What is the purpose of your pond

This leaflet is about creating a pond for wildlife.

Formal garden ponds, often concrete, with vertical sides and overhanging flagstone surrounds, can give a strong central design to a garden and are valued for reflections and shape. However, the steep sides make them dangerous traps for hedgehogs and mice. Even cats and dogs may fall in and be unable to climb out. Frogs and toads will be trapped in the pond, and may drown once past the tadpole stage.

Many people want to keep fish in their pond. Unfortunately, they may dig up bottom-rooted vegetation and most will eat tadpoles and other pond animals. If you regularly feed large numbers of fish, the nutrients added to the water will encourage green algae and blanket weed that can smother the whole pond in a very short time. Most ponds with large fish have to have pumps, filters and aerators. The answer may be to have one pond for fish, and another, without fish, for wildlife.

Gardeners usually want to add exotic plants to their ponds, as to their flowerbeds. These will not stop plenty of interesting native animals colonising their ponds, but plants long-adapted to conditions here normally support a greater variety of invertebrates. Wildlife ponds should contain mainly native plants, many of them very beautiful.

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