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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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4 - Pond basics
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How much light will your pond need?
A pond is home to a complex balance of plants and animals and needs the right conditions to keep it healthy, so when choosing a site consider the occupants and think location, location, location…

Sunlight keeps oxygenating plants working. These plants are essential as they produce oxygen, which stops the water turning stagnant and smelly, and creates a healthy environment for everything that lives in the pond, from fish to plants.

Shade is fine for a water feature that does not support wildlife, but it’s not a good choice for a pond with plants and fish.

Don’t put a pond close to trees and shrubs. The leaves fall in and rot, filling the pond with sludge that will foul the water. Tree roots can also be a problem as they can work their way through the pond liner, causing leaks.

A sunny spot is essential to keep a pond healthy.

Most water plants need full sun to flower well. If there isn’t enough light, water lilies will only grow leaves.
  • Formal ponds are usually round or square, and the same depth throughout. They are ideal for a traditional lily pond.
  • Natural ponds have gently curving, irregular shapes. They can also have sloping pebble ‘beaches’ which are perfect for wildlife as they allow access in and out of the water.
How big should my pond be?
To look right, a pond needs to be in proportion to its surrounding area. A tiny pond would look lost in a huge garden, while a large pond would dominate a small garden.

You also need to think about what depth to make your pond. As a general rule of thumb, a pond should be 60cm (2ft) deep if you want plants and fish in it. Water that’s too shallow is vulnerable to evaporating in warm weather and freezing in winter. If you want to grow marginal plants along the edge of the water, you need to create shelves for them to stand on.
How much pond liner should I use?
How much pond liner do I need?
Measure the length, width and maximum depth of your pond.

Twice depth plus width; twice depth plus length = the minimum size to buy.

In practice pond liner comes off a standard size roll, so you’ll usually end up having to buy a bigger piece than you need. But don’t despair as the offcuts come in handy for things like lining a waterfall or small secondary pond.
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4. Water garden

Introduction
Pond basics
Water features
Water garden plants
Water garden planting
Bog garden plants

Highlights
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