If you looking to make your garden more wildlife-friendly, why not add a pond. This can be lined with a good quality pond liner to successfully contain the water. PVC, Butyl and Epalyn pond liners are all non-toxic therefore fish and aquatic-life friendly.
Garden ponds represent a freshwater habitat that could play an important role in supporting macro-invertebrates (damselflies, dragonflies, water beetles, snails, aquatic worms) biodiversity. Garden ponds may also play an important role in the conservation of floral communities.
Any permanent water will bring all sorts of wildlife to your garden. By having a garden pond you create somewhere for residents and visitors to drink and bathe. A pond also provides a breeding and feeding place for amphibians, insects plus wildlife that prey on them. To attract wildlife you need to start by constructing your pond in such a way that wildlife can survive in and around it. A pond with shelves at varying water levels and at least one side having a gentle slope, will allow creatures to get in and out of the pond with ease.
To entice a wide variety of wildlife visiting your garden pond, you also need to create a safe haven for them to inhabit. To achieve this, plant a diverse range of native aquatic plants in your pond and lots of leafy plants around the edge. Lay a pile of logs, branches or rocks in amongst the leafy plants to the edge of your pond. This will create a safe haven for amphibians. Create corridors amongst the vegetation for them to move about with ease and in safety. Frogs naturally find new ponds quickly so adapt your pond to offer the best conditions for them to live and breed in.
Another amphibian likely to visit your pond, are Newts. They tend to arrive in early spring. Newts leave ponds in the summer migrating to logs and rocks on the waters edge for safety. Newt tadpoles breathe under water until they are ready to leave the pond in late summer.
Your pond will also become home to many macro-invertebrates. From mid summer to the end of September you may spot dragonflies buzzing around hunting other insects. Dragonfly nymphs spend up to 5 years in the pond before they hatch into an adult fly. Other insects include the Pondskater, which skims across the water looking for insects that have fallen into the water.
Beetles of various types are also likely to inhabit your garden pond. Your pond may also appeal to hedgehogs who may be seen at dusk as they go out in search of snails, slugs and earthworms. Small birds, such as woodpeckers and blackbirds will also use a pond to drink from and bathe in.
Unfortunately unwelcome guests may also make a visit. Herons love an amphibian meal! Dense planting on the edge of a pond and rocks in and around it will create a safe haven for frogs making it more of a challenge for herons to come in search of food.
Building your garden pond
Before lining the dug-out, it is advisable to first install a protective pond liner underlay to protect the liner. You may also want to add a sheet of underlay above the liner if you intend adding boulders and gravel to create a natural look. This will also mean your pond liner is protected from the potentially destructive effects of claws and beaks of visiting wildlife. Your pond may even be visited at night by local foxes and badges.
Try not to disturb the water in your pond or around the edges from late autumn to early spring so that any hibernating creates are not woken and frightened away. Any cleaning or mending of your pond liner should be done in early autumn.
Happy pond building and enjoy the thrill of watching visiting wildlife of all sizes!