My wife was concerned that
having a pond would bring midges and mosquitoes and spoil our enjoyment
of relaxing on the patio in the evening. It hasn't been that
way. Certainly the undesirable little beasties try to use the pond
to breed but they provide food for other little beasties that we
welcome. Incidences of any bites are less than pre-pond days and
are almost zero.
Damsel Fly Nymph
Tell people that you are building a wildlife pond and you are likely to
find someone who has an established pond who will be happy to give you a
bucket or two of plants to get you started. These plants will
probably contain a multitude of visible and microscopic organisms and
Most pond plants are vigorous growers and
very invasive. If you buy some tiny specimens from a garden centre
as I did you will be soon be wondering how they justify the
price when you are throwing loads of the stuff away.
Important - always compost surplus plants.
Do not dispose of them in natural ponds, canals, rivers, etc. See beplantwise
I had two problems
Green water and Duckweed. Duckweed shown on previous
page and in this image >
The pond gets some direct sunlight
and this caused the water to turn green very quickly. This
is common with a newly constructed pond and although it
isn't (initially) unhealthy a thick green soup isn't what we
want to look at.
Pond Skater doesn't
Green water was an
almost immediate problem.
I bought a pump and ultraviolet filter which were in use for three
days to clear the problem. At this point we had only three plants
that I'd purchased from a garden centre (and one frog of course).
Note - this is the only time a pump or filter has been used with
the pond. A wildlife pond becomes its own self sustaining
ecosystem. The date shows how long since setup and there has been no
filtration or cleaning. When necessary tap
water is used to top up and all animals and plants thrive.
Once your pond is adequately planted green water should not occur. Although
duckweed becomes a problem as it multiplies quickly and covers the whole
water surface I found it initially beneficial as it cut out the sunlight
that was causing the green water. The duckweed not only drastically
reduced the penetrating sunlight but also used the nutrients that were
feeding the microscopic single-celled algae that make the water green.
First concerns were with regard to contamination by mortar and
I applied a coat of Bondglass G4 clear to all mortar that
was going to be underwater, ie. the base for the 'logs' and the perimeter
paving. The mortar doesn't have to be fully dried out and I
can't recommend this stuff highly enough but it is expensive.
There have never been any apparent adverse effects from
Following recommendations I purchased a water test
kit about two weeks after filling the pond and found the chemical
balance was ok.
When laying the paving I ensured a
very slight slope away from the pond so that water and dirt from
the paving would run toward the lawn rather than into the pond.
It is essential that no chemicals
used in general garden maintenance can drain into the pond.
Obviously pesticides will kill your wildlife but so too will
nutrients in fertilisers that will wreak havoc with the ecosystem.
I was also concerned that only a
few days after filling the pond to its final level with tap water
a friend brought me a bucket of plants and little critters.
I had intended to allow the water to mature for a few weeks before
introducing any wildlife but everything survived the transition
from a large natural pond without any problems.
Pumps and filters.
As I've mentioned a pump and filter I think I need to explain.
The larger a pond the easier it is to maintain a natural balance.
Our pond isn't large but other than topping up the water level as required
and removing surplus plants it needs no attention. No pump. No
filter. It functions as a natural environment.
You only need a pump and filter if you intend to keep most of your pond
plant-free or you are going to include fish. If you want a really
good wildlife pond forget about fish. If you want fish - build a
The PondMate pump and UV filter that I bought were put in use on a separate
waterfall feature that I completed in 2006.