Care for something cool – and refreshing! – in your garden?

Set up a natural and eco-friendly pond in your garden, that will welcome lush plants and a host of little animals.

Setting up a natural pond

To attract wild water fauna to your garden, give it a roundish shape. Select a well exposed location but not too hot. Before digging up the soil, draw up a detailed sketch with all the necessary considerations: shape, orientation, size, depth of various portions for the plants to colonize.

From this plan, you’ll be able to decide which watertight containment is best suited: flexible (tarpaulin), rigid (pre-shaped pond), hard (cement) or natural material (clay, marl). Cover the bottom of this water-retaining lining with a substrate prepared from sand, gravel and a layer of clay or poor soil. Your container is ready! Wait for it to rain, or fill it in with tap water. Chlorine will quickly evaporate.

Native plant life

The best way to have a lively pond is to introduce native aquatic plants. There are about twenty varieties to select depending on the size of your body of water. If small, set up various rush or bulrush, water mint (in a stone pot to contain it) and yellow iris. In deeper water, floating pondweed, water-crowfoot and yellow water lilies are great choices. These plants are easy to install: weigh them down with a ball of clay or marl and and place them where you wish.

Organize the embankments around your pond with rocks, a small strip of prairie grass and if possible a couple shrub plantations. This space will serve for shelter to insects that like to land around water.

A great many guests

As soon as the plants have settled in, dragonflies, diving beetles, water striders and other pond insects will colonize your basin. Amphibians will be drawn in later on.

No need for filters or pumps to maintain the pond, plants will add oxygen to the water themselves. Simply watch over it for the first few years, to avoid having one species smother all other plant vegetation out. Muddled water and stringy algae formation are other problems to keep an eye out for.

After a couple years, you’ll have reached a balance between water, plant life and animal kingdom. Your water garden will thus grant you a different show every day.

M.-C. H.

Image credits: D. Sautot

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