The Shepherds' Pond Project - Part 2

The Shepherds' Pond Project - Part 2

Shepherd Family Pond

The Shepherd family's mission to build their wildlife pond continues, in the second of a series of blogs.

As mentioned in our Go Wild with the family this summer holiday blog, here is the second part of our blog series in which the Shepherd family build a wildlife pond in their back garden!

After digging the pond area out, the next step was to add the fleece underlay and plastic liner to make the pond waterproof. The fleece acts as a protective layer to stop anything sharp like stones or sticks piercing the liner.

Shepherd Family pond fleece underlay

The fleece underlay for the pond being laid down.

This part of the project was definitely the trickiest bit – trying to manipulate the liner around the edges and ledges was quite challenging! A couple of the areas needed to be reshaped as they became lost once the liner was covering them, but patience and perseverance paid off and we ended up with a better structure in the end. We found that folding (pleating) the liner around the curves helped to keep it neat and create a more defined shape.

Weighed down the lining with stones

Weighed down the lining with stones

Filling the pond with water

Filling up the pond

Once the liner was in place we weighed the edges down with stones and then partially filled the pond with water. Rainwater is recommended due to the higher level of nitrates and chlorine in tap water. The nitrates cause excessive nutrients resulting in algae, and the chlorine kills off bacteria - great for drinking water but disastrous for a ponds ecosystem.

Filling a pond takes a lot of rainwater though, so if you need a bit extra, letting tap water stand for a day or so allows the chlorine to disperse and helps to keep the bacteria in the rainwater.

Depending on your perspective, the next two weeks of unseasonal summer rain either helped a lot to fill the pond, or made the next stage quite difficult… Whilst you need some water to weigh down the liner before cutting it to size, a full pond in a confined space is definitely harder to work around! We trimmed the liner and fleece, leaving about 15cm spare.

Digging a trench to help shape the pond

Digging a trench to help shape the pond

To hide the edges of the liner we dug a narrow trench following the perimeter of the pond, about 7cm away from the edge and then tucked the excess liner into the gap. We then filled the soil back in to secure and cover the liner. The beach spades came out again for this part – the small, flat surface was ideal for the narrow gap we were trying to create.

Shepherd Family pond under construction

Shaping the pond with trenches, under expert supervision!

This stage took a bit of time as once the liner was tucked away and we could see the pond taking shape, we realised one side was higher than the others. So we remodelled that section, taking some of the earth away so the liner would be lower.

The pond so far

The pond so far

Trial and error sums up the main approach for stage two, but with that done we could move on to the exciting bit… making it look like a wildlife pond!

Get involved

Building a pond is a great way to welcome wildlife into your garden, so why don't you pledge to build one as part of The Great Big Green Week 18th - 26th September 2021?

Make a pledge


Great Big Green Week 18-26th September 2021 We're in, are you?