Creating a Wildlife Pond with Native Meadow

In January of this year we started back to work after the Christmas holidays on this large front garden in Brentry, North Bristol. The couple who had recently moved to this house were keen to have a garden that they could enjoy, rather than just a walkway to the front door.

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There was a lot of old membrane to lift with some paving and a few plants and shrubs. Some of the plants were kept to replant and others were taken to the big compost in the sky. As the garden was stripped back it was good to see our blank canvas that would eventually become a wildlife garden.

Once the green waste and other hard landscaping waste had been removed the boys set to work digging the pond. The pond was dug with shelves, and then a fleece underlay and liner over the top.

As the pond started being filled with water and stones were added to the edge, the garden began to take shape.

The stepping stone slabs had been removed and kept whilst we were landscaping the garden. These were then relaid as they hadn’t been very sturdy prior to this.

Whilst the stepping stones were being laid the boys began working on a new gate with trellis. This really changed the garden, giving structure, privacy and security.

The final stage of part one of this garden was to add more plum slate to the section of the garden nearest the house, as well as adding in soil conditioner – composted bracken down – a mixture of manure, bracken and organic matter. This garden has a very heavy clay soil so adding as much organic matter as possible going forward will do the garden good.

Towards the end of April, after a couple of weeks of sun we began planting our design on a rather wet day. This was of course a blessing as the rain made the soil easier to work. The planting plan consisted of lavender running along the pathway from the entrance gate, with mixed euphorbia, mixed pittosporum, an oak leaf hydrangea, and miscanthus around the walled edge.

We had native enriched meadow turf delivered, which is a fantastic product. It’s really simple to lay and cut, and perked up really quickly and looked great the next day. The plants in the meadow turf will grow and self seed themselves around the garden.

We played around with the meadow turf and removed some of the pond liner so that the meadow turf runs down the bank after this photo.

Mixed grasses were woven through the plum slate section to create a gravel garden area, with mixed echinacea, gaura and rudbeckia goldsturm throughout the rest of the garden. We intermingled this with the meadow turf, so that the plants blend.

We also added some marginal and pond plants. After putting the water lily into the depths, it was great to see it’s leaves making their way to the surface of the water a few days later.

We planted a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ near to the garden gate and above the pond, this will look so beautiful once it develops and grows. The final stage after the planting was to mulch the entire front garden using a decorative bark mulch. Mulching cannot be underestimated in gardening and really helps a garden to thrive, as well as finishing off the appearance.

We are so pleased with this garden, and can’t wait to revisit it next year to see how it’s coming along! Have a look on the Our Work section of our website to see final photos of this garden design.

Tags: biodiversity| garden gate| landscaping| planting| Ponds