Forum home Wildlife gardening

Wildlife pond - worried I’ve done it wrong

Hi all. I’m in the uk and decided to do a wildlife pond. I was reading a book on wildlife ponds so followed that advice about putting soil in the bottom of the pond. I did this but now I’m worried I shouldn’t have done that. Online kind of says not to. If I’ve done it wrong I’m going to have to empty it and get the soil out. As you can see from the photo, I’m new to this and I haven’t yet sorted the edging of the pond. I also plan to get a solar water feature to help the water move, I’m also going to put plants in it. So what do you think? Have I done it wrong or am I just being impatient?



  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    If you want a wildlife pond you don’t need a pump, the creatures prefer still waters.
    I wouldn’t have put soil in there.
    Just plain rain water and plenty of oxygenating plants. 
    When we made ours we bought this book first,  tells you all you need to know about wild life ponds.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FernsUKFernsUK Posts: 5
    Thanks Lyn. I followed what this book said and it said to put soil in. Really gutted now as I’m going to have to empty it and get the soil out which is going to be a nightmare
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,388
    I wondered about this last year when I was making ours. I’d seen videos of people putting soil in, or sand. But then general advice seemed to be not to.

    Soil adds too much in the way of nutrients to the water I think is the issue.

    The pond builds up its own layers of material at the bottom by itself over time.

    I did add some washed stones in corners just to act as shelter until I had more established plants. 
    East Yorkshire
  • WilderbeastWilderbeast Posts: 1,415
    I would agree on the fountain, all my reading and talking to people in the pond trade said not to add movement of water to a wildlife pond. I added maybe 100kg of ordinary builders sand and gravel to the beach area of our pond to help create the beach, was told it was totally wrong but the marginal plants in it are extremely happy and I've had no issues so far with pond algea blooming. How much soil did you add ? 2 dug my wildlife pond 2 years ago and this year we had huge numbers of newts breeding, great diving beetles, frogs, caddis flies, water boatman, birds bathing and massive dragonflies. Oh I only did the research after the pond was built and filled up, digging a pond was a real spur of the moment thing, so you can definitely make some mistakes and it'll still work. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I wouldn't go to all the trouble of removing the soil myself, I'd plant into it. Natural ponds form on soil and they have no problems so I cannot see why yours shouldn't settle down. My own pond wasn't designed for wildlife, it has goldfish, which have sometimes upset planted baskets and there is a thick layer of gunge at the bottom. It is swarming with wildlife, in the water and above. Also, we do use a filter which keeps the water clear but obviously doesn't bother the living things.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    I agree re the pump - not needed in a wildlife pond. They don't have them in nature  :)
    I've never added anything to the bottom of ponds either -  the base layer builds up in it's own time as plant material breaks down.
    It'll depend on how much volume of soil you put in though. As @Posy says, you can plant into it - deep layer oxygenators for example. It will gradually settle over time once you have other planting put in as well. It just looks rough because you've added the water and it's stirred it all up.  :)
    If you're very concerned about the amount of soil, it would be easier to siphon out the water to remove some of it. Possibly easier than getting your wellies on and using a bucket  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • debs64debs64 Posts: 5,120
    I have a tiny water feature, just a large tub really and I put aquatic soil in the bottom to root the oxygenators, it’s clear now so I wouldn’t worry too much it will settle eventually. 
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,190
    I just throw in the oxygenators, you need them to float on the top so that the surface water gets covered. I can’t see how you can plant up in base soil.   You usually put other plants in mesh baskets of low nutrient soil. 
    If you want to leave it, give it a year to settle and see how it goes.
    please keep us posted on its progress.   
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • WonkyWombleWonkyWomble Posts: 4,509
    I have a solar powered small pump in my wildlife pond.  Frogs shower under it and birds fly through it on the way to the shallow end for a bath.  I wouldn't say it's necessary but they certainly don't dislike it.  Frogs,  toads,  newts and more and the pond is 3 years old 👍
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Some oxygenators make their own roots and reach down without human effort - is it elodia? We have water hawthorn and that likes deep planting, as do water lilies.( I know they are not oxygenators). We start them off in baskets but the wh self-seeds and the roots seek out the muck at the bottom. In shallow areas all sorts of bog and marginals will enjoy going into the soil.
Sign In or Register to comment.