The magic of water has fascinated us for centuries. Virtually all cultures on earth have found a way to incorporate water into their gardens and homes in some way. Garden ponds continue to hold the same fascination today. They bring a new dimension to our outdoor living space and create a stunning focal point in any garden. Ponds lined with a pond liner and constructed with gently sloping edges can also provide an important habitat for wildlife native to the area.
Today, with the availability of modern material such as pond liners, pumps and filters, creating an attractive garden pond is not a difficult task.
Before you begin the construction of your pond, it is well worth the time and effort to design and plan for it. There are five key areas, which must be considered in the planning process. These are the style of your pond, the size, type of pond, position and whether you want moving or still water.
Ponds are often described as ‘formal’ or ‘informal’ based on their design. A formal pond design is one with straight edges and is symmetrical, whereas an informal pond is designed to look natural and is suited. An informal pond design is most suited to those intended to attract wildlife.
The size of the pond is an important consideration and will depend on the intended purpose for the pond and the overall budget. The size of the pond should also reflect that of the garden. If the intention is to stock fish, the pond size and depth are important. For large fish such as Koi, you will need a depth of 90cm (3ft) and a large surface area versus that of smaller fish, which require a pond of 45cm (18in) deep and a surface area of at least 3m2.
The pond type is really dependent on what you want your garden pond for. You may wish to create a pond designed only to attract wildlife. These ponds tend to be informal in style, and require a lot of planting around the edge of the pond as well as in the pond to create a safe haven for wildlife. A wildlife pond must have at least one gently sloping edge to allow wildlife to enter and leave the pond easily.
Ideally a pond should be positioned where it can receive six hours of sunlight a day. Sunlight is important for plant growth. It should also be sited away from trees. The roots of trees can damage pond liners, so avoid placing your pond near them. You also need to build a pond where there is access to an electricity point as most pond pumps and filters require to function.
Then, lastly you need to decide whether you want to enjoy the sound and tranquillity of moving water through a waterfall or fountain. Moving water is also very beneficial to the pond and those that inhabit it, as it helps to aerate the water improving its oxygen level.
Having gone through the planning process, you will then need to decide how to construct your pond. The options are to use preformed moulded plastic, brickwork or flexible pond liners. The flexible liners are the most popular choice for constructing ponds as they allow for design flexibility and are easy to install. There are different types of liners available characterised by their durability, weight, cost and strength. Butyl and epalyn liners are stronger and more UV and weather resistant than PVC liners.