During late summer of last year, inspired by the RSPB's "Homes for Nature" campaign, I installed a mini pond in our garden. As we live in a rental property, I wasn't able to commit to a full-size pond (one day I will though! It's one of my dreams) so I used an unused cat litter tray as a base and edged it with rocks. It served well as a small source of water for the birds mainly but aside from a toad I found nearby and some fly and mosquito larvae, it wasn't particularly successful at attracting wildlife.
Last week, we had visitors to the house who were accompanied by some rather energetic young children. Unfortunately these children were rather handsy and I found out after they had left that one of them had picked up the rocks edging the pond and dropped them from a height into the water, cracking the bottom of the tray and draining all the water away. Let me tell you, I would be ten times more angry about this if I'd had any wildlife occupying it! Still, I was a little peeved but it actually have me the perfect opportunity to build a better one from scratch.
I was only able to make the hole slightly wider as there are large tree roots either side which I definitely had no intention of destroying. I extended it further outwards and made a shallow sloping ledge to allow any wildlife to easily get in and out. I also made the center of the hole deeper.
I included two oxygenating plants; ivy-leafed crowfoot and cotton bud rush. I'm hoping these will not only help to prevent algae from growing but, as they are both flowering plants, they will attract insects. I've also arranged a group of paddlestones around the front to create some hidey holes and piles of pebbles at the deepest part of the pond.
It looks a lot more pond-like now in comparison to the litter tray version! It will take a few days for the water to naturalise as I didn't have any rainwater to use but once it has, I'm looking forward to seeing if any local critters fancy moving in. At the very least, the birds will be happy to have their drinking/bathing station all spruced up!