Starting Your Garden Pond

Have you been thinking about starting up a pond in your garden? Well, now is the perfect time for you to get stuck into pond keeping!

Pond keeping can be a fantastic solo project if you've been looking to do up your garden, but it can also be a fantastic opportunity to get the family together and start building something you can all enjoy. In this post we're going to take you through some of they key steps for success when starting up your garden pond.

The first step is to establish how much space you have within your garden. If you have quite a bit of space to play with you may choose to add a water feature like a rock-built waterfall to the outskirts of the pond, or you might choose to go big with the pond itself if you're thinking of adding fish like Goldfish or Koi. Smaller spaces, generally, tend to be designated for little nature ponds which are by no means any less exciting than ornamental fish ponds.

The next step in the process is to take the time to think about whether or not you'd like to set up the pond for nature or to house some ornamental fish. Choosing to house fish within the pond will often be dictated the size of the pond itself, as Goldfish and Koi do grow to 30cm and more! If having fish in the garden is something that you are particularly keen on, we would definitely recommend planning out the size of the pond based on what would be suitable for the fish's whole lifetime rather than building a pond that's too small, as this will save you lots of time and money later down the line.

We also recommend to include a filter in your pond set-up as this will ensure there is ample movement to help prevent any stagnant water building up. If you do choose to set up a

pond to house fish, a filter will be essential as you will need this to ensure their water is kept clean and cycled. If you choose to set up a nature pond a filter will also provide water movement and, generally, tends to improve the overall look and feel of it. We have a wide range of filtration available depending on the size of your pond and the needs of the pond - there's something to suit everyone!

Moving on from electronics, we can get into planning the pond design out. This might involve taking some time out in the garden to decide how big and how deep you'd like to the pond to be, and exactly where you want to place it. When it comes to structure, many people decide to opt for a pre-formed pond as they are already shaped with different levels of depth for plants and fish. You can, however, decide to get creative and dig out a hole in the shape you are looking for in the garden, with different shaping to add small shelves for plants. This then allows you to pop in and choose the liner of appropriate size to line the bespoke shape you've just made. We would always recommend adding some underlay below your pond liner to ensure no rocks or pebbles are able to pierce through the liner itself - this makes sure the liner stays protected for longer.

Once the pond is dug out and the underlay and liner are secure, you're ready to start filling the pond! In order to get what's known as a 'cycle' going in your pond, we recommend filling the pond up with water, getting your filter plugged in and adding some water conditioners to make sure everything will be nice and safe for wildlife (or fish) within a few weeks. The two water conditioners which are essential for starting up any pond (or aquarium) are Tap Water Conditioner and some form of start bacteria as these will ensure any harmful components from your tap water are removed and that your filter contains a good colony of bacteria which will be able to keep with the breakdown of any waste in the pond. Cycling can take a few weeks to get going but there are other aspects of the pond to focus on in the meantime.

The next step on your road to pond keeping is to introduce some plants to your set-up. Having a variety of plants within and around your pond can help encourage wildlife to visit the lovely little garden oasis that you've created. There are lots of marginal, oxygenating, and floating pond plants available to choose from in our stores! We would recommend finding plants of differing heights and layering them to provide some small and tall hiding spots for different types of animals to use during their visits. Providing oxygenating plants to sit within the pond can be helpful for animals such as frogs as they will be able to find hiding spots to rest (and possibly spawn) within your pond too.

Something else to consider, which is sometimes missed when setting up ornamental fish ponds, is adding a net across the top of the pond to prevent predators such as Heron from using your pond as an expensive feeding station. The pond nets tend to be non-invasive towards plants and animals, as birds and smaller creatures can still get access to the pond for a drink. The nets are black in colour as well so often go unseen and don't actually ruin the aesthetic of the pond as much as is often thought.

When the pond has fully cycled and you're ready to add fish, we recommend popping in to your local store with a little sample of your water so that we can check everything is safe and good to go before you add your new outdoor pets. The staff in store will then be able to help you choose the correct foods to take home based on the type and size of fish you choose and will be able to give recommendations on the frequency of feeding for different times of year as well. Staff will also be able to answer any questions you may have about caring for your new pets whilst in store as well. We want to ensure your pond gets off to the best start possible so ask as many questions as needed!

Who's ready to get stuck into pond keeping?! We couldn't be more excited to be back outdoors helping our customers with their ponds, new and older, and we cannot wait to see how many more people will be setting up garden ponds this year.

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