Create your garden patch from scratch
Sooner or later, any wildlife-friendly garden needs a pond, so start digging!
Every wildlife garden needs one – how to dig a pond!
FEEDERS AND NESTBOXES are all very well, but nothing will give a wildlifefriendly garden quite such a boost as a pond – as well as giving birds somewhere to drink and bathe, it provides a home for all manner of insects (which themselves provide food for birds), plus amphibians. So, as spring arrived, I grabbed the spade and set about creating our own mini-wetland.
We don’t have a huge amount of room, so I set about digging out a tadpole-shaped plot roughly 2m x 0.75m. The roots of my old enemy, the invasive bamboo from next door, made it slow going at first, but once that was cleared it wasn’t too difficult – a couple of days of torrential rain had softened the ground nicely. You can see a step by step guide to the first half of the process opposite, but if I had to emphasise two points, it would be to remember to line the hole with carpet first, and to buy a good quality waterproof liner with plenty of spare material around the edges. At the moment, the pond still looks pretty much like a muddy hole, but it’s a good idea to leave things alone for at least a few days at this point, to allow the liner to bed in. Once it has, I’ll crack on with landscaping and planting the edges, as well as introducing plants to the pond itself. I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what wildlife turns up – we already have at least one Smooth Newt around the garden, so maybe it will bring its friends along. A fence panel blew down a couple of weeks back, and while our neighbour kindly replaced it, he also gave our Field Maple a much-needed trim. While some of the brush created will have to go, I’ll be keeping some to create a brush pile and a log pile in one of the top corners of the garden. Our only new visitor this month was a Rook ( pictured) on the chimney stack, but the feeders are continuing to prove popular, with two Nuthatches now regular visitors, and Starlings starting to drop in from their gathering point, a large Beech tree just across the road.
Brush piles form a fine complex of spaces for reptiles, as well as nesting birds, such as Wrens