A garden pond can be a wonderful addition to any garden, big or small. The water will attract insects which in turn will attract birds and other wildlife. In addition you can have fish in your pond along with other aquatic animals such frogs. Many people find that the sound of water adds a calming element to a garden and your pond can be designed with a water feature such as a rock pool or a fountain.
Building a pond is quite an easy DIY job, but does require some preparation and diligence. However it is possible to have a decent pond built by the end of a long weekend.
Before you start building your pond you need to decide on the type you wish to use. You have two main choices. You can opt for your own shape and design which will mean using a pond liner or you can use a prefabricated pond liner made out of plastic or fibreglass. The latter is sometimes easier for the novice as you will not have to worry about rips or tears in the fabric, but digging the hole to suit can be awkward.
Once you have decided where your pond will be you should mark out the shape on the ground. Remove the turf and start digging. You may decide to have a shallow end and a deep end. The deep end will be suitable for fish while the shallow end will be perfect for wildlife to drink from the pond. Your pond will need to be at least 3 metres squared if you want to have fish or it may not have enough oxygen to support life.
Once you have reached the required depth you need to place a layer of building sand in the bottom. This will prevent sharp stones from ripping the liner. You can also use an underlay such as old carpet to make it even softer. Position the liner over the hole allowing it to drape around the edges. Once you have filled the pond with water you can trim the excess liner leaving some over the edge. Use an edging material such as paving stones or rocks to keep the liner in place, and protect the exposed area from sunlight which can degrade it over time.
If you are having a waterfall or you want to provide a water filter for your fish, you will need to put in an electricity supply. Garden centres sell these and they are simple to use. The cable will need to be buried and the electrical supply will need to be protected by an RCD. The cable needs to be designed for outdoor use. Contact an electrician if you are at all unsure.
Once your pond is ready you can introduce some plants such as water lilies. These will help to oxygenate the water. Other plants can also be planted around the edges to soften the look.
Remember that ponds, even shallow ones can be dangerous for small children, especially if they hold the added interest of fish. It is possible to get covers for ponds which allow the fish to be seen but which keep kids safe. Otherwise you need to consider the location of the pond, so that an accident cannot happen.