Ponds and the rest of your garden

For many animals, the quality of habitat outside the pond is just as important as the water itself. This is especially true for frogs, toads and

Amphibious bistort. Chris Gibson/English Nature
Smooth newt. Chris Gibson/English Nature

newts, which spend most of their lives on land, using the water mainly to breed. A very formal garden will offer no support for these amphibians, which need dense cover and a plentiful supply of insects and worms for food. Set aside a proportion of your garden to help them, with dense, shady, shrubby borders and areas of long grass under trees. Leaving a few areas unkempt is great for wildlife, and you can provide over-wintering habitat by making piles of logs in a quiet shaded area. Rockeries make good amphibian habitat too.

Bog gardens are wildlife assets. Create one when you make your pond. A bog garden is an area which is permanently damp, in which moisture-loving plants can thrive. Dig a hole about 30cm deep, line it with butyl and then just refill it with the extracted soil. A bog garden can look wonderful next to a pond, especially if it's located so that surplus pond water drains into it naturally. Dense, lush vegetation in bog gardens is superb habitat for newly-emerged young frogs. Bog gardens also support some very attractive native flowers.

Common toad. Roger Key/English Nature

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