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Creat a Natural Pond IN Your Garden

Creat a Natural Pond In Your Garden



Dig ponds!

This small booklet will provide you with a maximum of useful tips to create a natural pond in your garden. Read it carefully and do not hesitate to contact us for further information.


A mare is a small stretch of dormant water reaching more than 1.5 meters deep. Who says natural pond means that the intervention on the life of the aquatic environment will be limited to the strict minimum, in order to allow the type – savages to develop freely.

By preferring the introduction of exotic species natural recolonization by plants and animals of our regions, it will quickly reach an ecological balance guarantees the good state of health and the proper functioning of the aquatic environment. A few basic principles will allow spontaneous installation of a whole host of agencies belonging to the different levels of the food chain (herbivores, predators, and decomposers), agencies who will themselves maintenance of the pond!

“Natural pools” action of young & Nature, therefore, advocates well another thing that the open-air construction of a giant goldfish aquarium are-creased by sophisticated light games, another thing also that putting in place a concrete pool for Welcome water lilies, Japanese carps and other avatars of genetic engineering. Quite simply, to give the opportunity to nature out of its reserves and to express themselves freely in our everyday world: spare it a small space in our garden.


All pond creation will have to be carefully considered. Before going to work, it is important to ask the following questions: do I have the ideal location to create a pond? To install a natural pond, a surface of at least 2 or 3 meters square with good light conditions.

Am I willing to make a human and financial investment? The creation of a pond, even of small dimension, is in itself a small business. The digging will ask to move volumes of sometimes important land and, in the majority of cases, the installation of a waterproofing of the field system will be required.

Do I want to develop the area around the site? Ideally, the immediate surroundings of the pond should be somewhat laid out to form a perimeter of protection around it and the quality of the aquatic environment. After digging Earth will create undulating surroundings, offering shelter to wildlife who will choose their home in the pond.

Male crested Newt

Will young children play on the edge of the pond?
For children at a young age, the presence of a pond in the garden will invariably be some appeal and a drowning risk should not be overlooked. It is up to everyone to assess the magnitude of this risk and, if necessary, install a fence of protection around the wetland.


That’s it! You are ready to embark on the great adventure of the natural pond. Depending on the terrain you have, different types of pools can be installed: the field is relatively swampy (impermeable clay soil) and is powered by a tablecloth table flush or close to the surface of the ground (located less than one meter deep in summer). In this particular case, that is certainly not the most common, it will be possible to realize a pond fed by the aquifer directly at low cost.

Its implementation is simply digging a depression in the clay soil and don’t ask the installation of waterproofing system. It is a pretty interesting concept because the resulting pond is a natural dimension; its plant colonization is done very quickly and spontaneously by the plants in the area. It can, however, present a risk of important summer drying.

as is often the case in our gardens, the land is dry and devoid of water flush. In addition to the work of digging. He will be here required to waterproof the bottom and the side walls of the depression. Most of this document is devoted to the realization of this type of mares. During the realization of the mare, a series of questions will arise.

We will try to answer them in the following order:
where shall I put the mare?
what dimensions and what forms choose?
how practically to the pond (digging, waterproofing)?
How to set up the edge of the pond?
How to enhance plant and animal colonization?
How to maintain the pond?


The pond must be established in a clear and sunny place (if possible, it will be exposed to the South and cleared to the East and West): light and heat are essential to the development of aquatic vegetation and the biological balance of the pond.

The pond will be dug away from trees where the accumulation of dead leaves and especially softwood needles causing acidification, the appearance of a brownish color and excessive siltation of water (phenomenon of eutrophication). However, we note that it is always possible to have a net above the water to collect the leaves in the fall. In addition, the root growth of trees will not facilitate earthwork and could, later, hole or degrade the waterproofing system.

Still, other factors may determine the choice of the location of the future pond: you can for example enjoy an existing depression or a marshy area. Avoid placing the pond on a slope that is too large or in an area where it could be subject to landslides.

On the other hand, she will insert is very well close to a scree or rock garden. To the extent possible, avoid to place it in the middle of the lawn and we’ll dig it rather on the edge of the garden, not far from a more “wild” area (e.g. near a hedge or not mowed area which will constitute an ideal refuge for wildlife).

