Here are 3 reasons why you should create a wildlife pond

3 Reasons Why You Should Create a Wildlife Pond

Do you have water on your property? If you don’t, you should think about creating a wildlife pond. A simple wildlife pond can give a huge boost to your property and provide many benefits. From supporting wildlife to keeping garden pests in balance and providing beauty, a wildlife pond can add a lot to your property. Let’s dive into why you should create a wildlife pond.

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Before we dive into the reasons why you should create a wildlife pond, let’s look at what a wildlife pond is.

While a natural pond or wetland provides fantastic habitat for wildlife, not every property has one. Seasonal ponds or rain catchments dry up in the summertime. And it’s not always practical to create wetland habitat on your site.

But even in a small backyard (or front yard), you can create a small human-built pond using either clay or liners to seal it.

Though it takes a little more to make a small backyard pond into a true wildlife pond.

For one, when you create a wildlife pond, you should manage it primarily for wildlife. This means not adding any fish to it and avoiding the use of any chemicals.

Really, this means setting it up to provide a diverse habitat for wildlife as opposed to being focused on human needs. There should be plants, rocks, and even logs in a true wildlife pond.

It should end up looking like a pond or wetland you would find out in a natural area.

The reason for this is that you want it to become a home to all sorts of beneficial critters. And they won’t show up without their needs being met. They need water, but they also need shelter and food.

And you don’t want to put fish in your pond.

The reason for avoiding fish is that they may eat a lot of the beneficial critters (frog tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, etc.). They also add a lot of excess nutrients to the water, making it harder to keep the water clean.

So when you create a wildlife pond, just keep the focus on the wildlife.

Are you ready to learn more about why you should create a wildlife pond? Keep reading, but before you do, remember—creating a wildlife pond is just one way to work with wildlife on your property. To help you work with wildlife to make your property come alive, we’ve created a free guide all about how to work with wildlife. Grab yours today so you can start working with wildlife to cultivate abundance for people, plants and wildlife on your property.

1. Create a Wildlife Pond to Support Wildlife

Create a wildlife pond to support wildlife

Frogs are just one of many types of wildlife that will be drawn to your wildlife pond.

The first reason to create a wildlife pond is, well, to support wildlife. While that may seem obvious, it’s also the chief benefit that these ponds bring to the land.

Having a source of water on your property will greatly improve how well your property supports wildlife. And this is especially true in the summer.

But it isn’t just about the water.

A wildlife pond should also have logs and rocks to create habitat and places for wildlife to take shelter. These can be added to the pond, itself, and to the area around it.

It should also have native plants—both aquatic/emergent plants that are actually in the water, and upland plants around it. A native mini-meadow is a great addition to a wildlife pond.

Wild Tip:

When you create a wildlife pond that supports a wide range of beneficial wildlife, you shouldn’t have issues with mosquitos. But keeping the water moving with a pump and waterfall will also help with this.

A wildlife pond isn’t just the pond—it’s also the area around it. And when you create a pond with all of these elements, you create an area that will support a wide range of wildlife.

Amphibians like frogs and salamanders will likely move into your new wildlife pond. But other wildlife such as birds, garter snakes, and many others will also use it.

Your wildlife pond can be an important stop for migrating birds to rehydrate in the middle of a long journey. You never know who might turn up.

And if you create a wildlife pond near your garden or other food growing areas, it can attract wildlife to these areas, which has the additional benefit of helping to keep pests in balance.

2. Manage Pests by Attracting Their Predators with a Wildlife Pond

Garter snakes need open space to sun themselves

Garter snakes here in western Washington tend to hangout near water sources. Creating a wildlife pond will help attract and support them.

I placed our wildlife pond right next to our kitchen garden and terrace garden, and fairly close to one of our food forests.

I did this for a couple reasons. One was to add a sense of beauty to these areas. But the biggest reason was to help manage pests.

Here in western Washington, a wildlife pond will attract frogs and garter snakes along with other wildlife. But frogs and garter snakes will eat slugs, making them great to have near a garden.

This is one reason I call garter snakes a gardener’s best friend.

The average western Washington garden in May can have around 6,000 slugs in it. Just in time for all the young vegetables to be growing!

While there are numerous ways to deal with slugs, my favorite is to support the critters that eat them. I want slug predators to deal with them so I don’t have to.

