How to create a permaculture pond

How To Create a Permaculture Pond

One of the very best things you can do to attract a range of beneficial local wildlife to your garden is to create a permaculture pond. A permaculture pond is simply a pond that is designed to work with nature as much as possible, and which costs nothing for the local environment nor the global one. In most of Scotland there is no shortage of water – but a pond is still a useful way of storing water in your garden and can also be a good way to manage an over-abundance of the stuff.

Choosing your site is the first stage in the creation of a garden pond and it is also in many ways the most important one. A garden pond should be located in an area which receives a reasonable amount of sunshine, though some shade during summer could also be beneficial to the wildlife which comes to use it. To make your own life easier, try not to position your pond directly underneath trees, or you will find yourself having to dredge out a large number of leaves each autumn. If you have a natural dip or existing waterlogged area in your garden, then this is, of course, an ideal location for your pond. It is almost always better to site a pond in the lowest point of your garden, so water will naturally want to drain to it, rather than away.

Shaping your pond is the next stage of the process. No matter how large or small you are making your pond, if you want it to be suitable for the local wildlife then you will have to make sure that you follow certain guidelines regarding the shape. It is vital that your pond has a gently sloping shallow end (or an escape route for stranded animals that may fall in by mistake). It should also be deeper in the middle and have a series of tiers that allow different plants and aquatic species to thrive. Above and beyond this, it is also a good idea to make your pond an organic, wavy shape – this will not only look better in a natural environment, it will also help to increase the 'edge' – the most diverse and abundant part of any ecosystem.

Next, decide how to retain the water in your pond. Most people will use some sort of plastic membrane, though natural clay is also a way in which the water in your pond can be retained, which could be said to chime better with permaculture gardening.

A planting scheme for your pond should always take into account the native plants found in the surrounding area. Take care not to include aquatic plants that can be invasive in your local environment.  In order to achieve a good natural balance in your pond you will need to establish rooted floating plants, marginal plants, submerged (oxygenating) plants and floating plants. All these layers of vegetation, along with the wildlife the pond attracts, will help to create a diverse and resilient garden ecosystem.