Making a Pond with Native Plants

Glennie Kindred
Saturday, 12th April 2014

Glennie Kindred shares some useful tips on choosing native pond plants and the basics to creating your own wildlife friendly pond.

A pond is essential for a healthy ecosystem but if you have a very small garden, a simple washing up bowl and some water mint is enough. Add a few rocks so that the birds can get a drink from it.

Remarkably all kinds of water creatures arrive in the water, carried by the birds perhaps. Similarly if you decide to add some frogspawn, then make sure there is some way for the frogs to be able to get in and out when grown. The bowl can be sunk in the ground or stones and plants in pots placed around it will help disguise the bowl. It can also be painted green on the outside to disguise it further.

If you want a bigger pond then pond liners or thick pond plastic can be used. Think carefully where you want to put it before digging, as once in place it is not easy to move.

If you put the pond in a dark corner, it tends to become murky from lack of light. We inherited the pond in our garden. It is right in the middle of the garden in a sunny spot. We walk past it every day and we often sit next to it. This means we are engaged with it and all its changing activity.

Once you have decided on location, shape and size, dig out the pond and line with at least 2cm of fine sand, firmed down well, before laying in the liner. A shallow area means that the birds can bathe and the frogs can get in and out. Extra rocks can be added for this. Stones around the edges will anchor it and as soon as edge plants have become established, it will settle in and become part of the landscape of your garden.

If you know someone with a pond ask them for a few water snails - they will soon breed and will help to keep the pond clean. If you can find someone in the spring with frogspawn, these can be added and the frogs will live around your garden and return every year to lay more frogspawn. It is surprising how quickly pond insects arrive, including dragonflies to lay their eggs. The birds of course will be forever enjoying the water. 

Native Pond Plants

Instead of imports from other countries buy native plants for the pond and pond edges.

ArrowheadSagittaria sagittifolia

An attractive native perennial found in shallow water, canals and slow moving river edges. Pretty white flowers on spikes that grow up to 90cm and leaves shaped like arrowheads.

Flowering Rush - Butomus umbellatus

An attractive native perennial with white flowers, found in ponds, ditches, canals and river edges. Flowers July to September.

Frog-bit - Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

An attractive native perennial of ponds and ditches with small white flowers that can also spread to pond edges.

Yellow Loosestrife - Lysimachia vulgaris

An attractive native perennial of pond and river edges. Flowers July to August and grows to a height of approximately 1m.

Yellow Flag Iris - Iris pseudacorus

A native perennial of marshes and wet woodlands. A very attractive garden pond plant that will also grow in the soil around the edges.

Yellow Water Lily or Brandy Bottle - Nuphar lutea

A native rhizome with beautiful yellow flowers that flower June to August.

Water Mint - Mentha aquatica

A native perennial of marshes and ponds.

Water Violet - Hottonia palustris

A native perennial found growing in ponds and ditches. It has beautiful pale lilac flowers that grow out of the water to a height of about 30-40cm. Flowers May to June.

White Water Lily - Nymphaea alba

A native rhizome with beautiful yellowy white flowers found in lakes, ponds and streams. The classic water lily with leaves floating on the top of the water.

Glennie Kindred is the author of Letting in the Wild EdgesWalking with Trees and Sacred Earth Celebration.

Further resources

How to make a pond and hugelkultur with pallets

Growing wild flowers


Joan Keeley |
Thu, 08/01/2015 - 09:41

For bigger pond you need EPDM pond liner to make it safe from leaks and damages. It is weather and temperature resistant and can keep pond without leak with warranty. To know more please visit