To determine the location of the pond, it will still have in mind the fact that the outer edges of the should all be level, otherwise the water to escape as of a plate too tilted soup! As a result, the General slope of the land must be as low as possible. If there is a slight drop, it will align the outside be expired from the pond on the lowest point.

The cavity will be always carved out of land. Indeed, it would be illusory to want to build a lateral earth embankment to hold back the tarp: it will quickly go under the heavy weight of water at the point where it will fill the pond.


Above all, it is important to know that the SURFACE available for digging a pond is rarely a factor limiting: with 2 or 3 square meters, it is already possible to create a small smooth aquatic environment likely to attract a crowd of amphibians and insects. Obviously, the larger will become important, the biological value of the site will increase through the diversification of the vegetation and the microhabitats.

To give an order of magnitude, be aware that the usual surface of a garden pond varies between 3 and 25 square meters for the smaller and reached a hundred square meters for the largest. Each assessing the size of the pond according to its possibilities (financial cost, space,…).

The depth and slope are two particularly important factors that will affect above all the quality of the pond, his ecological interest and its integration into the garden. Please note that different species – these aquatic plants each have their preferences as to the depth of the water.

Thus, the botanist will distinguish:
plants of the banks and the marshy shores (forget-me-nots, mints, loosestrife, moth, sedges,…), semi-aquatic plants, rooted in the mud, advancing at least up to 50 cm deep (reeds, cattails, Sagittarius, iris, plantain water,…), the floating plants whose leaves and flowers emerge on the surface of the water (water-lilies, duckweed, cabbage…), plants submerged, tell our (callitriches, myriophylles, elodees…).

In order to allow the development of these different vegetation belts, it is important to create gently sloping banks. This also allows to avoid the debris of Earth and, during strong frosts, the pressure of ice on the walls of the pond; These banks also offer a convenient exit route to animals accidentally fallen into the pool.

In the deeper areas, up to 80 cm, or even 120 cm deep, are also important insofar as they allow to keep open water areas devoid of aquatic vegetation. What is more, deep areas are shelter for the animals of the pond in the event of severe winter frost.

Practically, we’ll dig gently sloping banks converging toward a deeper zone. It is the north shore of the mare (= shore facing South) which is most exposed to solar radiation and is thus more conducive to the development of the vegetation. If the surface of the pond is relatively low, make sure to develop this shore slope or stairs. While the opposite shore will be steeper for reachnearby a depth of 80 cm.


The waterproofing system

We come here to the most crucial step, namely the achievement of waterproof Bowl. Do this, to dig a depression, adjust his profile and placing a covering to waterproof the floor and walls of the pool. We focus here on the mares whose tightness is assured by a plastic tarp.

Simply include the coating by a layer of clay (heavy to handle and sealing uninsured) and ponds that the walls and the bottom are made with rigid materials – concretes and polyesters – which is very delicate and quite prohibitive cost. It is the covering PVC which is obviously the best quality/price ratio.

Making of 0.5 to 2 mm thick, black or green, this flexible material has a perfect seal. However, you should avoid walking in shoes on the tarp. Life expectancy is generally guaranteed by the manufacturer for a period longer than 10 years.

Its price is around 5 euros per square meter. This type of covering is easily in most supermarkets as well as in specialised shops (nursery). The design principle of the mares waterproofed by a covering of this kind is relatively simple.

After digging a depression in the ground, we will have successively on the walls of a 5 cm of sand layer (layer optional coating for furniture, but essential for stony soils soils), cover the plastic, a thin layer of Earth which will constitute the “substratum” of the mare and in which the vegetation will be able to take root. Attention, when we proceed to the calculation of the dimensions of the pool, don’t forget to add additional centimeters 10 to account for the thickness of these layers.

