I have a 20' x 20' area in my yard to play with. A year ago, I bought a few palettes of fieldstone with plans of building a pond with a waterfall. Since then, I've gone back and forth between the orginal plans, a vernal pool, liner or no liner, fish or no fish. Luckily, my mind was made up when I decided to google "wildlife pond" over the holidays. This is exactly what I want, and it seems there are tons of great examples in the UK especially.
I was hoping to post my plans on the forum and see if anyone has any suggestions for success.
The rest of my yard is full of native plants with the goal of increasing biodiversity. This goal carries over to my pond as well. I'm hoping to attract frogs, toads, salamanders, dragonflies, birds, aquatic insects, etc. This means no fish. I don't want to use electricity. I was hesitant to use a liner, but after researching wildlife ponds, it seems I can ensure holding water with a liner but I can have a layer of soil on the bottom. I'm hoping not to do any drain/clean maintenance each year, and it seems that I won't have to if I get my plants right.
If you look at my photo, the pond is about 14' across. The back left (where my fieldstone pile is) will be a triangular pergola with vines for shade and a hammock under it. There are 3 trees around the pond - black birch to the left and serviceberry and atlantic white cedar in the back. The back area is loaded with virginia creeper for ground cover as well as the fence. The front area from the rain barrel to the composter, I want to plant native bunch grasses of varying height (up to 6') and some pollinator-specific perennials for privacy and habitat for the frogs. The photo looks busy, but if they can make it across the street, there's woods with vernal pools that fill up with spring peepers each year. The fence is to keep out my two kids (toddler and infant).
The pond is marked out for a shallow marginal shelf, a 1'deeper area after that, and a 2' deep area in the inner ring.
My main questions are:
- is my goal of no draining/cleaning realistic if I really put the time in to selecting plants?
- I have a barrel pond that I used mosquito dunks in last summer and didn't have a problem. I'm counting on using that solution here at least until I get the pond established.
- Am I ok putting that topsoil layer back in the pond? Should I mix in pebbles/river rock in that marginal area?
- All that fieldstone... I want a natural pond, but I can't think of any natural ponds that are surrounded by a ring of fieldstone. Would love to get some ideas for maybe going halfway around with fieldstone and then a very gradual slope on the other half for easier access in/out for animals. Maybe use the rest of the stone for retaining walls.
- Is it big enough? I really want this to be an escape, which is why I want to get the grass area between the pond and the fence.
- should I have a net system in place for the fall? I realize the tree locations aren't exactly ideal, but they will provide at least a little bit of shade.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Can't wait to finally break ground in a few months. I used to be fascinated by ponds and frogs when I was a kid, so this is like a lifelong dream when I think about it, so I don't want to screw it up.