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Go Wild With A Wildlife Garden

By | Guest Articles

Wildlife gardens have gained a lot of popularity as general sentiments have shifted towards conservationism, endangered bird and insect species and the recreation of ecosystems to help their survival.

Wildlife gardens can be immensely satisfying, and they are projects that the whole family can get involved in with weekend projects for the kids and longer term strategies that you can develop together to attract particular insect and bird species into your garden.

The birds and the bees

Apart from planting native plant varieties that local fauna can feed off, a good wildlife garden needs various constructions and contraptions that insects, birds and animals can use as refuges and dwellings. Many garden suppliers will have things like feeders for birds and small, wooden “hotels” for insects, but you can also quite easily make enclosures using objects and materials you can find around the home or garden.

One very clever example is filling an unused pot with old sticks and twigs, which you lay vertically inside the pot. This is, of course, so simple that even the youngest of children will be delighted to help you with it. You can make a few of these and distribute them around shaded areas of your garden for perfect refuges which insects will happily occupy and lay their eggs in.

Small ponds are also much appreciated, especially by birds. You can cut old oak or plastic barrels in half, or check out what your local garden supplier has got in terms resin basins.

Rudimentary, untreated log benches, while not specifically for animals, look great in wildlife gardens; they are attractive in their own right and you can place them strategically so you and your family can sit down and watch the birds and insects that come to visit.

Plants and flowers for your wildlife garden

When you get down to the fine details, every bird and insect species has its own preferred variety of plant, so there’s no accommodating all of them. You can, however, plant a range of perennials that many species will respond to.

The butterfly bush is, by name and by nature, an excellent species for attracting butterflies, as is the aromatic honeysuckle. But any species which produces an open, easy to access flower will generally win the approval of visiting butterflies and bees and other insects.

For birds, you should look at berry producing plant varieties that birds can feed off. Ivy is an excellent choice because it produces nectary flowers for bees and small berries that birds love.

You can, and should, also add plants to your pond. A couple of small water lilies are a nice addition, as well as any pond weed varieties that your supplier can furnish which will help oxygenate the water; rushes are also a very handsome final touch.

Wildlife gardens have a rustic and wild kind of look and feel that can be very different to the more meticulously kept gardens that you may have seen and admired in the past. They do, however, have their own unique appeal, and your kids are sure to love your very own take on Mother Nature’s grand designs.

Featured images:

Howard Dobson caught the gardening bug from his father at a very early age. His motto is ‘learn and inform’ and for this reason he regularly writes about his gardening experiences. His greatest achievement is a fire pit built from scratch and assembling an alfresia parasol.

How To Choose The Right Pond Liner?

By | Guest Articles

For those who are serious about aquatic wildlife, it makes sense to capture that enthusiasm with your very own piece of nature. What better way to do so than having your own pond? Like any peaceful body of water, this can become a place where you can lose your thoughts. Whilst your imagination is running wild, you have to remember the practical requirements of a pond in order for it to be habitable for wildlife. Your first thought should be a pond liner.

What Is A Pond Liner?

Before building a house you have to dig the foundations in order for the structure to stand and be capable of withstanding the test of time. Imagine a pond liner as the foundation for your pond. A pond liner or equivalent, such as a Pond Shield, should be installed in all ponds as they prevent water from soaking in to the ground. They also act as a barrier for plants and weeds growing around the edges. This should ensure that no greenery breaks through, leaving your pond’s water crystal clear.

Pond Liners For Different Needs

Before installing your pond, you have to consider some very important factors. First of all comes size. Determining the size of your pond will enable you to decide on which form of pond liner to choose; for example, some pond liners are better designed for smaller ponds. Secondly, budget. The budget you have to spend on your pond will ultimately determine everything with regards to size, shape and what sorts of aquatic wildlife you’ll be able to attract.

PVC Pond Liners

Flexible and easy to move, PVC pond liners are sometimes chosen by those with a small to medium sized pond. If your pond is free of flora and fauna, this lining might be suitable for you. However, there are negatives. PVC pond liners have been known to become brittle as time passes. This is a factor you must consider before introducing fish to your pond as you may need to carry out repairs frequently, which would mean disturbing or removing them. PVC liners can also look a little unsophisticated.

Rubber Pond Liners

Rubber pond liners are very durable and can easily adapt to changing temperatures without breaking, making them a superior choice when compared to PVC competitors. They would certainly be a better option if, for instance, you had a wide range of aquatic wildlife situated in and around the pond.

Epoxy Coatings

Non-toxic epoxy is the best way to seal a pond made of a solid constructed surface like concrete, stone or steel for example. Pond Armor products, such as Pond Shield non toxic epoxy, offer all the protection of PVC or rubber liners whilst lending your pond a much more attractive look and minimizing ongoing care.

Pond Essentials

Whether choosing a PVC, rubber or epoxy pond liner, it is essential that you don’t forget to install two crucial elements. Firstly, you should ensure that your pond is fitted with a pond liner underlay. Pond liner underlay and preformed ponds will prevent weeds or roots penetrating the liner. Once your pond is full it can be a tricky task repairing such damage. The underlay also keeps subsoil compressed and stable. Secondly, it’s important to check whether your liner is U.V. stabilized. Over a period of time, exposure to the suns rays can have a detrimental effect on the pond’s liner.

