Anna Williams

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. Safe plants for your pond include:

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

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.