When I am designing a garden I always ask my clients about water, well at least whether they want any in their garden.
I have to admit that I am a big fan of water in the garden and, come the glorious revolution, I think I will make it mandatory that every garden has some form of water feature.
It doesn't have to be a pond or even an old porcelain sink to keep a few bog plants in, a water feature will do (although some of the ready made ones you buy in DIY stores can be a bit naff to say the least!). What is important for me is the wildlife it encourages, the year long interest it creates and, often overlooked, the sound the water makes.
Okay, to be honest, I have to admit that a pond does it better than anything. A water feature, which typically incorporates a pump in a bucket covered with stones making a little fountain, does cover the sound bit, but not a lot else.
The trouble with ponds is that little ones can drown in them and in today's world where there is no longer such a thing as personal responsibility, you would be daft to build a pond where anyone else's little ones could drown in it. As a result, ponds in front gardens are a definite no and even in the back, you would be well advised to ensure it is not easily accessible.
So why build a pond? Well they look good (if they are well done) and can add so much to a garden through the different types of plants that you can have and the wildlife they encourage and that's not to mention the new pet opportunities available through fish. Have a look at my website www.newleafgardens.com for a couple of examples.
Most people I speak to say they like the idea of a pond but so few people actually have them. Apart from the dangers to children, which I have to admit is a serious consideration, most objections tend to be around the fact that they are high maintenance.
I suppose it depends on what you consider as “high” maintenance but I find my own pond takes very little looking after. I don't for instance have a pond with a pump and filter as this has to be cleaned out, but I do have a clear pond because I have enough oxygenating plants in it to help keep the water clear. I do occasionally have to split the plants up but we're only talking once a year and I might have to clear out the bottom but I don't expect to do this more than every 3 years. So high maintenance? I don't think so.
I do have fish which need feeding in the spring and summer but this is a relaxing rather than stressful chore and I do have to make sure it doesn't ice over because of them.
Still, if you didn't want to stock the pond yourself, it certainly wouldn't be short of wildlife (tadpoles, frogs, newts, water boatmen, umpteen other types of creepy crawlies…) that don't need any looking after. I even fished a young stickleback out of the pond the other day so I guess it would eventually be stocked with fish. (I can only guess that the fish came from an egg that was transferred in on some plants, because I didn't put it there!).
Is it expensive? That depends on lots of variables but I wouldn't say it costs more than say, a patio that you might also have built in the garden.
I would say that unless you have a lot of interest in building and time to do it, you should get someone in to build it (well I would say that). They can be hard work to create and you want to make sure it's done right from the outset.
So, thinking of having a new garden design or adding to your garden – think about a pond!