A New Wildlife Pond (Finished...at last)

  • In reply to Paul A:

    You really are doing an amazing job Paul, with the Pond & Posting. I have probably only done half a job or less in the past. Mine is a B&B & yours is the Ritz Five Star!! It's a pity you couldn't have a multi-coloured liner to match your lovely flowers!! I can't wait for the next update.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Hello Paul,

    I'm quite shocked. I'm afraid if I had attempted to make a pond, I would have made so many mistakes that all would have ended in a disaster. Just take your time with posting the updates. I think we'll all be waiting patiently, and it will be a good thing to wait for on gloomy september-evenings ;-). I'm sure your days are full with work right now, so we appreciate the trouble with posting even more.

    I'll be very interested to see what the pond will look like in a year's time, and what visitors you'll attract.

    Kind regards, Bente

  • In reply to Bente S:

    Thanks folks for your very kind comments, I'm sure that your own pond is much better than any B&B Hazel but I do appreciate your kind compliment. You are correct in saying that my days are filled with work at the moment Bente, although I do enjoy getting stuck into a project like this so it doesn't actually feel like I'm working as such. The weather has been very kind up here for the past month or so which means that plenty has been getting done as you'll all see in the next update. Once again thanks to all of you for your lovely comments and encouragement.


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hi folks. It’s a bit unusual for me to do an update in the middle of the week but due to a heavy shower of rain a short time ago, the midges are unbearable at the moment so here I am, updating this thread again. The pond is still much further on than even this update shows but at least I can show you what’s been done up to around the last few days in June. We left the last update with the Starlings being unsure of the new bird bath. I’m now happy to report that they’ve gotten over it and are now actually very much enjoying the new bath, which is slightly deeper than the old one.

    We also left the last update with the water starting to fill the pond; this next photo shows the pond which is now filled to almost the maximum level. You’ll notice that there’s a lot of spare liner overlapping but this was unavoidable as I wanted a small part of the pond to go down to around three feet deep which was always going to leave me with extra liner at the shallower areas. (The maximum depth is actually 32 inches due to around 3-4 inches being used up with the sand, liner and carpet in the bottom of the hole).

    I also mentioned in an earlier post that I had a plan for drainage and overflow issues. The next few photos show how I went about digging a 'dry well'. If you don't already know, a dry well is basically an underground space that won't fill up with silt or sediments but allows water to fill the space so as the excess water can then drain away at a slower pace into the surrounding soil. You’ll see from this first photo that I’ve dug a channel that’s sloping down into the ground at the end of the pond. This is the part that I told you about in the last update which is the lowest area on the rim of the pond and will therefore determine the maximum depth of the water as it will always overflow at this area first.

    I then set about digging a hole which is going to be roughly four foot long, one and a half foot wide and approximately two foot deep.

    Quite a few old roots to get through at this area.

    The hole is finally at the depth I wanted. (Did you know that it's impossible to dig half a hole?).

    The next step was to use a piece of (hessian?)…a material that can be bought at garden centres and which allows water to pass through but prevents silt and the likes from getting through it. It also is really tough and doesn’t rot when it's in the ground.

    As you can see from this next photo, the pond liner has been cut so the overflow water is guided to the dry well at an angle of around 30 degrees sloping downward. You may also have noticed that the warm weather has somewhat caused a great deal of evaporation to my Lager Shandy.!!

    The dry well is then lined with the hessian sheet.

    A layer of old bricks were then put in; the lower layer of bricks are spaced as far apart as possible so as to give me the maximum amount of ‘free space’ below the ground when the hole is filled up again. I estimate that the well will hold around three or four gallons of water at the most, but bear in mind that the amount of overflow should really just be the same amount of water that the pond's surface area would have drawn in if it had still been a lawn. I hope this makes sense to you.!! (The warm weather has once again robbed me of some of my Shandy via the evaporation effect).!!

    A layer of large pebbles are then laid on top of another bit of hessian and placed onto the slope of the overflow. The big pebbles will still have plenty of space between them for water to run through, even when they are compressed under the soil.

    The next step is to wrap it all up nice and snug. I freely admit that by this time I may have had just the very smallest sip out of my glass.!!

    There have been one or two birds going about as all this was going on, like this male Chaffinch under the feeders.

    A Wood Pigeon who came a wee bit closer than they usually do...

    One of his distant relatives was also out and about, this rather pretty Collared Dove.

    Back on the construction site, the dry well is back filled with soil and packed down nice and firm.

    The turfs are then replaced and jumped up and down on to ensure that everything is solid. OK, maybe not jumped up and down on as this can cause fatigue and dizziness which in turn could end up with me in the pond.!! They were trodden on 'very firmly' and will easily 'knit together' as time passes.

    This next view shows the overflow as it is seen from the top end of the pond. You can see that it's a wee bit lower than the rest of the edge which means that the water runs out here first. The liner is still a bit loose in the overflow but this will be compressed down with another layer of hessian wrapped pebbles when we get to the 'landscaping' part of the build.

    A few Jackdaws were going about their business on the roof of the house.

    One of which decided to come down for a closer look.

    And a more detailed inspection from the comfort of the washing line.