And garter snakes are a great native predator of slugs here in western Washington.

All you have to do is provide habitat for them near your garden and they will happily go about eating slugs for you.

Wild Tip:

Some people use ducks and sometimes chickens to help manage slugs. This is a great option, but personally, I would rather just support the predators that naturally eat slugs. These predators will happily eat slugs 24/7 without you needing to manage them.

But a wildlife pond will also support dragonflies, frogs, toads, and many other types of wildlife—especially if you add a mini-meadow around it.

The result will be that the wildlife on your property will be more in balance than it otherwise would be. That means less pest problems, less headaches, and more abundance for people, plants and wildlife.  

And seeing all the wildlife that a wildlife pond attracts really does add to the beauty of the land.

3. A Wildlife Pond Brings Beauty to the Land

One reason to create a wildlife pond is for the beauty

I just love our wildlife pond—it really adds a lot of beauty to our property.

The sound of flowing water can add so much to a property. It’s why people buy little fountains to put on their decks.

It’s just a lovely sound that helps you to relax.

And water is simply beautiful, even when it isn’t moving.

Creating a wildlife pond is a great way to add this beauty to your property even if you live in an urban area.

But the beauty a wildlife pond brings isn’t just about the sound of flowing water or the sight of crystal blue under a sunny sky. It’s about creating something that really brings a part of the natural world home.

When you create a wildlife pond you will be amazed at how much more wildlife will be drawn to it.

Even while our wildlife pond was being built, birds started to show up and use it. And now that it’s completed, we often see birds hanging around it looking for food and taking baths.

We love hearing the sounds of frogs croaking while we’re sitting outside, or even through an open window of our home. And come spring, the area around the pond will be abuzz with life.

All of this helps create a landscape that is simply alive and abundant—especially when combined with other elements that help to heal the living world, such as perennial foods and native plants.

We’re a part of nature. And when you take steps like creating a wildlife pond, you help to bring nature home. And something inside us really comes to life when we’re surrounded by the beauty of the natural world.

Creating a wildlife pond is a wonderful way to do this in your backyard.

Getting Started with Your Own Pond

You don't have to spend a lot to create a wildlife pond

I built our wildlife pond using a shovel and mostly salvaged or used parts. Only the pump, electrical cord, and some pipes were new. The liner consists of 2 used billboards.

There are lots of guides out there on how to build a backyard pond. You can follow those or hire someone to build it for you.

But make sure that you’re creating a wildlife pond and not just a backyard pond.

Remember a wildlife pond should have the following features:

  • No fish and no chemicals
  • Native plants in and around the pond
  • Logs and rocks for habitat

A wildlife pond is for the wildlife first and foremost.

And don’t forget to make it easy for wildlife to get in and out of the water. Logs can be used to create some simple ramps but otherwise make sure the edges are gently sloped instead of being vertical.

Wild Tip:

A waterfall is a great addition to a wildlife pond. It will help to naturally keep the water clean by adding oxygen to it which supports beneficial pond life. And also don’t forget to add a lot of native aquatic plants to your pond. These will add more oxygen to the water, support wildlife and help clean the water.

Also consider adding a variety of depths to your pond. This will result in a greater diversity of habitat than a pond that has a uniformed depth.

And to help you get started with creating a wildlife pond of your own, here are some great resources that I used to help me build ours.

  1. How to build a pond for wildlife
  2. How to create a mini pond for wildlife

The first one will show you the basic steps to take to create your own wildlife pond. And if you’ve got very limited space, check out the 2nd one to learn how to create a mini pond for wildlife. One of these could even fit on an apartment balcony.

Regardless of the size, when you create a wildlife pond, you will be working with wildlife to help heal the living world around you.

And you will be well on your way to cultivating abundance for people, plants and wildlife.

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Daron

Daron is a restoration ecologist, a lifelong gardener, and the founder of Wild Homesteading. He manages the restoration program for a local non-profit, and he applies restoration and sustainable gardening techniques on his family’s own wild homestead. He loves sharing the joy of growing food with his two beautiful children. In addition, to running this site Daron manages the restoration program for a local non-profit and is a husband to an amazing wife who makes this site and the homestead possible and daddy to 2 perfect kids.

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