Common Frog (c) Philip PreceyCommon Frog (c) Philip Precey

One of the most effective ways to make your garden more wildlife friendly is to add some water!

Ponds can support a wide range of species, from dragonflies and amphibians to birds and small mammals.

You don't need much space for a pond, and making one doesn't have to be expensive or labour intensive. An old sink or garden planter can be enough to attract wildlife.

The perfect wildlife friendly pond will have:

  • shallow sloping edges
  • some open water
  • some plants with roots in the water but stem and flowers above the water
  • some aquatic plants that grow entirely in the water
  • some bank-side plants

Some pond plants can be very invasive and will cause trouble for your pond life.

Here is a list of safe plants for your pond:

Plants for deep water

  • Hornwort
  • Water crowfoot
  • Common water starwort
  • Spiked water milfoil

Plants for the shallows

  • Water forget me not
  • Water mint
  • Brooklime
  • Yellow flag iris
  • Flowering rush
  • Water plantain

Plants for the edges

  • Meadow sweet
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Ladies smock
  • Marsh marigold
  • Rushes or sedges

Plants to avoid

  • Curly waterweed (Lagarosiphon major)
  • Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis)
  • Nuttall's pondweed (Elodea nuttallii)
  • Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
  • Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)
  • Floating water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora, Ludwigia uruguayensis and Ludwigia peploides)*
  • Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)*
  • Parrots feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)*
  • Australian swamp stone-crop (Crassula helmsii)*
  • Water fern (Azolla filiculoides)*

* These plants have been banned for sale in the UK.

To avoid accidentally spreading non-native invasive species into the wider countryside, never move plants or animals between ponds and always compost any plant material that’s been removed.

Use our downloadable guides below for more information about how to manage or restore an existing pond and how to create a new one.


FilenameFile size
Wildlife Pond Pack5.43 MB
Cunning Containter1.13 MB
Ponds Fact Sheet 708.37 KB
How to encourage Amphibians Fact Sheet1.19 MB