond can be more than a little bit daunting. In this series we will take a look at pond installation, and what you need to do – and what you should avoid doing - to ensure that your pond is brimming with life. First, let’s cover the basics.

Location

As with any change inside or outside the home, location is key. Your pond ideally needs partial shade as full sunlight will lead to unwanted algae growth – and nobody wants a green pond. As full sunlight, you want to avoid areas that are too close to deciduous trees to prevent autumn leaves from falling and settling on the pond’s base. If it isn’t possible to avoid the trees, don’t worry; you can cover it with a net in autumn to avoid too much debris.

Size

Once you know roughly where your pond will go, it is time to consider size and depth. This will very much depend on the purpose of your pond. If you are not planning on keeping fish, a depth of above 0.5 metres will be fine. If you plan on having small, decorative fish, a depth of 0.5-1m is advisable, and if larger fish and koi carp will be inhabiting your new pond, you should aim for a minimum depth of 1-1.5m. This is necessary as deeper water remains slightly warmer during the winter months, allowing fish to semi-hibernate.

Shape and liner

You can choose from prefabricated plastic or fibreglass liners or, for more flexibility in shape, you can opt to use a flexible rubber liner. While premade liners may be more convenient, using a rubber liner lets you plan your own shape to fit with the area that you are using; this can be especially useful if you want a deeper or irregularly shaped pond.

Can a pond go on a slope?

Ideally, ponds will be placed in a level area. If this is not possible, it may be necessary for you to add a small retaining wall to the lower level so that you can maintain water levels. Another alternative is to dig to greater depth by the higher level.

Choosing your pump and filter

In order to keep your pond in great condition – regardless of whether you are planning on keeping fish – it is a good idea to install a pump and filter system. Usually filters sit outside of the pond; water is pumped into the filter, which cleans the water and returns it back to the pond. Some filters have a UV clarifier which eliminates suspended algae, which causes green water; if you didn’t manage to find that shady spot for your pond, a UV clarifier may be a good idea.

If installed correctly, your pond will bring you – and subsequent inhabitants of your home – much joy. For advice on installing your pond, speak to a pond liner installation specialist, who will be able to help with the hard work, so that you don’t have to. For advice on pond maintenance, flora and fauna, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for next week’s instalment.

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