Tom Phillips, from Bristol-based All Garden Designs, explains how water features can add a touch a magic
WATER adds a touch of magic to any garden and now is a good time to be planning the inclusion of a pond or water feature. The position of a pond is the first consideration. If you can take advantage of a semi- shady position this helps to avoid the water warming up too much during the summer months.
A deep pond will also help keep the water cool, which in turn decreases the growth of algae. As a rule, the deeper the pond, the cooler and more stable the water.
This pond was added to the rear of a Clifton garden, where, in summer, the trees behind provide a pleasant, dappled area of sunlight and shade across the water.
There is also a flow of water from the upper pool via a small intermediate pond to the larger, lower pond.
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We built a stone wall to retain the upper pond and laid a small stone patio giving a sunny spot to sit near the water. An archway leads through to the rear part of the garden. If you are putting in electrics to power a pond pump, it is well worth incorporating lights around the pond as this adds a further dimension and an interesting atmosphere at night.
Here, a filter system was added to the water, which keeps the water crystal clear. This is a good idea for a small to medium sized pond, but if you are planning a larger pond you can create an environment which doesn't need pumps or filters.
With a certain volume of water, and if the right balance of wildlife and plants is maintained, clear water can be achieved. Water snails, oxygenating plants and semi shady conditions are vital.
In this pond, built for a wildlife cameraman, the water takes up 80 per cent of the available garden. Plenty of planting shelves were provided for marginal plants, while a pergola provides a shady sitting area nearby, which also helps shade part of the pond from the sun.
Surface plants such as water lilies also help shade the surface and give shelter to the smaller pond animals. Native plants were added to attract wildlife and all were contained in baskets, which prevents the plants from spreading too fast and choking the pond.
In the final pond, a small decorative bridge crosses the water leading to a swing seat placed in the corner of the garden.
At the rear of the seat is a small raised viewing platform tucked away in the corner of the garden.
From the seat, the view across the water to the rest of the garden is very relaxing. This is a smaller pond than the other two, but, with the inclusion of a small circulating pump, the water balance can be maintained. There is a certain amount of maintenance required to keep ponds balanced. Water plants do outgrow their position and, from time to time, will need dividing to reduce their size.
By choosing a semi shady position, it is likely that falling leaves will be a problem in autumn, but particularly with small ponds, a suitable net can be secured over the surface to catch the leaves, avoiding the need to fish them out later.
Contact Tom Phillips on 0117 951 1923 or 07739 456765, and for more information, see www.allgardendesigns.co.uk.