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Making an Ornamental Duck Pond as a Garden Feature

Several years ago, we decided to create a garden feature, that would not only enhance the fontal view of our home but would provide a secure and attractive area in which to keep a small flock of ducks. Having selected a suitable site which was both sheltered and visible the hard work of excavation (by hand) and disposal of the spoil began. We decided on a roughly circular pond about four metres in diameter and one metre deep constructed like a saucer with shallow sloping sides to allow the ducks easy access and egress.

Having dug the hole, all sharp stones were carefully removed and a layer of sand spread all over to protect the polythene liner. A liner of builders quality visquene was fitted in the hole with a large overlap all round to allow for stretching once the concrete was applied.

The concrete was a "dry" mix of six shovels of sand two of gravel and two of cement laid with a plasterers trowel to a depth of four inches all over. The concrete is not waterproof which is why the liner is required however the concrete keeps everything in place and prevents the ducks feet from ripping the liner.

Stones were laid in the wet concrete around the edge to make the pond look more natural with a three inch pipe set in as an overflow. Care must be taken when setting out the pond to ensure that the upper rim is roughly level so that the water covers the concrete when the pond is filled. Once the concrete is set, any excess visquene can be cut off and the more interesting and satisfying work of creating and decorating the enclosure can begin.

The outer enclosure is a rectangle with rounded ends slightly offset from the pond to allow plenty of room for planting, housing for the ducks and other ornamental features. The fencing around the outside was constructed of half round five foot stakes set at two metre spacings with a half round rail nailed all round the top. The fence itself was half inch twillweld nailed to the post and rail and concreted into the ground at the bottom for total security and of course weed control. The whole enclosure is covered in a "tent" of nylon net supported on a central goalpost arrangement to allow standing room. To give some movement and sound to the area we decided to incorporate a waterfall. This consisted of a one metre high stone cairn with a Chinese clam shell set on it slightly overhanging the pond with a pumped water supply to it. This forms a very attractive cascade when the pump is running.

To provide shade and colour the inside was planted with non poisonous (no berries) evergreen shrubs, primroses in the rockeries for spring and pansies for summer. Other plants in pots are placed inside according to the season. The whole of the ground area is covered in pea shingle which is free draining, easily washed down with a garden hose and raked out to maintain cleanliness. The ducks find this very comfortable underfoot.

Having placed a wooden open ended barrel inside to provide shelter all that was necessary was to install the ducks. This is now a place where we spend some pleasant moments just watching with a cup of tea on a warm summer morning smiling often as we watch these little ducks go about their daily routine. Equally they lift your spirits on a damp winter afternoon. They always oblige with the antics they are famous for. Even on moonlit nights they are always busy doing something.

Merryl Lloyd
This article first appeared in June 2002 Newsletter
Anyone wishing for further details or discussion regarding this article please feel free to contact Merryl on 01646 692 115.


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