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How to create a wildlife pond

Creating a fishpond can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming but creating a wildlife pond is far easier and cheaper with arguably greater rewards.

The requirements are minimal; a liner and some sand. Two types of liner are available, pre-formed and flexible but the flexible liner is probably the most sensible option as it allows more freedom in designing the shape of the pond and its features. Butyl is the most flexible lining material available.

Once a suitable lining has been bought, digging can commence. The pond should be roughly 18in at its deepest point and should offer a shelf for wildlife and plants that prefer growing in the pond margins; this should be 9-12in deep and approximately 12in wide and should cover an adequate part of the pond’s circumference.

Fill the pond with a 1-inch layer of sand before weighting down the liner with heavy stones. Introduce water through a hosepipe – this will naturally ease the liner into the shape of the pond. Trim away any excess lining overhanging the edges; making sure an apron of 6in is left. For finishing touches, allow grass and plants to overgrow the edges and add natural stones to the margins to provide access and escape for wildlife as well as a place for tadpoles and other creatures to shelter. Choose an appropriate selection of plants for your pond and consider bringing a bucket of water from a local pond or lake to give your own pond a ‘jump-start’.

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