Contrary to popular belief you can have your cake and eat it so even if you have set your heart on a modern, contemporary formal pool you can still have visiting wildlife all you have to do is choose the right plants and provide an entrance/exit to the water for little legs.
The only thing you cant have are fish as they tend to eat any visitors.
Some of the best plants for water wildlife are good places to hide so plants such as water lilies, floating water hyacinth, Pistia Stratoides or water lettuce. Tadpoles and larvae will use these plants to hide from predators.
Next are deep marginals such as Aponogeton Distachyum, Nymphoides Peltata ‘Water fringe’,
Of course you need oxygenating so make sure you have a small collection of oxygenators.
Marginals such as Calla Palustris ‘ bog arum’, Caltha Paltustris ‘kingcup marsh marigold’, Iris or Typha Latifolia ‘reed mace’ provide food and cover and a place to rest next to the water for flying visitors such as dragonfly’s.
Building the pond
First you must choose the type of pond and look you want see: What pond Liner.
Next you must choose the location, a good wildlife pond will be in dappled shade so that it benefits from sunlight but does not over heat, although to many trees will turn into a lot of work removing fallen leaves in the Autumn. To much sunlight can cause an overgrowth in algae so it is important to get a balance.
Decide on the size of pond your garden can easily accommodate and then dig the hole or build up accordingly. Don’t forget to make shelves within the pond for each set of plants. You will need one 20-30cm deep at the edge for marginals, deep marginals should have a deeper shelf or rest on the bottom. Make sure that your hole is at least 3ft at its deepest to allow any creatures to escape the winter ice.
You will need to include one sloping side or piles of rocks to allow amphibious reptiles and entrance and exit.
If creating a raised pond you will of course attract flying wildlife but if you want frogs or newts you will need to think about how they will access the raised area by perhaps making a ramp out of site. Most creatures will find the water themselves over time so dont worry if your pond isnt instantly teaming with life.
If making a sunken pond you will need to line the hole with soft sand, old carpet or an underlay before installing your chosen liner. For medium to large ponds you can then add a layer of earth for a more natural looking pond and to allow creatures to inhabit the muddy bottom.
Once installed you can now fill your pond using a bucket if small or a hose if larger. trim the excess liner now and edge the pond with your chosen material. Once filled you will need to add some water collected from an established pond or a De-chlorinator and allow to settle.
Another great use for a large pond is as a natural swimming pool there are specielist companies who can build these great addittions to your garden.