Necessary material

-tools of excavation: Spades, shovels, picks, etc.
-Mason’s level,
-Wheelbarrow (to carry the Earth),
-waterproof PVC or butyl rubber covering,
-sand and clay (possibly).
We can calculate the size of the tarp to buy by performing the calculation

Length = pond length + 2 times maximum depth
Width = maximum width of the mare + 2 times maximum depth


The outside perimeter of the mare is delimited with a rope, stakes… Excavations are made with suitable tools. Profile of the banks and the walls is made according to the predefined plans (use a level), taking into account the additional 10 cm related to the thickness of the layers. While digging, we’ll guard do not meet and damage a cable or a pipeline that could cross the garden!

After removing all the highlights (pebbles, roots…) that could perforate covering, one cup and we smooth the surface of the depression. In the case of the stony soil, the bottom and the walls are filled with, to the extent possible, with a layer of sand of 5 centimeters in thickness.

We have the tarp on the walls of the cavity by marrying the shape of the unit. Highlights folds will be eliminated by folding panels covering the beneath each other. If the work requires walking on the tarp, he will be done barefoot to limit the risk of perforation of the plastic material.

ATTENTION: the tarp must be fixed only after filling water. In this way, she marry perfectly the shape of the cavity, which will prevent tensions and tears. Ideally fill once the pool of water and then drain. This operation allows to clean the plastic material of any chemicals that cover. You can also enjoy this operation to correct the shape of the depression, enhance certain banks, etc.

Finally, the pond can be filled with water. We prefer the rain water to the tap water insofar as the latter is too rich in mineral elements (chlorine, nitrates, carbonates…). A too rich water can cause various biological imbalances, as a quick invasion of water by green algae, the recovery of aquatic vegetation by a white limestone film, etc.

In our regions, depending on the season, rain water has filled the pond in a delay of a few weeks and a few months. If we want to speed up the process, we can possibly use water cistern or well (in wary however of the waters that have passed on metal sheets or that had languished too long in a tank).

It is then necessary to recut the edges of the plastic cover, by leaving an additional margin of 40 cm all around the water part and to firmly fasten this one on the sides. Various possibilities exist on this level: they are detailed in the part treating of the installation of the accesses of the pond. In the content of the pond, one can disperse a fine layer of ground -to the 5 cm thickness the maximum in order to constitute a first substrate for the vegetation. The ground in question will not have to be too rich in organic matter (to avoid using compositor ground of compost). One can, for example, to work with a mixture 50/50 of sand and clay.

Attention not to put too much substrate: once the watery vegetation installed, the thickness of vase will do nothing but grow with time, which involves a progressive filling of the pond. The plants will be laid out according to their ecological preferences (depth of water!).

They can be planted directly in the substrate or out of pot. This last possibility is preferable for the plants equipped with a powerful system which would be likely to perforate the cover and for the plants which one wishes power to control the development easily.


Stowing of the cover It is important that the cover – and in particular edges – are not exposed to the rays of the sun because, after a few years, the plastic material (PVC) hardens and splits under the influence of the U.V. The best way of dissimulating the cover and of quickly integrating the pond in the garden consists in hiding the edges of this one under the grass.

With this intention, it is enough horizontally to incise the ground at the base of the system root of the lawn, over the length of an iron of spade and on all the circumference of the cavity, before the edge of the cover in the slit thus practiced. If the bank is carried out soft inclined just before joining the grass, it is possible to create marshy zone which will make the transition between the lawn and the part from water.

The banks could then be arranged and possibly consolidated with stones punts. Installation of the banks the volume of ground extracted out of hole can be relatively important. If one wishes not to have to modify the aspect of the garden exaggeratedly, the ground will be eliminated. But one can make use of it very well to spread it on one on the sides of the pond

– In north if possible

– So as to create higher bank which will prolong the marshy zone, will profit from a good sunning and will protect the pond against the bad weather.

Plants pioneers will settle their spontaneously and one will be able to plant some low bushes possibly there (not too much: attention with the falls of sheets in the pond).

The opposite bank (southern bank), generally more abrupt, could be studied so as to arrange an easy access to the water part and to reinforce the bank. One can thus pose along this one a beam out of wooden, some stones punts, etc


That they are plants or animals, IT IS EXCLUDED TO INTRODUCE INTO a NATURAL POND OF the EXOTIC SPECIES, not adapted to our climatic conditions. First of all, their chances of installation are relatively reduced and, even if they reach that point, those are likely to be spread in nature, to enter competing with the species of our areas and to disturb the operation of our ecosystems.

