Adding a water feature to your yard will greatly increase wildlife habitat. Here are a few suggestions to help out with your project.
Depth: By creating varied depth within the pond, you can maximize the wildlife habitat potential. The pond doesn’t need to be any deeper that 0.5 metres, but a deeper section in the middle can help keep water cooler, and create fish habitat if you wish to add fish. Having shallow areas at the edges will allow non-aquatic birds to bathe. By creating shelves to vary the depth, you also create ledges for placing potted aquatic or marginal plants on. Preformed pond liners often have these shelves. Flexible pond liner can be molded around ledges and held in place with stones. Create a trickling sound to attract wildlife by installing a pump. Circulating the water will also prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Size: The size, or diameter, of your pond is up to you! Wildlife will be attracted to the smallest puddle, so any size pond will “work”. Water will remain cooler in summer in a larger pond.
Planting: Vegetation in and around your pond is essential for maintaining a healthy environment for the wildlife you attract. Try to achieve 60-75% vegetation cover of the waters surface to keep the water cool, and the algae under control. By planting a few woody shrubs around the pond, birds will have perches nearby. Plants that go into a pond are generally placed into three categories: floating, marginal and submerged. Here are a few suggestions of native species for a pond:
Marginal: grow on a ledge near pond’s edge; roots submerged, stems/leaves above water
Cattail Typha latifolia (can be aggressive in small ponds)
Wapato Sagittaria latifolia
Water plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica
Marsh cinquefoil Potentilla palustris
Submerged: grow in deeper parts of pond; roots and stems submerged, leaves float.
Smartweed Polygonum amphibium
Water lily Nuphar polysepalum
Water shield Brasenia schreberi
Floating: free floating, roots not in soil
This includes plants like duckweed (Lemna minor).
Native plants that grow well around ponds include:
Red osier dogwood Cornus stolonifera
Blue elderberry ambucus racemosa
Willow Salix spp.
Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus
Ocean spray Holodiscus discolor
Salmonberry Rubus spectabalis
Pacific ninebark Physocarpus capitatus
Hardhack Spirea douglasii