Ready Made Garden Ponds
With a ready-made pond, you immediately add another dimension to the garden landscape. It mirrors the sky and foliage above and attracts wildlife. You can plant in and around the pond, making the most of moisture lovers.
Use one of the preformed polyethylene or fibreglass pools available from garden centres and water garden specialists to install an instant pond.
Ponds come in all shapes and sizes to suit the available area and budget.
Size and depth
If you intend to keep fish in the pool, the minimum depth should be 80cm. This depth is also suitable for submerged oxygenating plants which keep the water sweet, and many water.
A pre-formed liner is an excellent way of creating a raised pond on a patio. The sides can be supported and disguised by brick or stonework.
Plants and fish
Most of the ready-made ponds incorporate a shelf 15-30cm deep and about 25-30cm wide. This is for plants which prefer shallow water.
The shelf also provides a breeding ground for fish. Some ponds have shelves of different depths.
The most popular way to edge a pond is withslabs. In the case of an informal pool, broken paving slabs look better, and make it easier to follow the line of the curved edge. The slabs should overhang the pool by about 5cm to soften the edge.
Avoid using any tiny pieces of paving which may become dislodged. For extra stability, embed the slabs using a mortar mix of three parts sharp sand to one part cement.
Well-shaped rocks or pebbles placed on the shelf or pool bottom make the pond look more natural. A wildlife pond blends better with the surroundings if the edge is covered with turf.Fill the pond with water at this stage, removing any debris that falls into it. Tap water is preferable to rainwater from a butt, as this can contain organisms and impurities which are harmful to fish and plants.
A newly filled pond usually turns green and cloudy for a few days after water is added, but will clear of its own accord.
A ready-made pond of a reasonable size maintains itself for several years once there is a balance of plants and livestock, but eventually it will have to be cleaned out. Net the fish and place temporarily in a large container of water taken from the pond.
Remove the plants and split them if the clumps have become too large. This is easier to do if you grow them in plastic planting crates.
Empty the water out and remove the debris which has collected at the bottom. Do not clean off the deposit on the sides as this helps to give the pond a natural look. Refill the pool immediately and allow about a week before replacing the plants and fish to let the water stabilize.
Although it is possible to plant the pond immediately after installation, it is better to wait a week before stocking. This gives the chlorine in the water a chance to evaporate, and the water temperature time to adjust. Add any fish after the plants have established for a few weeks.
Installing the Pond
1. Dig a rectangular hole about 10cm deeper than the pre-formed pool and wide enough to allow for backfilling (returning mix) once it is in position. If the soil is light and easy running, save it for backfilling. Make sure that the base of the hole is reasonably level.
2. Cover the base with a 5cm layer of sand and check that this is even with a spirit level.
3. Place the pool in position. If it has a small base and is unstable, support the shallow parts with bricks. Check levels across the edges of the pond using a spirit level supported on a straight piece of wood.
4. Backfill firmly around the pool with fine garden soil if available, otherwise with sand or pea gravel. Add water to a semi-rigid pool as you backfill to prevent it becoming distorted.
5. Check from time to time that the pond remains level as back filling continues.
6. Spread surplus top-soil thinly onor use it as the basis of a rock-garden.
Install a ready-made pond at any time of the year providing that the weather is suitable, but introduce plants and fish only between late April and early September when the water has warmed up enough. If the soil you dig out is not fine enough for backfilling, spread it elsewhere in the garden, incorporating organic matter to improve it if necessary.