Wildlife Pond

8 Materials
2 Weeks

We decided to create a wildlife pond in our backyard. Hoping to attract frogs and dragonflies and provide water for wildlife.

First we had to dig out the soil. We decided to go with a PVC pond liner rather than a rigid pond liner. We dug out the area which we had to ensure was level. We are on a slight slope so this was the worst part of the project. We decided to make a beach area with stones for entry/exit into the water for smaller creatures. The deepest area is around 50cm in order for tadpoles to overwinter in the pond without freezing to death.

We built ledges into the soil rather than have a slope into the lowest point of the pond. This way we could put rocks or marginal water plants on those ledges.

Once we were happy with the shape, depth and ledges, we lined the whole thing with old mattress protectors, blankets and block out curtains. This is to protect the PVC pond liner from any stones or roots that might pierce the plastic. You could use a couple of cms of sand instead or some geotextile fabric before adding the liner.

Then the pond liner went in on top. I climbed in with bare feet and moulded the plastic to fit the ledges as well as I could. At this point, you cannot avoid some creases in the pond liner. Just push it into the ledges as best you can.

We put some weighty items around the edges to hold the plastic in place while we added the water. This was rainwater from our water tanks. We used a garden hose to fill the pond.

You will see there is quite a bit of pond liner on the outside of the pond. This gets covered by rocks, stones and in this case some pavers as well. Once you have everything in place, remembering to leave a 'beach' area which is shallow for creatures to get in and out of the pond easily, you can them trim the liner. We added pavers at the front edge, some water plants in aqua baskets and two troughs of Dietes on the far ledge inside the pond. We put tiles under the two troughs so that they were not sitting in the water. Dietes doesn't like standing in water. We added some sand to the bottom of the pond (washed children's play sand) to cover the bottom of the pond/liner.

We added bush rock at one end to cover the liner, a solar water fountain and a water lily. Logs and bromeliads finished the look. A zen like frog sits at the front of the pond. Sunlight can damage a pond liner, so you need to ensure to completely cover the liner to avoid the plastic cracking and splitting due to sun damage and also because if the black plastic shows, it looks a bit ugly.

A large Cordyline plant in a pot sits behind the pond to add height and a pot of Lomandra sits on the front corner of the pond. Most of the bush rock was sourced from our own garden. The water plants used here are Pennyroyal and Milfoil. The liner was trimmed back once complete. I have also planted up some native violets around the edges of the pond, which I hope will fill in and spread to provide cover for frogs.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Bobbie Sherman
    Bobbie Sherman
    on Jan 11, 2021

    What about snakes? How can I keep snakes out of the pond? We have cottonmouths and copperheads here where I live.

    • Ellis
      on Jan 12, 2021

      I think I'd skip the pond and go for a nice Japanese garden look instead. You know, very sparse, carefully arranged, etc. Or a flat stone or brick patio. Fewer places to attract creepy crawlies. I hate snakes!

  • Banrman
    on Jan 14, 2021

    Don't tadpoles turn into frogs long before winter even starts?

  • Lisa West
    Lisa West
    on Jan 17, 2021

    The animals are going to love you so much. As for skeeter and the eggs as long as the water is moving they won't lay eggs. So fountain will deter that. When all your plants fill out its going to be a very pretty and natural little oasis there in your back yard. Love it. Please if you can get some pics of all the animals that come by and take a drink and possibly nap, and share those. Even butter flies and other insects. The birds will be happy to I believe. Oh and if you can plant some butterfly flowers to attract them as well. Oh the dragon flies I can see in the future. Those also eat skeeter and other yucky insects and the all hated spiders. Speaking of spiders aren't you afraid of the funnel spider or what that poisonous mean spider that just bites every thing for no reason taking up residence near the pond?

    • Carole
      on Jan 18, 2021

      The fountain only runs during the day or during sunshine hours. By the time that area is in shade (mid afternoon) the fountain will stop. So it is possible critters may lay eggs in the water. We have bird baths, mud baths for the butterflies (the males need the minerals from the muddy water), a bee and butterfly large raised garden bed in that area for bees/butterflies and other insects. Grows meadow like flowers for them. Last year we had tons of bees (around 60 or so at a time) in the edges of the water of a large metal fire pit with a log in it. They were taking water back to the hive to cool it I think. At any rate they were coming and going all day every day. Neighbours have hives. We get dragonflies and damsel flies down that end of the garden. If frogs comes, we may well find more snakes. We might see one snake per year at present but that could change. Funnel webs don't worry me too much - more concerned about mosquitos. However, if mozzies come, that should attract other critters that feed on them. We have a bat box in one tree for micro bats and also a bird/possum box on another tree. It is my habitat area for the insects and critters. Bring in the insects and you also get the smaller insect feeding birds.

Join the conversation

2 of 17 comments
  • Alexa Cass
    Alexa Cass
    on Feb 20, 2021

    I'm about to build my 5th pond mainly to stop my dog swimming in the others and was looking for inspiration. I love your use of mixed media around the edge and think it'll grow in really well. I hadn't thought of a sand bottom so am definately going to copy that idea! Well donenand thankyou

  • Alexa Cass
    Alexa Cass
    on Feb 20, 2021

    Btw my ponds have all stayed clear and algae free without any fountains filters or mechanical devices. Instead I rely on oxygenators ( underwater plants) and hungry reeds to suck up the nutrients. I still have to clear out leaf litter from a deciduous tree and storms. And a couple of fish ( small ones don't eat the frog eggs) per pond keeps the mozzies at bay. PS I'm in Qld Australia with long hot summers and lots of mozzies 😄

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