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Front garden lily pond in full bloom in summer - Lily Nymphaea 'James Brydon'
The lily pond in full bloom

- summer

You've completed digging the pond hole so let's proceed to the final project stage - constructing your cottage garden pond.

Work Plan

  1. Construction: Let's build your pond -
    1. Tip: Best done on a warm day as the pvc pond liner will be more flexible and easier to work with;
    2. Using a thumbtack, attach the string to the wooden stakes you hammered into the ground before so as to measure the length and breadth of the pond:
      1. Starting with the first stake, measure the length of the hole by gently lowering the string into the pond over the plant shelf or shelves to the bottom, then run the string across the bottom and up the side of the hole to the stake opposite and fasten it with a thumbtack;
      2. Do the same for the breadth of the pond hole;
      3. Very important: Make quite sure that the string literally touches the ground at all points of it's journey - these measurements must be accurate otherwise you'll buy too much or - far, far worse! - too little pond liner.
        1. Use the tape measure to calculate the length of each piece of string and then multiply one by the other;
        2. The result - length x breadth - is the total area of the entire pond including sides, plant levels and edging;
        3. Now you know the amount of pond liner required to line the pond, go ahead and buy it and then proceed to the next step.
    3. Get lots of newspapers and:Digging -
      1. Spread them out evenly on the floor of the pond to a depth of roughly 7½ cm (3 inches);
      2. Gently wet the paper thoroughly with the hosepipe (let the water drip, don't spray it) and mash it with your hands (bit like making mud pies when we were kids) till it forms a papier-mache layer and contracts (it'll shrink considerably when wet) to a final layer of about 5 cm (2 inches);
      3. Line the lowest level of the pond wall(s) to a height of 30 cm(1 foot) with 5 cm (2 inches) of papier-mache as well.Digging -
    4. Place two long planks over the plant shelf areas on opposite sides of the deepest part of the hole and:
      1. Unfold the pond liner and feed it through the gap between the planks until you reach the bottom of the hole;
        Helps prevent damaging the newly-dug pond walls, though a little earth will fall in no matter how careful you are;
      2. Lower yourself into the hole, carefully tread the bottom flat and use your hands to fit the liner over the lowest level of the pond wall previously lined with papier-mache;Digging -

        Digging -
      3. Grab the hosepipe and fill the pond to a little below 30 cm(1 foot);
      4. Get back in the hole and work your way up the sides of the pond in 30 cm (1 foot) steps, spreading papier-mache 5 cm (2 inches) deep then gently patting the pond liner flat over it and fill with water to just below the papier-mache border;
      5. Continue till you've covered the second plant shelf and then remove the planks;
    5. Working from the outer edge of the pond:
      1. Line the first plant shelf and side with papier-mache, and fill with water to 1.5 cm (½ inch) below the level of the earth surrounding the pond; Digging -

        Digging -

        Digging -
      2. Hammer the stakes into the ground until they are horizontal with the surrounding soil and dig a work ditch in the earth around the outside of the frame about 15 cm (6 inches) deep;
      3. Cover the edges of the inner row of hardwood planks with folded newspapers 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep;
      4. Fold the remaining pond liner double and then fold it over the papier-mache plank edges;
      5. Fasten a second row of planks on the outer side of the stakes using the stainless steel screws and screw driver -
        the pond liner is protected from the sun and once your plants have grown or;
      6. Fill the ditch to a depth of 2.5 cm (1 inch).


You've successfully built a cottage garden pond! - a Gardener's Practical Guide to Natural Cottage Gardening

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