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Constructing our new wildlife pond

This is an account of work in progress while constructing our second wildlife pond.

If you haven't already done so you will understand better what we are aiming for if you browse our Old Pond before you read these pages.  A lot of thought went into our first effort and almost everything went as intended.  The only planned differences for our new pond are that it will be larger and as our garden can accommodate it there will be paving around the back so as to make maintenance easier for me.  We intend to have a wall of vertical logs again but the shelf they are built on will be wider, giving more room for larger plant baskets.

I also intend to incorporate an automatic system for topping up the water level in the event of us having a holiday (fat chance) during a particularly dry spell.  This system will be an inconspicuous concoction of my own.
This is a diary showing the construction of our new wildlife pond at our home in the centre of Leyland, Lancashire, UK

the trench on the first day of digging May 2nd 2012

A two-ton skip arrived and work began on digging out a trench that is to be the deepest part of the pond.

We are digging to a maximum depth of 36" below the grass.
Actual water depth of the finished pond will be about 30".

Note the narrow drainage trench at the far end. This is to stop the hole becoming a pond before I'm ready and eventually it will be the 'soakaway' to prevent the pond overflowing during heavy rain.

constructing a wildlife pond - image 1 this is a Christian family friendly and child safe site
large rocks encountered on the second morning of digging May 3rd

The two-ton skip was full. I grossly underestimated how much needed excavating and the space it would occupy.
A four-ton skip arrived.

The top 10" - 12" is turf and mostly topsoil but deeper than that is clay and compacted builder's rubble. Not an easy dig and large rocks and chunks of concrete are found.

Click to see an enlarged image - opens it its own window

constructing a wildlife pond - image 2
Rob Williams - wildlife pond digger - a JCB on two legs
May 4th
My nephew Rob Williams.  I can't do much physical labour and to dig the hard stuff on my own would have taken me months doing a little at a time.
Rob had it done in a couple of days and what the photos don't show is that this garden is enclosed on all sides so each barrow load had to be taken from the rear garden, through the garage to get to the skip on our front drive. The first skip had high sides and so Rob had to spade the barrow contents into the skip.   I've been removing turf - a much easier job.
the menu image to the left shows Daphnia - see Old Pond
the hole on May 7th May 7th

I've removed more turf and started digging away from the trench to form shelves.

The four-ton skip is filled and taken away.


constructing a wildlife pond - image 4
alternative view on May 7th This is the same stage of digging viewed from the opposite end.

I work full-time and so progress on my own isn't going to be at a blistering pace.  I depend on my health being ok, the weather being suitable and having no other other priorities.

Click to see an enlarged image - opens in its own window

constructing a wildlife pond - image 4b
our wildlife pond is currently a tarpaulin covered hole May 7th to May 18th

Every day that I haven't been at work has seen poor weather and no further work has been done.

Due to the cost and the pressure to dig as much as possible in the shortest time I'm not hiring any more skips.
All future loads will be taken to local landfill via a collection of 'flex-tubs' but I'm anticipating using much of the good topsoil in other areas of our garden. Next page