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How Wildlife Friendly is Your Pond?

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 22 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
Pond Wildlife Wildlife Friendly Quiz

Natural wetlands have been disappearing from the British countryside at an alarming rate over the last fifty years or so, which makes it hardly surprising that garden ponds have become increasingly important as refuges for so much of our aquatic wildlife.

Some of our native species, such as frogs for instance, can make use of just about any kind of pond, while others are rather more demanding in their needs. Whether you’ve built your own pond from scratch, or inherited it from a previous owner, the features it contains and its relationship with your garden as a whole can be a make-or-break issue for some creatures. So if you’ve ever wondered just how wildlife friendly your pond is, here’s a quick and simple quiz to help you find out.

It’s principally a bit of fun, of course, but the quiz should still help give you an insight into the wants, needs and desires of some of the flora and fauna that are looking to be guests in your pond – invited or not!

1. Which description best matches your garden in general?

  • a) A haven for wildlife.
  • b) Mostly flower borders.
  • c) A fairly typical mix of shrubs, lawn and flowers.
  • d) Mostly patio/decking/hard landscaping.

2. How does your pond fit into the landscape?

  • a) A natural-looking seamless transition.
  • b) It forms part of the lawn edge.
  • c) It’s backed by shrubs and a bog garden.
  • d) It’s a distinct feature all of its own.

3. How is it planted?

  • a) The planting is left to nature.
  • b) For floral interest – lilies and the like.
  • c) For interest, but with a leaning to native species.
  • d) Specially chosen architectural or specimen plants.

4. What sort of creature are you most likely to see in it?

  • a) All sorts of things; frogs, dragonflies you name it!
  • b) Goldfish, or perhaps a water snail or two.
  • c) Tadpoles or water boatmen.
  • d) Nothing / my own koi carp.

5. How would you describe its construction?

  • a) A liner, with gently sloping sides.
  • b) I’m not sure what it’s made of.
  • c) Preformed, with planting shelves.
  • d) Straight sided, made from concrete or in a barrel/container.

6. How much of the pond surface is covered by plants?

  • a) More than half.
  • b) Less than half.
  • c) About half.
  • d) None / very little.

7. How would describe the area around the pond?

  • a) Log piles, low shrubs, long grass – pretty wild.
  • b) Low mown grass.
  • c) Shrubs, a rockery and a bog garden.
  • d) Hard landscaping.

8.What’s your approach to fertilisers and pesticides around your pond?

  • a) Never use any kind of chemicals anywhere in the garden.
  • b) Use them as necessary, but take appropriate precautions.
  • c) Never use chemicals near the pond or wildlife corner.
  • d) It’s never been an issue around my pond.

9. What do you see as the PRIMARY purpose of your pond?

  • a) A wildlife feature
  • b) A fish pond
  • c) An educational resource
  • d) An architectural feature

10. Finally, are there any nest boxes, insect homes or similar features in the rest of your garden?

  • a) Oh yes – there isn’t a wildlife box we don’t have!
  • b) A couple of nest boxes.
  • c) A variety of nest boxes and a couple of bee logs.
  • d) No, not really.

Mostly (a)s & (c)s

Your pond is a real home-from-home for native wildlife. Whether you deliberately set out to make it that way, or it just happened naturally, you’d be hard pushed to do more to encourage British species to set up home. One thing’s for sure, you shouldn’t have any problems watching wildlife this summer!

Mostly (b)s

There are some valuable features in your pond, but wildlife isn’t the total focus. If you’ve inherited it from a previous owner – or changed the way you want to use it – and now hope to make it more wildlife-friendly, you have a good starting point to work from, so a few simple changes should see you well on the way. On the other hand, if you’re more than happy to have wildlife sharing your garden, but other aspects of pond-keeping appeal too, it sounds like you’ve already arrived at the ideal personal compromise.

Mostly (d)s

It seems that wildlife isn’t your pond’s current priority – but then nobody said it had to be! After all, there are plenty of other reasons for having a pond beside providing a home for the local frog population. It is, of course, inevitable that one or two native species will wander in and if that does eventually inspire you to try to encourage others, there are few ponds that can’t be made more wildlife-friendly if that’s what you ever want to do.

However wildlife-friendly yours is – or isn’t – enjoy your pond!

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We decided to set up and build a pond as a water feature, in the hope it will attract wildlife. We have a small garden in a village close to a town. We already get Birds, hedgehogs, butterflies dragonflies and bats visiting the garden, so it would be nice to have some more wildlife. The purpose of the pond was to be a water feature with a waterfall with the added attraction of being a haven for wildlife. So far, we have managed to rescue some frogspawn and added some plants to the pond. It looks and sounds nice and we get a lot of pleasure from it. Looking forward to see how it evolves over the years.
Stan The Man - 22-May-18 @ 7:01 PM
i wish i had some plants to talk to
phil - 26-Jun-13 @ 10:48 PM
Hello all, i'm setting up a wildlife pond and would appreciate any advice you could give as to attracting frogs and newts etc. also has anyone got any spare plants that i may have to get started or snails, i live in harefield near uxbridge and watford.
phil - 26-Jun-13 @ 7:14 PM
Very young newts are leaving the pond and are just dieing at the edge where they have just come out could you please tell me why
May - 11-Jun-13 @ 10:53 AM
I have a pound problem is with carp he keeps floating to top of pound and staying on his side. his body looks bend, stressing me out we have treated pound been to fish place they dont have a clue please help if you can many thanks mrs allen
william - 12-Jul-12 @ 3:26 PM
I found your pages very informative. my pond has been deliberately made for the wild, it will be surrounded by country meadow and wild flowers. . This is the first time that I have had a pond and I brought and planted 4 deep plants and one shelf plant with some floating oxygenating plants no lilies. Could you please recommend to me, if there is anything else I should do to this pond. It is approximately two metres long by 1 metre wide preformed kidney shape. Any help will be most appreciated. I will definitely be looking at your page again. Thank you
Gaeaf - 9-Jul-12 @ 9:00 PM
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