Quotes to install or repair garden ponds and water features are free in Bristol, Somerset and North Somerset, Sometimes further afield when part of a landscaping project.
For pond building services
Click the picture for a DIY. Step by Step guide, to build your own Wildlife pond
Recent times have seen about three quarters of our natural wildlife ponds lost. Along with the wetland plants and wildlife they supported.
Building and installing a wildlife friendly pond, will create an oasis for frogs, toads, newts, and dragonflies. You will be able to enjoy watching the wildlife come and go and kids will see nature at work and learn to understand the workings of nature.
Wildlife friendly garden ponds, streams and water features can be built and installed using environmentally friendly puddled clay or rubber liner.
To keep this article as short and readable as I can, I have linked to my other articles, follow the links for more detail.
Maintaining your garden wildlife pond
Once the pond has become established maintenance is very easy.
Basically, keep marginal plant cover to about a third of the ponds surface, leaving the other two thirds for submerged weeds and bare mud. Silt normally takes many years to fill a pond. You shouldn't need to clear any out for at least five years. Don't ever totally clean out a pond as this will destroy the wildlife community it has developed to keep the pond healthy.
Adding water features, like waterfalls and fountains that move the water help keep pond water clear and healthy. Pond maintenance
This is explained in a lot more detail here Build a wildlife pond
The basics are;
Getting the pond-life started.
Ask your pond builder to add some silt from a mature pond. This helps build up the natural balance and culture of your pond. Also, ask the pond builder to add a bucket of water from a chemical free nature pond. This gives your nature pond a good start by increasing the insect life that is essential to the pond.
In a new wildlife pond add water snails, they help break down decaying plants and reduce the build-up of algae.
Can I keep fish in a wildlife friendly pond?
If you have running water Sticklebacks or Minnows are OK in small numbers and maybe add a few goldfish for the kids. Once the pond is established with pond-life . Providing numbers are kept sensible you will not need to feed the fish. Leaving the natural productivity and diversity of life in a pond to sustain them. I have kept goldfish in my pond for years and have never fed them. They seem healthy, look happy and breed.
Koi fish, however, should never be kept in a nature pond, they gulp up everything in sight including pond-life and sxxx it all back out! Apart from having all the pond-life eaten, you will need to install filters to clean the pond water.
If you are not keeping Koi and get the pond culture balance right. Nature will ensure you have a happy and healthy wildlife pond.
I have listed a few safe plants that will keep the pond healthy, and some to avoid below.
Safe Native Plants for Garden Ponds
Hornwort, Water Milfoil, Water crowfoot, Water starwort, White water lily, Yellow water-lily, Arrowhead Sagittar, Broad-leafed pondweed, and Water soldier. list of pond plants
Plants to avoid in nature ponds
Australian swamp stonecrop or New Zealand pygmy weed, (often labeled Tillaea recurva or Tillaea helmsii), Parrots feather, Floating pennywort, Indian balsam, Water lettuce, Water chestnut, Water hyacinth, Water ferns (Azolla species )
Plants for a Bog Garden
Make the most of waterlogged areas in gardens and lawns and the edges of ponds and install a bog water feature filled with colourful bog garden plants. How to make and plant a bog garden.
When is the best time to thin out marginal plants in your pond
When amphibians have completed their life cycle, the pond is shallow and not too cold to make the job unpleasant. But, remember most pond life prefer the cover of plants. A good wildlife pond will be at least a third covered with emergent and floating plants.
How to control algae and blanket weed in garden ponds.
In moderation, algae provide great habitat for aquatic insects and is completely natural and does not harm your fish or plants. But, if you have a problem resulting from the high fertility of your pond. The cause may be fertiliser added to plants you have bought from your garden centre, maybe it's a ploy to create dependency. Also, adding too much fish food will feed and encourage algae.
Most new ponds will have some algae, blanket weed overgrowth in the first year so don't worry to soon. Shade as much of the water as possible with lilies and other aquatic plants. Algae requires sunlight.
Continually removing the blanket weed algae will eventually lower the nutrient levels. There are chemicals that will kill blanket weed and other algae, but the dead algae sinks to the bottom and rots. Only providing more nutrients for a fresh new bloom of Algae, and so the cycle starts over again, so don't use chemical fixes. More here
How to make a garden pond safe for children
When planning and designing a garden pond, safety considerations are important, especially if you have children or grand children visiting. I have listed a few things we can do to make the pond safer here. making a pond child safe
The cost of Garden pond design and build.
A garden pond and waterfall installation requires quality components and a lot of physical labour. If you would like a wildlife pond, stream or water feature installed we can design and install it for you. Please ask for a price.
We also repair and fix leaks in garden ponds including clay lined ponds in North Somerset, Bristol, Weston super mare, Portishead, Nailsea, Clevedon, Bath, Yeovil,Highbridge Burnham on Sea, Taunton, Wells and Bridgwater area.
How to make garden nature ponds using clay.
Water feature and garden ponds design and installation using puddling clay.
Clay is the traditional method of lining ponds/canals and is the natural material for lining garden ponds, wildlife ponds and water features. It is spread over the excavation, mixed with water and then repeatedly trampled to remove all the air space and to break down the structure of the clay. Puddling is hard work and must be done thoroughly to make a waterproof seal. In the past, flocks of sheep were used.
A modern method to puddle clay is to use a dumper truck or tracked digger, driven back and forth over the wet clay, or a Wacker Plate. More fun though, is to involve your local school, the kids love it and learn about an old almost forgotten skill.
Where do I buy clay for puddling.
Clay may be available cheaply or free as a waste product from local building sites and ground work, but more likely and more expensive, from clay producers and some aggregate suppliers.
Often, especially for clay liner repairs we use Bentonite. Bentonite is the same clay used in canal building and repairing leaks in lakes and reservoirs.
The clay lining should be at least eight inches thick and layered on. Once properly puddled, the clay lining remains waterproof indefinitely, provided it remains underwater. Exposed clay dries out and cracks, so is not suitable for steep streams and waterfalls.
Lots more about making a clay lined pond here Puddling clay for a pond
Garden ponds increase garden biodiversity and in some cases, depending on the situation and site, can help prevent flash flooding by catching and slowing down the flow of water caused by heavy rain. And importantly, from the point of view of this article. Garden ponds also store carbon in the sediment accumulated at the bottom of ponds. In fact, pond sediment holds more carbon per square metre per year than the same area of grassland and woodland. My article here explains
Consider adding a stream to your pond. Shallow flowing water adds the dimension of motion which gives your landscape a life of its own. The sound of the water is very relaxing and sets the mood for the garden. The most obvious impact of adding a stream to a garden pond is emphasising the overall size and feeling of the water features. It ties everything together and looks natural.
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