We point out once again that the settlement of the pond by species of on our premises constitutes the best guaranteed of its good biological balance.

Spontaneous colonization by the watery vegetation of a pond created artificially is possible if one uses as substrate of the vase coming from another water part and if it isotherm wetlands in the immediate environment of the pond. But this recolonization will be often very slow. This is why one will advise to plant and sow oneself of the indigenous plants belonging to the various ecological categories (plants of marshy, semi-watery, floating and submerged banks).

In so far as the banks were arranged soft inclined, it will be possible to introduce into the pond at least 1 to 2 species of each categories. These plant swill guarantee the aesthetic aspect of the pond and will allow the oxygenation of water, essential condition to the development of the animal life. Let us insist particularly on the importance of the submerged plants which ensure water the essence of its oxygen contribution.

The ideal supply aquatic plants consists ingoing to seek seeds, seedlings and cuttings among other followers of the natural pond. One will be able to also get seedlings in specialized nursery gardeners, while taking care to buy only plants of our areas.

While thus proceeding, one will not impoverish our wild wetlands which lodge rather well species in the process of rarefaction, from which some are protected besides by the law (it is the case in our two point of water lilies). Also let us recall that the law prohibits any taking away of plants, whatever they are, in nature reserve. One will not introduce the aquatic plants in too great number into the pond because the majority are propagated and extended very quickly.

The plants of the banks and marshy banks will be sown or mended end of the autumn at the beginning of the spring whereas the other aquatic plants are transplanted later, of April at July, starting from seedlings or of cuttings. One will take care of well respecting the specific requirements of the revenues species as for the depth of water, the sunning, etc

These requirements as well as the mode of transplantation (seed, whole plant, propagate, division of stock, rhizome (= large underground stem)) are taken again. If one did not have that very little substrate on the cover, one will take care that the roots of the plants are surrounded by a lump of earth before placing them in the pond.

It will still be necessary to ballast the roots of certain floating plants – with stone – to ensure the anchoring of those in the content of the pond.


The pond will very quickly be populated by a number impressing of unicellular organizations (protozoa) and small microscopic invertebrates which will control the ecological balance of this one and will start the food chain.

Most of the time, these organizations will be brought without wanting it with the vegetation; one will be able to even accelerate the process in “inseminating” the pond with some buckets of vase coming from a wetland of the surroundings. After these representatives of microphone-fauna, much of other animals will colonize the pond spontaneously and will transform the water part into a medium getting a move on of life.

Among those, most will undoubtedly be the insects: once installed with the accesses of the pond, some will remain the remainder of their life there (lytic, watery bugs…) where as others only gather there to lay their eggs (drag on flies, phryganeas, mosquitos…). Numerous species of insects pass thus by a larval stage adapted to the aquatic life before being disseminated towards new wetlands, once become adult.

It is thus seen that, contrary to the vegetation, the animal colonization of the pond is established itself rather quickly. Insofar as any animal introduction is likely to strongly disturb the biological balance of the medium and to involve a major upheaval of the life of the pond, it is necessary not to introduce animals there.

In connection with the balance of the natural pond…

All the living organisms of a natural pond are subjected to the same law: to eat or be eaten. It results the constitution from it from an extremely complex food chain connecting the plants to predatory, via the herbivores, without for getting the decomposers who transform the organizations died into assailable nutritive substances by the plants.

Let us take an example while referring to us with the illustration of the following page: in the presence of light, of carbonic gas and dissolved rock salt in water, the aquatic plants such as Cataphyll grow and multiply.

The tadpoles of the common clamping plate, herbivores in the first weeks of their life, nibble these aquatic plants. But the larva of dragonfly watches for; frightening predatory, it will consume quantity of tadpolesto develop. This larva will metamorphose it self after a few years in adult dragon fly.

This one will get caught by a Rousse role which can, itself, to be made eat by a terrestrial super predator. With its death, its corpse will be eliminated by the decomposers. They are bacteria which transform the remains of living beings into water, carbonic gas and rock salt, the three compounds essential to the growth of the plants. The loop is buckled… and the cycle can start again indefinitely.

