Design solutions: Ponds & Pools
Andrew Wilson explores the issues raised when installing a pond in your garden and offers advice on how to construct the most natural-looking, eco-friendly pool that’s low on upkeep but high on pleasure
How to line your pond
Planting in ponds
Pools without planting
KEY POINTS TO TAKE AWAY
- It is important to disguise and cover the liners as they emerge from ponds and pools. Firstly, this is unsightly and, secondly, exposure to sunlight can weaken and damage the material, which becomes more prone to leakage.
- Keep pond shapes simple so that excavation is easier. Introduce planting to create visual interest and a naturalistic quality. Complex shapes often produce shallower and narrower water, which will silt up and warm quickly in sunlight.
- Butyl rubber is available in sheet form but can be glued or welded to create large-scale pools. With larger ponds, be aware of the local water table. If this varies dramatically, pressure from a rising water table can force water out of a lined pond. Liners can then be vented to allow pressures to be equalised.
- Don’t install lighting within a pool. This will reveal the lining, wiring, pump and detritus within the pool. Instead, light objects or planting on the far bank. Their reflection will be seen on the surface of the water after dark creating a more dramatic result.
- Existing streams and rivers cannot be dammed or altered. The Environment Agency is responsible for all watercourses and must be contacted before any work is considered. In general, create separate, self-contained ponds that do not overflow into nearby watercourses.
- Sunlight can create problems in ponds and water features in terms of solar gain, but it would be more problematic to site water in heavy shade. Sunlight brings life to water but does need to be controlled with careful planting allied with a good pool size and depth.
Useful books and websites
by Anthony Archer-Wills (Frances Lincoln, 1993) A much more practical guide packed with useful advice.
Andrew Wilson is a garden designer, writer and lecturer, and an assessor and judge for RHS show gardens.
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