Biodiversity, permaculture: the benefits of a pond in your garden

The ponds are under threat in France. These water points are nevertheless essential for biodiversity and enable us as humans to come into contact with a part of nature around us. In any case, it is the view of Frédéric Proniewski, author of Create a pond – A water point, a natural bathing place, published February 2022 (Ulmer editions). In a column published on the site of news reporterwrites the director of a public laboratory for environmental studies and analysis in Le Havre: “Depending on the space available, garden, terrace or even balcony (in a watertight container with a minimum capacity of a few tens of liters), in the countryside or in the city, it is possible to create this water point that could form an oasis of biodiversity.” Are you seduced by the experience? We explain how to do that.

Photo: Shutterstock

What is a pond?

Not to be confused with a pond, a pool is, according to the definition from the National Wetlands Research Programme, “a body of water” the size of which is variable but should not exceed 5,000 m², while the depth on its side can be about 2 meters. We do not distinguish between ponds of natural origin or artificially created by humans. Their common point: they are a gold mine for the development of biodiversity.

“As a child I was fascinated by the ability of the tiniest puddle to become populated with a teeming life of tiny organisms that I could see with my still new eyes.”

Frederic Proniewskizin a column published on the site of news reporter

Why is building a pond a “militant act”?

According to Frédéric Proniewski, building a pond in the house is a militant act. The biological engineer explains that such a water point “plays a major role for the biodiversity and microclimate of the site”† Indeed, this expanse of water “will serve as habitat, breeding and feeding grounds for a multitude of insects, worms, mollusks, batrachians, fish and birds”

But the role of a pond does not end there. It also forms during the summer “a moisture reserve for the benefit of the surrounding vegetation”and in winter it reflects the sun’s rays, benefiting the surrounding plants and trees.

Finally, Frédéric Proniewski believes that a pond “attraction” and “pedagogical virtues” for young audiences as well as adults. Awareness of biodiversity and the importance of water in our ecosystem is more relevant than ever in light of the latest IPCC publications.

“You will understand that the ecological importance of a pond is multiple. It concerns both the balance of natural ecosystems and the balance of humans.”

Frederic Proniewskizin a column published on the site of news reporter

Photo: Shutterstock

What are the legal restrictions?

Are you convinced? Before you rush into building your pond, there are certain legal restrictions to be aware of. On the site of the public water intelligence service we learn that it is forbidden to build a pond “less than 35 meters from water points or even 50 meters from houses”† When in doubt, it is better to contact your town hall and propose your project.

How do you install a pond in your garden?

Once you’re confident you can dig in your yard, you’ll get:

  • a tarpaulin
  • with a shovel
  • a backhoe depending on the quality of your soil
  • sand
  • rocks
  • some water

For the rest, check out this tutorial, from the YouTube channel JardinbioBzh:

What other benefits can be gained from a pond?

Besides the pleasure of contributing to biodiversity and observing insects and animals in your garden, according to Frédéric Proniewski, a pond is also useful for several reasons: when you maintain your pond, you can collect and compost certain plants and sediments that, according to the specialist, represent “an interesting source of biomass for the fertility of the vegetable garden”† You can also use this water point to “to grow food plants, such as water chestnuts, or decorative plants for making bouquets”, advises the engineer further. Finally, in warm weather, you can also cool off and enjoy a beautiful moment in communion with nature.

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