Digging a pond Is one of the quickest ways of improving a garden’s biodiversity. The pond was dug by hand, about half a metre deep with a much shallower end with a shallow bog bed nearby. The soil in the garden is sandy and very free-draining so it had to be lined. We also protected the liner from being pieced accidentally. The downpipe from the neighbour’s roof was used to keep the water level topped up with rain water; however, during dry summers it still needs to be topped up from the mains. We introduced a water lily in the deep part and planted the margins and the shallow end with marginal plants like gipsywort, marsh marigold and yellow flags. It was an instant success – large numbers of frogs and smooth newts spawned the following spring (and every year since), and dragonflies and damselflies appeared.
Our next significant development was to create a hibernaculum in the unkempt area near the pond. The aim was to enhance the survival of species that overwinter underground like slowworms and amphibians.