Wildlife Pond in Esher, Surrey

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We recently completed the design and build of a wildlife pond for clients in Esher near Sandown (above), in an under-used area of their garden that lacked inspiration (below).

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Looking at the area, we decided on complementing the shape of the space with a pleasing, curved pond which would be shallow at one end so that wildlife could get in and out of it easily, adding a raised area on one side so that a small trickling stream could fall gently into the main body of water. At the far end of the pond, we also created a small herbaceous bed to help the pond nestle into the surrounding greenery.

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The combination of scented shrubs and insect loving perennials will all eventually help the wildlife nature of the pond.

Access to the back garden was limited and we had to negotiate a side passage with a narrow door and a walk of about 150 metres each time we wanted to fill the skip with the spoil from the dig of the pond (which meant a lot of hard labour). The soil was also full of roots from two trees which had previously been felled and ground down – we first carefully removed all traces of the root and used a one-ton digger (ie. one that could fit through the doorway) and a skip-loader to take the soil to the skip outside of the garden.

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We decided to locate the pump outside of the pond and give it its own, small chamber. This means it will be easier to maintain and save the client from trying to locate it at the bottom of the pond if it ever needs attending to. (This is an effective method and also prevents the filter from getting clogged up with debris.)

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We used a heavy underlay before placing a very thick liner over the whole dig and created a raised area for the small stream. Hand chosen rocks – which we had selected from a quarry in Sussex – were positioned to form an edge and were used as naturally as possible so that in time, when the plants grow over them and are well established, they will look as if they have always been there.

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The whole pond was covered in different size shingle and pebbles, with small bits of quarried stone placed sympathetically around the edges. Plants were sourced from a specialist water plants supplier in Dorset – by next Spring the pond will be looking very colourful. And by the time it's had a season behind it the pond and surrounding planting will be starting to settle nicely. We raked and seeded the soil around the edges so that the grass from the existing lawn will grow back evenly and knit against the sides of the liner.

The clients are overjoyed with their new pond and say how seamlessly it blends into their garden. The tiny frogs that keep rustling below the leaves in other parts of the garden are steadily making their way to the pond within no time at all – and although the owners didn't want any fish in the pond – the water will before long be a hive of wildlife activity!

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The newly finished pond in the Autumn sunshine

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