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Pond-ering over a water feature?

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pond-feature.jpgWinter’s a time to get stuck into all those clean-up jobs before spring kicks into gear. With that in mind, here’s a garden project you will really... dig!

Creating a garden pond may seem like a ‘hole’ lot of work, but with careful planning, a pond can be a refreshing, soothing feature, acting as a focal point in your garden.

Water features have been welcome additions to gardens for centuries, from the hanging gardens of Babylon, to Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain, and the spectacular Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg. While readers may not be ready to tackle a project quite so as ambitious as these, smaller water features such as ponds can turn even the smallest suburban garden into a little oasis of relaxation.

When choosing the best location for your pond, whether you prefer a planned or natural look, use a template cut from such materials as cardboard or tarpaulin to gauge how the pond will look in your garden, how big it should be and where it should be positioned.  

Look to site your pond in a location where it will be viewed most often, so it can be the first thing you see looking out of your bedroom window, or easily seen from your living room or kitchen.

The warmer the water is in your pond, the wider the variety of plants that will grow. While a pond can never receive too much sunlight, a location where it will receive at least 5 hours per day of sun on the water is ideal.

Golden leaves falling on a ‘golden pond’ may look stunning, but they don’t do much for the health of the ecosystem. Try and avoid locating your pond too close to deciduous trees because falling leaves will rot and pollute the water.

And, if you don’t want young plants to be ‘gone with the wind’, ensure the area is well sheltered.
Remember, water supplies, fountains and pumps all require electricity; ensure your pond in near enough to an electricity supply if you are intending to install any of these.

As with anything in life, size does matter! Make your pond too big and it can overwhelm the ambiance of your garden; too deep and a lesser variety of plants will grow; too shallow or too small and the pond may suffer with algae problems due to overheating, as well as reducing your selection of viable plants.

Work to the size of your garden, but five square metres with a depth of approximately 80cm is recommended for most gardens.

The choice of shape is purely subjective. However, for a natural looking pond, avoid using straight lines and use stones, gravel, pebbles, logs and suitable plants to highlight its authenticity as a naturally occurring feature.

Although polythene pond liners can be cheap, PVC liners are more cost effective. PVC is more flexible than polythene, does not deteriorate as quickly due to U.V light, is less likely to puncture and is easy to repair.

As a rule of thumb your liner should be the size of the maximum width of your pond, plus twice the maximum depth, by the maximum length plus twice the maximum depth. Also add an additional 40cm to both measurements to allow for an overlap or margin of error.

After digging your pond cover the bottom with a layer of sand from 3 to 5cms in depth. To install the pond liner, cover the hole with the liner, holding it in place with stones. Next fill the pond slowly until the water is just a few centimetres from the top and cut away any excess liner.

Finally sit back beside your pond and enjoy the product of your labours with tea on the lawn, or, if you would prefer something with a little more of kick, perhaps a Muddy Waters cocktail will do the trick!