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Advice needed for planting in shallow wildlife pond


I am in the process of creating a small wildlife pond. I have done some research and I have discovered that the depth of the pond should be no more than 30cm to benefit wildlife.

My pond is pretty small so a lot of it will only be around 10cm deep or so.

Now, my gardening skills and knowledge is practically zero so I need some help.

Will it be possible for me to get plants that will grow in depths of around 10-15 cm?

I was hoping to put some oxygenators in the pond too.

I have added some photos, any advice or general comments would be much appreciated. 

I am particularly worried about trapping hedgehogs and other wildlife, so if you think my sides are too steep etc. Please let me know 

Thanks very much!


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 33,819
    Are you sure that you have given us the correct measurments Ger? I'm only asking as  for a wildlife pond it would be better if it was a metre deep at its deepest point tapering up to the edges with perhaps a shelf around the edges about 20cm under water. 30cm is far too shallow. It would over heat in the Summer (if we actually get one this year ) and freeze solid in the winter. Also a pond so shallow would get overwhelmed by any plants you introduced.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • There’s a lot of conflicting advice on pond depth - I went with a shallow wildlife pond as suggested by the Freshwater Trust - mine is 30cm max depth. Another member on this forum did the same and had a wonderful pond last year and got 4 types of dragonfly etc. I would google freshwater trust site as it gives lots of advice - your pond looks good to me.
  • Just to add to last post - you can buy pond plants in 9cm aquatic pots and so these would be able to sit in a 10cm depth pond. I made my pond a few months ago and used hornwort plant as an oxygenator. Just make the sides have a very gradual slope on all edges and hedgehogs will be fine to get out 
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    It might help to shed some light. The 30 cm depth recommendation is for conservation volunteers on the whole. It was mostly put about by those interested in providing habitats for bugs. These ponds are often seasonal (they dry up in summer).

    I have a background in amphibian conservation. We generally would recommend a minimum of 60 cm. In the context of a garden pond, it will provide far better protection for amphibians and also greatly increase the options you have for planting.

    A 30 cm pond is better than no pond. They do have massive value for wildlife. If you have room for 60 cm, in my own personal experience, it will be a much more long-term interest thing in the garden.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    I've had ponds varying in depth from a foot to four foot. They all work. If you live in an area of low rainfall, a bigger pond is obviously better as they don't dry up so quickly.

    It's how you go about all the surrounding habitat/planting etc. Not everyone has room for a bigger, deeper pond either. 
    As @GemmaJF says - any pond is better than nothing.

    The OP has started two similar threads on his pond, and there are lots of replies on the other thread covering depths, beaches and planting  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 15
    @Michael147 , yeah, the freshwater trust article is really against any pond being greater than 30cm

    @GemmaJF would you say that the most important thing is to have natural, sloping sides?

    Therefore, if you want a pond to be 60cm or more, would you not need to have a very large area ?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    If you want a deeper section, yes - the pond needs to be a decent enough size so that it isn't mainly shallow and then a deep section. You would graduate the sides a bit to make it safer.
    You need 'a' slope @Ger1993. If all the sides slope, it's no use. 
    The rest of the area can have a shelf for plants etc.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    edited April 2020
    My personal opinion is we don't need gently sloping sides. Once plants are established most animals can get out easily, particularly if there is a grassy edge around the pond. I think gently sloping sides are 'good advice' but somewhat over emphasized. Multiple shelves work well. My own wildlife pond is not huge, so has steeper sides. We have had hedgehog families in the garden for many years and never has it been a problem to them. 

    Sorry, quick edit:

    Would have been better if I had said, 'we don't need gently sloping sides all round' have one area with a gentle slope is a good compromise.
  • Ger1993Ger1993 Posts: 15
    Thanks for all your help everyone.

    One final question. I am just about to order some liner and underlay.

    I have seen some sites advising to place a layer of underlay on top of the liner aswel as underneath

    However, my budget is pretty tight.

    Do ye think just having a layer of underlay underneath the liner will suffice ?

    Thanks again!
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