    It's maybe not too easy to see from this photo, but this is the pond now full to capacity with some water in the overflow. As expected, the water takes some time to trickle down into the dry well but I wanted to try it out to see how it would work before I continued on with the build.

    We're almost at the end of this update now but before I go we had a visit from this young Blue Tit. There's lots of natural areas and feeding around where I live so once they are fledged, you don't usually see too much of them until later in the year.

    And a rather colourful shot of our lovely male Blackbird.

    Just enough time for a few more photos as the next stage of the build got under way. This shot shows some of the spare insulation which I've lined the shelf of the pond with to help protect the liner as I start to put the stones around the shelf. The pebbles are only there to keep it in place as I work my way around the pond.

    The first of the stones are put in place under the water, no mortar, just gravity to keep everything steady.

    I'll finish this update with a panoramic shot over the fields behind the garden.

    It's only taken just over two hours tonight which reminds me why I don't do long posts on a weekday. I'm also not sure how the photos have loaded as most of them don't look as clear as they normally do. The only way I'll know is to hit the 'post' button.!! I hope you've found this to be interesting, until the next time.


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Yup, I knew they hadn't uploaded correctly, if you want to see them clearly I'm afraid you'll have to open each photo up individually.


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hi Paul, I can see each and every photo very clearly without having to click on any of them so well done on your mammoth effort!  You must have spent an awful lot of hours on your pond by now.  It all gets a bit technical for me, but I have so much enjoyed watching your progress and reading all about it.

    If that is a 'few' jackdaws, I think it would look like Daphne duMauriers "The Birds"! if you got a lot.

    My husband would understand better than me about the lager/shandy evaporating, although in our house it appears to be the malt whisky that evaporates!  Everytime he goes for a "nightcap", he swears blind it has evaporated in the bottle!  And that is with the lid on!

    Looking forward to the next instalment!  

    See my Flickr photos here



  • In reply to ChristineB:

    Thanks Christine, hopefully the next update won't be as technical as we're beginning to get to the good bits where it all begins to look quite nice, and you're correct in saying that I've spent a lot of hours working on the pond.

    In my house the Malt Whisky used to do a bit of evaporating until around seven months ago when a few old friends visited and a huge amount of the stuff evaporated in a really short period of time. Since that particular occasion there has been no further evaporation occurring and I can assure you that there is no inclination on my part to see any more evaporating at any time in the foreseeable future (shudders).!!

    On the subject of a few Jackdaws, this was the scene at feeding time in the morning around a week ago. Not the best photo but I think that the ones on the roof were maybe just an advanced scouting party.!!


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Good grief - talk about the eagles have landed - well the corvids at any rate!  Bet there's no need for you to ever aerate the lawn!

    All I can say about the 'evaporation' is that it must truly have been a very good evening.  And with the added benefit that you are now saving a small fortune on malt whisky bills!!  

    See my Flickr photos here



  • In reply to ChristineB:

    Morning Christine. The Corvids do a good job of aerating and also fertilising the lawn, with the added benefit of providing a very entertaining ‘five minutes of madness’ first thing every morning. They only appear in these kinds of numbers in the morning and are much less prolific throughout the rest of the day. On the subject of saving a small fortune on Malt Whisky, there appears to be a primitive barter system in place where over the years I have given out and also received many bottles, for favours asked and favours given. A friend once told me that he had put a small ‘nick’ on the label of a bottle of Whisky he had given to someone and he now claims that several years later he was given the exact same bottle back, from a completely different person.!! Whether or not this is true I don’t know, but I don’t think that it’s beyond possibilities, especially in a smaller localised community such as the area in which I live. The evening that most of the stuff ‘evaporated’ was indeed a very good one although the following day I think is best to be forgotten about.!!


    My bird photos HERE

  • In reply to Paul A:

    Hello Paul,

    were you driven away by the midges? What a pity! My own experience with them was (luckily for me) only a brief one (until now), but it gave me an idea what a nuisance they can be.

    Like Christine said: This is getting rather technical. I understand what you are trying to do, but I have no idea if it is going to work, although I'm sure that you've thought of it from all sides. For me it as a number too big. But it looks really good...

    Are you sure that your Lager Shandy has evaporated? Couldn't it be that Harry, Tee Tee or Ceilidh have sneaked up behind you and taken a sip now and then????? Just joking...

    The name of this material "hessian" irritated me somehow, as I live in a part from Germany that is named "Hesse". So I'm hessian myself, and consequently looked it up. I knew all along that Hesse had been an independent German state long ago, and accordingly had its own regiments and soldiers. Your Hessian-material is similar to the cloth of their uniforms, and so it was named like this.

    I had to smile when you wrote about this bottle of whisky that is probably passed around as a present. Have you ever read short stories by Ephraim Kishon, an author from Isreal? They are mostly satires. One of them is about a box of chocolates. Mr Kishon and his wife received it as a gift. They opened it and found green fluffy pieces in it. So they knew the chocolates to be quite old and investigated the matter. They asked around and traced it back. Finally they found out that it was the very same box of chocolates that they had given themselves to an old aunt of theirs years ago.

    I have to stop now. I'll be on nightshift again, so I have to see that I prepare something to eat and then take a little nap.

    Have a nice day!