Creating the Pond Timeline

Having created a successful but very small pond in our previous garden in Warwick we aimed to put a larger pond in the Morwell garden. The slope of the garden and the exceptionally stony soil are challenging in themselves and it was plain that manually digging a deep enough hole wouldn’t be a quick job. However two trees planted close together and not in the best of health suggested a solution, cut down the trees and have the stumps removed creating two holes for the possibility of connected ponds.



In January 2017 we had the very sick cypress cut down, and later in the year when the opportunity arose and there was a man with a digger on site, we got the first stump pulled out. I soon learned from this that stump roots aren’t easy to cut up with a chainsaw - there are so many small stones trapped you can’t avoid blunting the saw in no time.
September 2017 and we’d cut the other cypress down to a stump ourselves. In the intervening months since the first stump was removed of course the hole created had filled with weeds and wild strawberries. We considered the idea of cutting the stump into some kind of useable seat and having just one pond, but it really isn’t that easy to shape so many random upright pieces.


Practically I couldn’t reduce the stump to less than as seen on the left in July 2018, any further cutting would need a much bigger chainsaw. As well as filling up with weeds the first pond hole slowly filled up with soil as we cleared the weeds. The teazel was magnificent, but we never got another despite leaving it to seed itself. 7th September Mike Cann and his remarkable CAT digger were passing and for a very modest fee he agreed to uproot the second cypress stump, took just a couple of minutes. The tracks from the CAT disappeared in weeks.
15th October, the second stump has been slowly sliced into pieces and the wood taken away and stored for burning. No further progress was made for almost two years.


The weeds, brambles, nettles and wild strawberries had completely taken over when work restarted on 8 May. Voles had built runs and holes all over the place but soon moved out when activity started. The first version was nowhere near deep enough so more digging and stone removal was necessary to create a suitably deep shape for the upper pond, and the bank built up to counteract the slope. By 28 May the upper pond was dug out with a flat edge part of the way around for placing pond marginal plants, then right by 24 June the lower pond digging is finished and all was ready for the liner to be installed.
7 July and the butyl liners arrived. A great bonus was having the space to lay a liner out on the grass to cut the underlay to size. What we didn’t think of… a sunny day and black butyl liner gets very hot. The grass underneath was rather scorched! The lower pond was first to be filled, Lesley carefully adjusting the folds in the liner as the weight of the water pressed it down.
Next day the upper pond received the same treatment (left). Then the job of landscaping and hiding the butyl started in earnest, with the big stones being positioned first. The connecting waterfall between the ponds, middle right, had several incarnations before we felt we had it right. A solar-powered pump was installed in the lower pond to keep the flow going on bright days.
Local stone was sourced from the nearby quarry and some slabs laid as edging, here still being arranged for the upper pond edge. Four concrete circles make footsteps in the space between the ponds and the platform seat has a temporary position which turned out to be just right. This was 11 August and already a toad had been spotted in the water.
2 October. The construction work is finished and the basic landscaping done. The pair of sack pouches on the edge of the lower pond lasted a very short time as the birds pulled at the sacking to get nesting material. The big white stone is far too heavy to move so has stayed where it was when the trees were here. The gravel has done a good job of keeping weeds down, and brambles are no problem now. The wild strawberries keep creeping towards the water and need some discouragement occasionally.