In the natural pond, these cycles function well and a balance between the organizations in decomposition and the decomposers is established itself after some time. However, all interventions external such as the introduction of fishes and nonindigenous plants, the installation of an air pump,… risk to unbalance the ecosystem or to generate disturbances. However, these imbalances often result in various nuisances: pullulating of algae, invasion of mosquitos, bad smells,… For little that one lets it evolve naturally and that one is not too interventionist, a natural pond balances itself and is not source of any nuisance.


The maintenance work of a natural pond is normally not very important. It is however advisable to respect certain basic principles to maintain the pond in good health. First of all, it will be necessary to take care to limit the quantity of plants which break up in the pond, in particular the contributions of dead leaves. One will also take care NOT TO TOO FREQUENTLY MOW the GRASS near the pond insofar as the accumulation of grasses cut in water exerts a harmful action on the life of the pond.

Ideally, one will be able to even preserve a band of a few meters of broad all around the part where the grass will be mown 1 to 2 times a year. In this manner, one will spare a zone refuge for the insects and the batrachians which, at certain seasons, move away somewhat from the aquatic environment. Then, one will take care that the pond is not drained in a too marked way in summer.

Indeed, if the cover is exposed to strongly with the rays of the sun, it is likely to suffer from it and to even fissure! One will be able to thus compensate for the too important losses due to evaporation by a progressive water contribution of city or cistern (to which the temperature must be close to that of the water of the pond!).

Lastly, it should be known that, as of its creation, the AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT WILL NOT HAVE CEASE TO EVOLVE AND SE TO TRANSFORM. Animal and vegetable colonization helping, the pond will very quickly be populated by a bunch of organizations. In the course of time, invasion by the aquatic plants is likely to become very important, especially for the low-size ponds. It will be advisable to limit the development of this vegetation if one does not want to witness a progressive filling of the lake (natural phenomenon of eutrophication).

To be able to detect possible problems, it is thus important to follow the evolution of the pond regularly. On this subject, will know that a pond in good health is characterized by a balanced development of its fauna like by the LIMPID AND TRANSLUCENT character of its water.

In the first months which follow its creation, any pond created artificially is prone at the risk of imbalance. This last can be marked by a significant development of floating and immersed plants (algae, duckweeds, etc), often caused by a too great wealth of water in nutritive elements. Before being alarmed unnecessarily, it will be necessary for all to be patient: the pond should normally find itself its balance with the development of fauna and other aquatic plants.

After two or three years, the watery vegetation will often tend to invade all the pond gradually. It will then be important to preserve free water zones to allow a sufficient sunning of the pond. This is why, each autumn, it will be necessary to eliminate part of the immersed plants and floating plants, just as one will be able to carry out the mowing of the plants and banks (+ export of the product of the mowing).

One will be able to benefit from the occasion to provide the aquatic plants in excess to people who have just dug a pond. But attention! When the vegetation is removed, it is advisable to take some care unnecessarily not to massacre the animals which take refuge preferentially in the aquatic plants.

Before eliminating the plants, one will shake them with energy above the pond, then one will let them rest a few days in the vicinity immediate of the banks or on a dash placed a few centimeters above level of water. In this manner, the animals will be able to flee and regain by themselves their watery habitat. Better still, to leave zones refuges with the aquatic life, one will not clean the same day the entirety of the surface of the pond.

After a few years of installation, it may be that the process of eutrophication is marked more, which results in a vegetable invasion, disorder of increasingly marked water and silting. With The limit, one can even attend the biological death of the pond, caused by an impoverishment of oxygen water. To thwart this process, it will be necessary to limit in a drastic way the development of the floating vegetation- which limits the sunning – and to eliminate part of the vase which tends to accumulate in the content of the pond.

Lastly, if the process of eutrophication is really too advanced, one will be able to drain the pond, to leave it a few days in asset, to remove vase as much as possible, while taking keeps not to perforate the cover, and finally to give the underwater pond. But attention, the setting in asset will have to be practiced only in an exceptional way insofar as it strongly disturbs the life of the aquatic environment and request after wards the installation of a new biological balance!

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