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Attracting Wildlife: How to Install a Backyard Pond

Tips on how to build a small pond in your yard

Posted in Landscape Design over 13 years ago, 0 replies

Backyard ponds not only improve the value of your home, but also enrich the value of your life. They are simple to install and can bring years of enjoyment to your family. If you have children, it is a great way to introduce them to the natural world. Ponds bring all sorts of wildlife right up to your back door. They are a great place for birds, reptiles and amphibians to gather.
Installing a pond can be done in a few simple steps, and it only takes a weekend to put it all together. Here's how to do it:
1) Draw up a diagram of where you want your pond and how big it will be. Experiment with different shapes and sizes so that it will blend in as naturally as possible with your existing landscape.
2) Outline your digging area with spray paint or rope.
3) Dig! Dig! Dig! An average pond is anywhere from 18" to 48". There can be several levels of shelves to accommodate various types of plants. Also, colder climates need deeper ponds so that wildlife will be able to survive the cold winter temperatures under the ice that will form.
4) Make sure that the edges of the pond are level so that water will not leak over the edge of the lower side when the pond is filled up.
5) Pick out large rocks from the bottom of your hole so that it will not tear the liner. Then pour sand into the bottom of the hole. This will provide a smooth surface for the liner.
6) Place the liner in the hole and hold down the edges with rocks. Alternately, some people pour cement for their pond. This is more stable and permanent, but comes with a higher price.
7) Install the pump and filter. This step is optional. Some people like to have moving water in their pond to make it a little more elaborate, but it is in no way a necessity. As far as keeping it clean, the water should balance itself out after a few days. Also adding scavengers such as snails will keep algae from accumulating.
8) The last step in the process is adding plants and fish as desired. Large plants such as waterlilies will help keep some of the sunlight out which will slow down the process of algae growth. However, don't block out the light all together because the fish need the nutrients it will provide. Consult with your local petstore for tips on providing the ideal environment for them. You may also want to add a few logs in and around the pond so that amphibians and reptiles will have a place to bask in the sun. An important part of this step is to remember to wait a few days after installing the pond to add animals since the water needs a little time to stabilize itself.
In addition to all of this, you may want to build a walkway to and surrounding the pond, or you could just leave it as is. Make it your own. Any decorative features you want to add are completely at your discretion. Now you're ready to sit back and enjoy.
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