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Ponds for Habitat and Enjoyment

 

Frogs, dragonflies, water skinks, birds - all the wildlife attracted to our small backyard pond brings us so much joy and entertainment. Attracting a diversity of wildlife is also important for us in implementing a holistic, integrated, approach to managing pests in an organic garden.

We started building the pond in June 2009, in the lower food forest section of our garden. It’s positioned a fair distance away from the house and our neighbour’s houses, just to ensure a chorus of frogs don’t cause any sleepless nights. It’s also away from large trees that might shade out the pond too much, or drop lots of leaves in it, but has bananas, paw paws and a cherimoya surrounding it provide some dappled shade.

As the site is on a slope, we created a two tiered pond. Both ponds vary between 20 cm and 40cm in deep . After digging out the dirt and getting the right shape, we lined the depressions with geotextile fabric to protect the pond liner from any sharp rocks. We then put down good quality pond liner (we used 1mm Proliner EPDM rubber pond liner from Creative Pumps), which is held in place by large rocks. The rocks came from a garden over in the next suburb, where some people were putting in a new driveaway and had some rocks they were looking to get rid of - perfect timing for us! Ponds don’t legally require fencing in NSW, but the landscaping around our pond helps make it childproof, and the area where the pond is located is also gated.

We’ve placed lots of native shrubs and groundcovers around the pond, to create habitat for frogs – they do spend lots of their time out of the water, unlike tadpoles! In the pond we’re growing water chestnuts, duckweed and other native aquatic plants.

To oxygenate the pond installed a small solar panel on the roof of the chicken house. It pumps the water from the bottom pond to the top pond, where it then trickles down over the rocks, creating a wonderfully relaxing sound.  To enjoy the sights and sounds of the pond, we created a small deck and seating area right over the edge. It’s our favourite place to relax and enjoy the garden!

Every garden really needs a water source for wildlife - it’s important not just for frogs, but insects, birds and lizards. For some more ideas on creating habitat ponds in your garden, check out http://www.frogsaustralia.net.au/conservation/creating-habitat.cfm