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Making a garden pond - what do we need to think about?

(24 Posts)
GrouchyKiwi Fri 15-Apr-16 10:54:51

Have managed to convince my husband that a pond is a good idea for our garden.

It won't be a big one - something like 80cm by 50cm - but I'd like it to be safe for our small children, accessible for potential frogs, and pretty.

The plan is to put it across from the kitchen window so I can see it from the rooms I spend most time in (kitchen and nursery upstairs) if I'm inside.

What do we need to think about otherwise?

And can anyone recommend good UK native plants to go in/around it?

Ifailed Fri 15-Apr-16 12:52:20

Your a bit late for frogs now (well, down here in London, anyway). 80 x 50 is quite small, but even so, try and get two levels, deeper one for bigger plants, and shelf for smaller ones. Are going for a rigid or flexible liner? If the latter, lay some old carpet down first to prevent stones etc puncturing the liner. Don't over-crowd the plants, they will quickly bulk out. If you use the baskets to plant them, it's a lot easier when it comes time to remove them and split them up (give to friends or neighbours?) I'm no expert on plants, I'm afraid, but I suspect you'll want miniature versions. If you have someone local with a pond, once yours is filled and planted, a bucket of water from theirs added to yours will help start wildlife off, but make sure they don't suffer from blanket weed or algae!

GrouchyKiwi Fri 15-Apr-16 14:33:58

I'm thinking of something like this as the pond liner.

I don't know anyone with a pond, alas.

Thanks for the tips about planting.

Ifailed Fri 15-Apr-16 18:17:12

OK, so a rigid liner. The only thing I'd say is it can be an absolute PITA to excavate the right-sized hole for it to fit, and for it to be level. Google earth can help you find a neighbourhood pond - or get a drone! grin.
Seriously though, find a local garden centre that does pond plants and speak to them for advice.
You mentioned small children, and every year there are horrible news items about accidents with ponds. You can get a sort of platform that sits at water level to prevent someone falling in, but I believe the best way is to teach your DCs not to go to close or lean over it - a bit like don't put your tongue into electrical sockets.

Kr1stina Sat 16-Apr-16 22:20:47

How old is your youngest child ?

GrouchyKiwi Sat 16-Apr-16 22:35:31

My youngest child is due in 5 weeks.

I would prefer to teach the children to be safe around water rather than put up a barrier but will possibly have a temporary one. Undecided.

CocktailQueen Sat 16-Apr-16 22:41:30

Have a look at and ask at your local garden centre. I'd recommend using flexible liner instead of a fixed pond - much easier to dig!

British pond plants here -

Make sure you have sloping sides so animals can crawl out.

We made ours two years ago and this year frogs laid frogspawn in it, and we had a newt last year. Have fun!

stiffstink Sat 16-Apr-16 22:50:35

Please don't rely on your children to keep themselves safe around a pond of any size. I recall reading about a child who wandered into a neighbouring garden and drowned.

If you must have one, please make it as child-proof as you possibly can.

Twasthecatthatdidit Sat 16-Apr-16 22:53:14

I have to admit, I wouldn't dream of having a pond with small children. Surely it would mean you could never relax? Sorry, that's probably not very helpful...

CocktailQueen Sat 16-Apr-16 23:10:11

The op's pond will be 50cm by 80cm - not big at all! And not deep either.

Our fish pond is much deeper and bigger and we fenced that half of the garden off. DS older now so may take fown fencing.

But I think a small pond like this should be safe - but might be a good idea to research barriers.

zeeka Sat 16-Apr-16 23:18:09

You can't teach toddlers to be safe around water. Plus if you are feeding the baby and have other children outside, you will have to watch them all the time. I'd say that some sort of barrier is essential.

SandpitDreams Sat 16-Apr-16 23:36:16

The metal grids used on construction sites sometimes are excellent for lying across the top of a pond for safety. Rigid is good, netting is bad!

SandpitDreams Sat 16-Apr-16 23:39:52

Forgot to add, the plants and frogs can get through the gaps but if it is raised by one brick height above the water then rven if a child lies on it they won't touch thr water.

echt Sun 17-Apr-16 00:50:43

Second the rebar over pond, held down with giant metal staples, will hold an adult's weight. It rusts nicely and allows the plants to poke through.

GrouchyKiwi Sun 17-Apr-16 08:40:45

Metal grid is a good idea.

Will investigate the soft liners, though I do like the idea of a pre-formed pond as it seems like less work. But if digging the right shaped hole is difficult then I guess it's not less work.

Kr1stina Sun 17-Apr-16 09:12:29

My advice is to not do this until your children are much older. We had a pond in our garden when we moved in and we took it out and only rebuilt another one when our youngest was 8 .

If you are determined to do it, this gives advice about how to make a pond safer for your children . You need a permanently secured metal grid about the water , which will look ugly and make maintenance very diffcult.

Personally I would not take the risk , toddlers can drown in a few inches of water and you cannot supervise them all the time .

Twin toddlers died in a pond last month in scotland

Muriel grays daughter is brain damaged after an accident in a neighbours pond .

GrouchyKiwi Sun 17-Apr-16 10:13:14

I'm thinking if we get a more regular shaped tub like this and add a strong metal grid as a cover with metal staples then that would work. Would use a couple of bricks to make steps for wildlife to get out.

We think the educational value of a wildlife pond outweighs the risk factor if we cover it, and think that if children are not taught to deal with risk then that's more dangerous. Our garden is small and the children are always supervised when outside (and unable to unlock the doors themselves).

Moreisnnogedag Sun 17-Apr-16 10:27:51

Have you thought about pond less waterfalls? They are lovely and you can let children near them? Remember it's not only your DC you need to think about but their friends too.

GrouchyKiwi Sun 17-Apr-16 10:27:51

The other option is a bog garden. Has anyone done one of these? Would it be suitable for frogs?

We have a small patch of garden that stays quite wet so it would work there, though I might have to shift some pre-existing plants and change things around a bit.

Ifailed Sun 17-Apr-16 10:54:57

GK, I doubt a bog garden would be good for frogs, at least for them to produce frogspawn as they need water to grow in.

However, the usual way to produce a bog garden is to fill a pond with soil, the liner keeps it damp. You could go the other way, start off with a bog garden and then remove the soil and turn it back to a pond?

GrouchyKiwi Tue 19-Apr-16 08:58:02

Having done some research it seems that frogs etc do like a bog garden. If I make a couple of very shallow rock pools (using plant saucers or similar) then that might be enough.

DH likes the idea of a bog garden as it's less work. grin And yes, we could make a pond when the children are older and it would be partially excavated already.

NoMudNoLotus Tue 19-Apr-16 10:11:50

We use a metal grid - we have frogs and dragon flies.

Do not consider having a pond unless you use a grid.

You sound a bit naive OP - there is teaching risk and there is being reckless.

It takes only shallow water for DC to drown - and drowning is silent.

NoMudNoLotus Tue 19-Apr-16 10:14:27

And for really low maintainance - frogs love a saucepan full of water with some rocks in .

Before we got our pond we did this and got our frog who lovingly comes back every year . I then told my mum about it - she did the same and hey presto now has her own frog too.

Ifailed Tue 19-Apr-16 10:31:41

Having done some research it seems that frogs etc do like a bog garden
Sorry, missed your point, I thought you were also after them breeding, tadpoles etc. Although they may lay eggs in a saucepan, I doubt if there would be enough food in one to allow tadpoles to fully develop? No zoologist, so happy to be corrected. Adult frogs will take a bog garden, as it is somewhere cool and damp.

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