In my opinion, water fits any outdoor space – although I would say that as I love to promote the benefits of water in the garden. Water can add a level of tranquillity, giving a soothing sound and a stillness, or it can be used more dynamically to generate excitement.
Although generally considered to require lots of upkeep, I would suggest that a well-designed pond is actually much easier to maintain than flower beds or a lawn of a comparable size. Ponds are thus ideal for modern, busy lifestyles, especially as they are tranquil areas that enable the stresses of the day to ebb away.
Here are the steps to creating a successful new pond.
Step 1: Haste makes waste.
The worst enemy of the water gardener is haste. Rushing in with a spade and digging a hole is what we all want to do, but believe me it is very easy to come unstuck if the fundamental design is not carried out correctly.
Step 2: Take time to get inspired.
There are loads of places to find inspiration for your water feature – the Internet, magazines and TV gardening programs or specialist pond programs such as ‘Pond Stars’. Live gardening shows are another way to gather ideas and see how the design will look in-situ. Water is always featured at RHS Chelsea and our feature definitely created a great deal of interest when it was awarded a silver medal in 2014.
This step may take you the longest as there are lots of options and design elements to consider. For example:
- Smaller spaces lend themselves to small, enclosed water features. What about a pondless feature, such as water wall or pebble fountain that brings water movement with minimal space?
- Hard structures such as bridges give added interest to larger pools. You can have a flat design that simply links the two sides of the pool, or give the pool a more traditional feel with an arched bridge.
- Perhaps bring elements of the wild into your garden. Like to go on walking holidays for example? Reminders can be incorporated with a clever design of rocks, plants and water.
Step 3: Location, location, location.
The best place to site a pond is facing direct sunlight. Water plants love lots of sun, about six to eight hours per day. In more shaded spots, look towards ferns and hostas instead.
Step 4: Get a professional pond design consultation.
Even if you have a strong idea of the style of garden pond that you want to have built, I always advise having a pond design consultation before you go too far, and certainly before you start digging or buying equipment. When we come, show us your working file of images, drawings, and water feature ideas. This will help us suggest how best to create the look you prefer.
Your Any Pond consultant will discuss with you issues such as:
- Planting for an irregularly-shaped water feature so that the hard stone edges are softened by the plants surrounding the pond.
- Will you need mechanical diggers or will hand tools be enough?
- Considering that the loosened soil you remove from the hole will increase in volume by about a third, how are you going to distribute or dispose of it?
- Has the ground around the pond settled properly? Especially on new build properties, the soil may take a year or more to compact and settle.
- Which material will your pool be? Despite its life span, water gardeners are switching away from concrete because of the cost and complexity of installation. Pre-formed fibreglass is another option although there is a limited choice of shapes and sizes and it can be a relatively expensive way to create even quite a small water feature.
- Choosing the correct liner – Many people cut corners on their pool liner. We always use a 1mm EPDM rubber liner which has a much longer life and is more robust, if a little more expensive. EPDM also gives you much more flexibility in shape and is quicker to install.
- How to increase the longevity of the liner? Construction technique which takes into consideration elements such as the ground substrate, tree roots, and underground water is one way. Another is design elements such as rocks and pebbles which protect the liner from UV light.
My motto is: Build it once and build it right!
Any Pond is at your service to do just that.