On this coldest of days, it may seem odd to think about the upcoming gardening season, though now is precisely the time to start thinking and planning. Who knows? Just imagining your future garden might even warm you up.

Speaking of gardens, have you ever thought about creating a wildlife pond? I’m sure you’ve all had casual talks with your neighbor about the desire to have a pool in the backyard or maybe even a jacuzzi. While pools can be great in the summertime for cooling off, wildlife ponds can have a greater benefit for the surrounding environment. Not only can a wildlife pond enhance biodiversity in your local area, but it can provide a unique addition to your backyard. Over the course of the last year, Youtuber Stefano Ianiro transformed a patch of grass in his backyard into a healthy and thriving ecosystem.

From this…
To this!

His process of creating a wildlife pond is relatively simple and can be completed over the course of a couple weeks, maybe even as a spring project. The first step is to dig out the area where you’d like your pond to be located. Then, the pond liner is placed in the hole and secured in place with soil and rocks. The next step is to add plants to the pond, such as water lilies, which not only provide shade for the aquatic life but also help to keep the water clear.

Ianiro’s wildlife pond benefited multiple species by creating an accessible water source, native wildflowers, and overall beneficial habitat features. Diving beetles, back swimmers and pond skimmers were among the first to arrive. Birds would use the perches set up to pick off insects, checking out nest boxes, taking cover in brush piles, and even coming down to drink and bathe in the pond. Early spring flowers also served as an important food source for insects.

The pond provides a habitat for various species of aquatic plants and animals, such as dragonflies, frogs, and birds. These organisms not only add visual interest to your backyard but also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem by controlling pests and pollinating plants. Now you may be thinking, wouldn’t a still body of water be a breeding ground for mosquitos? Well, in Ianiro’s case he noticed that predators managed the mosquito population well. When mosquito eggs hatch, they have to attempt to survive an onslaught of predators in the water like diving beetles, green frog tadpoles, and dragonfly nymphs. If they’re lucky enough to emerge as adults, they then face attacks from amphibians, spiders, birds, bats, and predatory insects like damselflies and dragonflies.

Creating a wildlife pond provides an opportunity to learn about different types of aquatic life and their roles in the ecosystem. It’s a perfect project for families and kids to learn about the importance of conservation and the natural world. Before you consider, it’s recommended to consult your municipality’s Zoning Department for possible water depth restrictions, as well as fencing, and/or building permit requirements for your particular area. You can usually find a listing for the Zoning Department in the blue pages of your local telephone directory, sometimes under its own heading but usually under the Building, Engineering, or Planning Departments. If not, just call City Hall, and they will direct you to the appropriate department.