Urban Pond

We created a wildlife pond in a shady and rocky area of our garden May 2020. We live in a 1930’s semi-detached house in Halifax.

Design and implementation

We decided that we would turn an area of our garden into a pond. The bottom of our garden must have been used to dump the old rubble and bricks when our street of houses was built in the 1930’s. It is this area that is shady and rocky that we built our pond.

We used a pond liner – different types are available and watched a clip from BBC’s Gardeners World on how to build a pond. We dug and landscaped over a couple of days and then lined the pond with a bag of sand to smooth the sharp edges. After this we laid down cardboard, old material instead of buying felt – and then laid the liner.

We filled the pond – it is best to do this naturally as the water will be pure form the rain. We have rescued all the natural stone and some bricks that we found digging out the pond to build a ‘pond wall’ for insects and amphibians to hide in.

Slow The Flow clarification note:
There was some debate about whether this type of project, being a permanent water body, actually ‘Slows The Flow’! We think that it does. Perhaps not as much as some other projects, granted – but there is likely to be some capacity when rainfall begins, due to evaporation. Any overflow is then dispersed to soak into the ground nearby. This particular pond is actually fed by overflow from water butts (see pic). And, of course, the additional Green Infrastructure benefits of ‘green’ SuDS project should not be underestimated.”

We are now building up the pond with native pond and bog plants – including oxengenator plants – Bog pimpernel, Needle spikerush, Cape water lily, water mint, water forget-me-nots and home grown water cress. We are now waiting for the wildlife to move in. We have lots of interested insects and larvae in the water, we are waiting for the frogs to find it.

It has transformed the bottom area of the garden and interested all the family. Definitely a worthwhile project. We know it will also benefit the wildlife – the local bats are certainly enjoying having more insects around.

Benefits and constraints

The pond was fairly easy to build and for a minimal cost – the pond liner and plants. The other materials we recycled from the garden. The benefits are to the wildlife – the pond will attract many different species – we know that insects love it, but birds also take the opportunity to use it too. Bees buzz around it and we suspect larger nocturnal animals also may visit. We are hoping that frogs and toads will find it too. – but it is early days.

There are no real constraints – the area is shaded and the soil clay and rubble. So the area is perfect for a pond. The pond has given us and area to sit and watch wildlife and has been an important boost to our families mental health during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

Further opportunities

Yes, we are taking cuttings and splitting plants in order to build up plant cover around the pond. In addition to this we are creating stick piles and piles of grass cuttings in order to provide habitat and hiding places for insects and amphibians.


  • Pond liner 5m x 5m £100. These range in price – shop around. Monty Don’s advice was to get the best that you can afford.
  • 1 x bag of sand (reused from a previous project) £3
  • Stones and bricks – dug up from the garden over years of gardening £0
  • Pond plants
  • Bog Pimpernel £4
  • Needle Spike rush £4
  • Cape water Lily £15
  • Water mint £4
  • Water forget me nots £4
  • Graft and hard work £0 (time and effort about 16 hours work)
  • Brick built seat – 2 decking planks £12

Total £150 approx.

Thanks to Will, Kirsty, Fred and Milly Carver who completed this project.