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Spring’s a fantastic time to create your own watery ecosystem as it’s the chance to see a whole bevvy of insects, amphibious creatures and even birds up close! Mini ponds are also perfect for those of you with young families as, unlike traditional ones, they’re much smaller, easier to maintain and children can see everything without accidentally falling in. Who knows what, or who will visit your DIY water feature? Ponds attract dragonflies, water boatmen, daddy long legs, frogs, flies and even little birds hoping to cool off under the spray!
This is an amazing DIY garden project to do as a whole family one sunny weekend, or even over spring break. To create your mini pond, you’ll need a relatively large waterproof container, like a large washing up bowl or plastic storage box, some rocks and gravel, a small selection of pond plants and possibly some pond liner as well as a little filter. It’s best to use an item that’s leak proof so think outside the box! Why not use an old sink? Fish tank? Or even a large round glass vase?
Make sure the spot you’ve chosen for your mini pond has lots of sunlight, but isn’t in direct line of the sun the entire day, i.e. at around three pm there’s some shade. Fill the bowl, or container in its new home as you won’t be able to move it when full. Sunken mini ponds are best because visitors have better access, i.e. they’re on the same level, but you can use logs, rocks, stones and even woven grass as stepping stones to ensure everyone can enter and leave.
Fill Her Up!
Seal up any holes, line it if you need to and pop a layer of gravel on the bottom not soil as it’ll encourage algae to grow! Where possible fill your mini pond with rainwater, simply leave a few buckets, or a couple of large barrels outside for a few nights and, with any luck, they’ll soon be full. Rainwater is best as a) it’s totally natural and sustainable b) you’re not wasting tap water which is drinkable but is also full of purification chemicals.
You may also want to consider installing a small filter. Thanks to the nature of pond design, you’ll find that there’s a huge range of pond filters available from small tank systems to large industrial kits that keep human-made lakes and ornamental ponds free of bacteria. Now’s the time to get busy planting! Remember, these are going in the water so aquatic pots are a must and then arrange artfully around the sides and edge.
Use only aquatic plants that are native to your region and if you’re in any doubt about which to plant visit a local garden center or talk to a pond expert. Let ferns and leaves cascade down the sides as they’ll be perfect bridges for small insects. Be careful not to overfill your pond with plants, or water lilies as it’s only a small space and you need to leave room for frogs, birds and hedgehogs to enjoy a quick dip or drink!
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