Friday, April 13, 2012

Building a new wildlife pond..... for free ?!!?

Hello All,

I think I left last time in the middle of building my new wildlife pond and with pictures of the old bath tub and a big pile of old pond liner! Many of you I am sure now think I'm completely mad and must be wondering how on earth I can rescue this mess and turn it into a small pond!!??.... On top of this I think you will also remember that I said I planned to do this as cheaply as possible of if possible for free!?....Can't be possible can it???...

So without further ado lets crack on and see what the last couple of weekends have produced!....

So here is the pond just after being finished. As you can see to save money I used materials which were available to me, recycling what I could! The rocks were 'free to collector' and will give good hiding places to all manner of wildlife. I have filled between the rocks with soil that when planted will soften the look slightly.

The wooden stakes were pulled out from the original path edge and reset to create separation between  the pond and the path which has been given another good layer of bark.

This old wheelbarrow was left by the previous owners and was sat rusting in the hedge. In true Higgy fashion I filled it with soil and have planted it with irises to add another feature and recycle an item which would otherwise be skipped! I do however have a little more work to do here to settle it into the scheme a little better!

The logs I saved following the original pruning of the trees when we first moved in and I have been waiting for the right project to use them in! If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the picture below you will see that the edge of the pond is actually a good distance away from the main body water. I have filled these shallow margins with aquatic soil and pebbles to give boggy areas which will eventually be filled with a variety of irises and bog plants. The large log you see here is actually laid across the margins and is already home to a toad!!...   

The final picture shows where the pond is situated next to the wildlife area which is linked by the bark covered paths which run through it and and completely around the pond. At this stage the pond looks a little harsh but as the rocks weather and the plants grow up it should hopefully sit seamlessly in the wildlife area of my garden.... 

So how much did this little wildlife pond cost me to build? Is it something that anyone could do?.....
Here is my breakdown of materials used and their cost.... judge for yourselves!

  1. Tin Bath ..... Rescued from being skipped ... Free
  2. Liner ..... Saved from temporary fish holding tank when we moved ... Free
  3. Cement Pavers (used for levelling and foundations etc) ... Free to collector
  4. Cement/mortar .... bought from Wickes .... £12
  5. Logs .... Saved from tree pruning ..... Free
  6. Rocks .... Free to collector 
  7. Pebbles & other landscaping stones ... recycled from around the garden ... Free
  8. Soil / Compost ... free from garden
  9. Wooden path edge posts ... removed and reused from original path ... Free
  10. Water .... from Koi pond .... Free
  11. Plants ... Mostly cuttings from other plants although a few bought from ebay at 50p - £1 each ....£8
  12. Pathway Bark ... Wickes offer earlier in the year 3 for £10 
So adding up all that I spent, this whole project cost me no more than £30!! I think that this is actually really good value and shows what can be done with a bit of effort and without spending too much money! What's even better is that two weeks on I have already seen diving beetles, water boat men, spiders and of course my resident Toad in the pond!! Now to me that's already worth every penny and every drop of sweat!?

Can you do it? I don't see why anyone couldn't do this for as little money as I have. The key to successful recycling is to see the opportunity in everything. The old bath tub was someone else's scrap, which they were more than happy to have taken away! The large logs I saved 18months ago as I knew at some stage they would fit into a project like this wildlife pond. Keep an eye on your local papers and watch out for the 'free to collector' adverts, heavy items such as rocks are difficult for some people to get rid of and they are actually grateful to have you dispose of them!

Unfortunately time has run out on me again so I will have to leave this post at the end of this project but will update you again very soon on a couple of other projects I have  now started!!

I think my last note must be about my feathered visitors who are all now actively building nests in the hedges and trees here. I spent and hour with my four year old daughter yesterday just watching a female Blackbird collecting nest building materials, she then transported them to some dense Ivy growing on our fence and started building her nest! A great way to have quality time with young ones whilst being educational at the same time! Unfortunately no pictures from this particular resident but here's one of the many Blue Tits currently visiting and nesting in Higgy's garden!....

One of the many resident Blue Tits in Higgy's garden
 Finally a few other pictures taken in the garden recently....


Blackcaps have now become regular visitors, which is great to see!

Hoverfly enjoying the unseasonably sunny weather... 

Ribes Sanguineum (Flowering Current)...

As always a big thank you for reading my blog I hope that it will inspire some of you to have a go at recycling, and trying to garden as cheaply as possible whilst continuing to get pleasing results!?