Natural Marginal Pond Planting without Using Aquatic Baskets in Lined Ponds
All ponds need to be able to contain water without any leakage. Natural clay bottomed ponds and lakes take care of these themselves but if we want to construct a pond in our back garden, it will either need to be a pre-molded fiberglass pond or a lined pond. Both types will require excavation, but if you choose to have a lined pond, simply by following a few basic steps, you can plant your pond plants straight into the soil in exactly the same way that you would plant up a natural pond. This process and idea was presented to me some years ago and I have now decided to share it with everyone. To find out how, just follow the steps below
1) Shelves for varying water depths
When digging your pond, you will need several different shelf levels as different pond plants require different planting depths. 8 inch shelves for shallow marginal pond plants planted in aquatic baskets will be ideal and a further two levels of 12-14 inches and 18-24 inches, will give you plenty of variation to house Water Lilies and other deep water pond plants. However, when it comes to shallow marginal pond plants (the 8 inch shelf) there is a natural solution that does not involve using aquatic planting baskets.
2) Collecting your turfs
When excavating your desired pond design, you will need to collect a large quantity of deep cut turfs and place them to one side. The turfs needs to be about 4-6 inches deep and should come from where the 8 inch shelf will be located. To make things much simpler, you could just excavate the whole area down to 8 inches deep first and then you can then decide on the shape of your next level. Marginal shelves can be any shape and can swoop in towards the middle of the pond or in some areas; disappear completely. Remember, this is your design and the more interesting shapes and curves you add, the more interesting the pond will look when planted up with your chosen pond plants.
3) Looking after your turfs
Its very important to keep your excavated marginal turf upright with the grass on top. Keep them well watered until you have finished excavating and lining your pond otherwise the grass will turn yellow and die off.
4) Putting your turfs in place
When you have finished digging and you are happy with your different levels and marginal shelves, you can then add your pond liner ready for the turfs you kept to one side, watered and ready to be placed back on to the marginal shelving so to construct a base in which to plant your marginal pond plants. The soil level can vary from 2 -3 inches below the water to being just above the water at the edge of the pond. It’s essential that THE TURFS ARE PLACED UPSIDE DOWN with the grass underneath and the soil on top.
5) The marginal plants
You should now have shallow planting shelf’s with a good substrate of upside down turfs in which to plant your various marginal pond plants of your choice, without the need to use aquatic planting baskets. Planting this way will ensure that the soil won’t just wash down into the deeper water levels as soon as it rains: the roots from the grass that is now upside down and underneath will hold the soil together.
6) Now you have beautiful marginal areas!
The end result will simply be outstanding. The grass underneath the soil of the upside down turf will want to survive and start to grow up towards the water level or just above the water level near the pond edge, the grass will change direction and grow upwards amongst the marginal pond plants giving a natural look to the edge of the pond hiding all exposed pond liner, and provide a safe entrance and exit for all visiting wildlife. A few months after spring planting, you will have the most stunning, natural looking garden pond. Not to mention all the wildlife it will certainly attract.
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