Building a Small Garden Pond for Wildlife

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Building a small pond can help with slug problems

As an organic gardener I’m always looking for ways that will help make gardening easier while keeping a natural ethos. One challenge that I have year after year is slugs — they’re an absolute nightmare and my one temptation to resort to chemical control: Slug pellets. Unfortunately he organic types don’t seem to work for me and the standard ones are harmful to the soil and to other animals.

It was while pondering this dilemma that I came up with the idea of building a small garden pond. Ponds attract frogs, which like to eat slugs. Ponds are also pretty and provide water for other animals too, like my honeybees. Sounds like a win win situation to me!

Materials I used to build the pond

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

A tear in my pond lining

I built it and it was wonderful but the plastic I used as a liner was damaged and my pond began to leak. Maybe the plastic wasn’t ideal to begin with, and maybe it was rocks that punctured it, but I knew that I needed to get it sorted before spring. It’s around now that frogs start to spawn and soon my water plants will start growing again. I had to work quickly and gently to make sure that I didn’t end up harming any wildlife that might still be inside.

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

A little frog was living in my pond

It’s a good thing that I went through the pond gently and thoroughly because I found a little frog. I had no idea it was living there and was both delighted and worried that it might get hurt. I caught it in an empty plant pot and set it aside until it was time to put it back in the water. It waited patiently and each time I checked in on it it seemed relaxed and froggy. Sitting quietly with its eyes shiny and alert and little silky throat moving in and out as it breathed.

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

Pond Renovation Work

After clearing the old pond out I managed to find the main leak. The plastic was damaged though and couldn’t be used as a pond liner again. Instead I re-dug the pond, made sure it was more level than the last time, and then placed the wooden frame back inside. I’m using it inside my pond because I’m on a slope and I want to make sure that the water is deep. Deep enough for frogs to hide from predators.

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

Lining the Pond

I also made sure to invest in good quality pond underlay so that the plastic wouldn’t be damaged the wooden frame. I draped it over the frame as you can see in the video and then spread the plastic pond liner on top. It was a bit unwieldy but once I filled the liner with water it was easier to pull and tuck the lining into place.

It’s recommended to wait a full day before putting edging stones along the edges of the pond. It’s to give the pond time to settle and for the plastic to fall into place. That day is also supposed to give time for the water to adjust to the ambient temperature and for city water to become less Chlorinated. Afterwards you can put water plants and animals back inside.

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

How to build a small garden pond

The pond in April — two months after completion

The new pond is better than the first

Although it was a mission to renovate the pond, I took the time to make it better than the first. It’s more level, the materials are higher quality, and because the wooden frame sits level, the pond is actually deeper. The video will show you more, as well as a cute clip of the little frog hopping back into its home. I hope that in the weeks to come that we’ll be seeing frog spawn in my little garden pond.

How to build a small garden pond that will attract beneficial wildlife

4 Discussion to this post

  1. Sigh. I love water features. Unfortunately, water features where I live are pretty much an invitation as a mosquito breeding ground.

  2. Richard Drury says:

    I’m thinking of adding a small pond to the landscape of you backyard. I keep some bees and it would be nice if they had easy access to drinking water.

  3. Linda Robert says:

    Pond care is must to keep it fresh. To save the life in and out of pond necessary to get eco-friendly liner.

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