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Michaela Strachan takes us to her small walled garden in the heart of Bristol, and describes one added feature, which she's particularly proud of...

Yes at last we've got around to building a pond. It's been on the 'to do' list for some time now! To be honest it was my husband who finally got around to getting out the spade and drawing some plans, with the help of Ian our fabulous gardener.

Anyway, I think the photos prove that even a small courtyard garden can have a wildlife pond. As I've said before, size is not important when we're talking ponds! Our country needs more garden ponds, our wildlife relies on it so any size is valuable.

It all started with a lot of back-breaking digging. We had already drawn a plan and marked out the exact shape. The design included various habitats, depths, a few slopes and edges, all-important for wildlife. We then built a wooden frame around the top of the pond so that the edges would be level. We removed all the roots, sharp rocks and stones so they didn't puncture the liner. We packed the bottom with sand and covered it with some old underlay. The liner was then put down and the pond was filled. During the filling process we stretched the liner and folded the creases. It's best to do this during the filling before the pressure becomes too great. We then folded the liner around the wooden frame, put a few bricks in and plants, and hey presto, a lovely garden pond!!

All this was also done for a bargain price. We hired a skip for 100 to get rid of most of the debris. We bought the liner, a pump and oxygenating native plants all for 200. (It's really important not to buy foreign invasive oxygenators). Obviously you can spend as little or as much as you like on the plants, so far we've spent about 80. So it also goes to show that it's not expensive to build a pond. It does need a bit of effort but it's definitely worth it.

If you want to keep your pond wildlife friendly it's really important to keep all the plants native and not to introduce foreign fish. The plants we've put in are: spiked water milfoil, fringed water lily, water crowfoot, water buttercup and hornwort. No doubt we will put a few more plants in at a later date. The great thing about ponds is you can evolve them. We still have to finish the edges and add the pump and water feature, which will introduce movement into the pond. The water feature is still in the design stage!!

Another good tip is to add some mud and insects from another established, native and disease free pond. A friend brought round a jar of beasties from his pond and added them to ours so it can evolve much quicker.

Already a huge range of insects can be seen in and around the pond, and we've already seen lots of birds and our squirrel enjoying the benefits. I would definitely recommend it as an attractive and invaluable addition to all wildlife gardens.

So stay gardening wild and watery! Michaela xxxx

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Other Michalela Strahcan Articles
   Feed the Birds        Heaps of Fun
   Hibernating Animals        Invasive Plants
   It's Nesting Time        Saving Our Peat Bogs
   Watery Success Story        Wildflower Meadows
   Wildlife Ponds