The most important step in creating a natural pond is deciding where to site it giving enough space around the pond to prepare the ground for planting. The next step is to layout the shape and, once satisfied, start to dig your hole
(refer to ‘Pond Planning and Construction‘ article for more detailed information on creating a pond and installing a pond liner). Ponds that have at least one deeper part (1m or 3ft) tend to be easier to manage. Create a shallower outer shelf, stepping down to the deeper part if you intend to add potted aquatic plants to your pond. If you are adding a pond pump, install a channel to the edge for the cable to keep your preparation work neat and manageable.
The best pond liners are made from Epalyn or butyl as these are tough enough to last for many years (some references on garden ponds quote these rubber pond liners as lasting for up to 50 years). To know how much liner and protective underlay to order, measure the maximum width plus twice the depth, by maximum length plus twice the depth. Use these calculations to put into the Liners Online pond liner size calculator to get the exact dimensions required.
For the best effect for a natural pond, lay down a protective underlay before adding the pond liner and then another layer of protective underlay on top of that to provide a non-slippery base for your soil layer into which you can plant. Once you have laid the underlay and liner, carefully add the soil and gravel layers. Pat into shape taking care not to puncture the pond liner. To fill your pond with water, don’t put the hose directly onto the gravel and soil layer as the water pressure will displace it as well as causing a dust cloud. Instead place a concrete slab at the edge of the pond to dangle the hose over to slowly trickle water into your pond.
Once your pond is fill, allow it to settle for a few days before introducing plants. You can dig these directly into the soil layer but try to make as little disturbance as possible. My next blog will look at planting for your natural pond. What you plant must work in harmony to create a relaxing setting and reflection off the water.