Build your own Wildlife Water Feature Oasis!

When SwellUK contacted me and asked me if I would like to choose something from their website in return for a blog post, I leapt at the chance! Swell Aquatics have a website packed with just about everything you would need to create any kind of pond or water feature in your garden. You can check out their website by clicking HERE. I started to look through the website. I already have a pond and a small water feature I made out of old tyres up at one end of the garden. I wanted to create something at the patio  end of my garden. This space is not very big, totally paved with just a few small beds. I wanted to create something that would fit in a small space, would not need loads of excavation and be perfect for wildlife to drink and bathe in.

After some looking I came cross this feature pool; a preformed pool with a chamber in the bottom that a pump could fit in. I wanted a pump to keep the water clean and also so it would remain relatively ice-free in the winter, as the patio is pretty sheltered. I chose the smaller of the 2 pools.

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I asked advice as to which pump to use and Swell chose this one for me…

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This one has a UV bulb included, but I think a cheaper version would do ok as well, if you wanted something a little cheaper… like this….

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I did not want to sink this into the floor, as I felt in the enclosed space of my patio, the birds would be reluctant to come to the ground. I decided to use 2 old tyres to raise the pool off of the ground. If you visit a tyre centre, they are usually more than happy to give you old tyres for free! I have used them for pools before and planters… they are a great recyclable resource!

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I started by choosing a space near my fence, next to the lowest part of the trellis (for easy access) and lay the tyres down. I levelled them and made sure I was happy with the position. The pump is cabled, so I made sure the cable ran as far as my boiler house, where I have power.

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I had already checked the diameter… the pool sat nicely on these tyres …

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I removed the clover over the central reservoir and placed the pump down inside. It was too big to sit flat on the base, so I angled it slightly with the output pipe pointing upwards. I could not get the cover back on top, due to the angle of the pump, but I was not too worried as I know I was going to cover it with rocks etc. I started by trying a terracotta pot over the top with a hose attachment coming out of the hole in its base….

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I filled the bottom reservoir with water and turned the pump on. By placing a small stone mushroom on top, I attempted to get the water to flow down the sides of the pot….

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I was not happy with how it looked, so removed that and started playing around with bits of rock I had gathered from around the garden. I wanted it to look as  natural as possible, so chose some mossy rocks and pieces of slate and began to experiment with arranging them….

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I wanted the water to bubble over one rock and the rest of the space be filled with other rocks and some cobbles which I bought. I needed various shallow spaces for drinking and bathing…. it took me a while of experimenting before I got the look I had envisaged…

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I pulled a few little plants from the pond to soften some of the edges. It was now beginning to look how I wanted it to look. The next issue was the tyres. I wanted to cover them, so they were not visible. If I had built this up the other end of the garden, I would have piled rocks and soil all the way around to create a natural mound which I could have planted up. In this spot, this was not an option. I had some old hessian in my garage that I had reduced from a skip at school!!!… I wrapped this around and secured it with string…

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I also had some remnants of willow screening and I trimmed it so it was the same height as the tyres. Then I wrapped it all around and started to position some of my patio  pots around…

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With a couple of perches, bits of bark and some plants, it was really stating to look lovely! I fiddled around for a bit until I was happy with the final effect and how it blended perfectly in with the patio set up…

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With relatively little effort, I had created something that looked great in my garden, took up a small amount of space, yet I felt it would offer a great place for birds to drink and bathe throughout the year. I know I was lucky enough to have the pump and base given to me, but you could create this for under £100 and with very little effort needed. 

I did not have to wait long for it to be used. The very next morning, I was thrilled to see the robin taking full advantage of this great new spa! I set up the Bushnell trail cam with a close-up lens on and captured this footage of the robin having a bath and a magpie taking a drink! I just know that this is going to be great for wildlife and a superb, attractive addition to my garden patio area.

I hope you are inspired to have a go yourself and create a wildlife spa for your birds this summer!