Stephen Adamson is a landscape gardener who enjoys blogging about his passion in his spare time.

540 Gallon Custom Aquarium

By | Aquariums

540 Gallon AquariumI recently built a 540 gallon aquarium.

A unique 540 gallon aquarium however. In fact, the first of its kind. I wanted to take two completely separate 130 gallon aquariums, use both of their front and back long panels, and create as single large square aquarium.

Sounds easy enough right?

These two aquariums were each 6 foot aquariums. I bought them second hand for about $1 a gallon (which is a cheap way to buy big pieces of glass!).

Now that I had my glass, it was time to put this thing together. Now obviously, I had only 4 sides. This tank was to be a tank that was 6’X6’X2’ (2’ tall). I was missing a bottom piece however. Since this tank was going to be in my basement, a 6×6’ bottom glass piece was not only going to be impossible to get down there, but also far too expensive.

So after weigh all of my options and methods to create a bottom for it, I settled on a plywood bottom. I have built plywood/glass aquariums in the past, but never like this.

Ultimately, the key to a plywood aquarium is what you water proof it with. What I water proofed it with is the focus of this article. Why? You will see why if you read on.

First and foremost, there is a plethora of products you could possibly use. Now, some of you may know who I am, while others do not. My real name is Joey Mullen. I am also known as “Uarujoey” or “The king of DIY” on YouTube. I make videos on DIY projects for my YouTube channel, which happens to be the most popular aquarium channel on YouTube.

That creates a bit of pressure for me as you can imagine… thousands would be watching this build. So I wanted to make sure I not only picked the right product, but it also had to meet, if not exceed, my expectations.

I settled on Pond Armor. Why? You already know why… You are on their website right now, almost entirely due to being referred or based on their reputation.  That’s what brought me.

What made me actually commit to using it? Well, for starters, the reviews. They are all amazing.  More importantly, the price. The price per square foot beats anything else in its class, which is hard to compare, as Pond Shield is in a class of its own.

Then there was the fact that Pond Shield is non-toxic. This is a HUGE importance. We keep pets that cost a lot of money, not to mention, we love them. We need something that is going to be safe.

The color selection Pond Shield comes in is also something unseen. The ability to choose the color I want, instead of using a color that is simply available is a HUGE plus for me. So I was able to make my decision off of these simple points alone. Now the REAL wow factors happened when I received the product and started applying it.

All I did was follow the simple and easy to read instructions that come with the product. In doing so, I was successful with it. I felt it was far easier to apply then I thought it would be.  If you can stir a stick, and paint a piece of wood… you can do this!540 Gallon Aquarium

Ok, so it was easy to use…. what else?

Once applied, I had the option to apply the next coat a short while later, or wait until the next day and sand/apply the second coat. This is a huge plus… I didn’t have to baby sit it. I basically got to pick how quickly I applied it (while following instructions)

After a short while, I had the Pond Shield applied and cured in the required thickness.

Now this was my favorite part. This stuff had a finish that looked and felt like glass! This was a HUGE plus. I could apply suction cups to it if needed, and cleaning it would be a breeze. Not to mention silicone would stick to it after I sand the area I was applying silicone to.  And by stick I mean It’s basically permanent! Perfect! I was able to simply silicone my glass panels into place!

At the end of the day there was not a single thing I didn’t like about it. Even when I tried to find some negatives in it, I couldn’t. Although I did drip some on my cement floor, I figured it would be easier to remove cured paint rather than wet (in this case), I simply let it cure which was bad idea. After curing, I couldn’t get the Pond Shield off the floor unless I took a hammer and chisel to it! I ended up removing bits of my cement floor to get it up. So adhesion I guess you could say well, don’t worry about it sticking to whatever you need it to stick to!

Will I use it again? YUP! I won’t only use it, but whenever anyone needs a recommendation on a water proofing agent for their aquarium or pond, you can bet I will be telling them all about Pond Shield.

I hope this is enough to help with your decision whether Pond Shield is right for you or not. If not the product, the customer service you will experience with Pond Armor is world class. Give your fish what they deserve, and you will not regret it!

Pond Armor certainly gets my seal of approval!

Joey Mullen…

AKA “UaruJoey”

AKA   “The King of DIY”

You can view my complete tutorial on this build on You Tube

How to Apply Waterproof Paint for Ponds

By | Guest Articles

A concrete pond can provide an attractive addition to your home. Good maintenance and care enhances the life of your pond and makes it easier for maintenance. Ponds are small when compared to oceans and lakes, which makes them calmer and more peaceful. However, the life of a pond relies on how well you maintain it. Among the very many determinants of good pond maintenance is the quality of the waterproof paint. Good waterproof paint adds depth and personality to the pond. You may have been wondering which paint to apply to your pond. This article should answer some of the questions.

Ponds need to be waterproofed before you fill them with water, plants and fish. This means applying a waterproof paint for ponds that will seal the surface completely. You also want to make sure that the coating you choose is safe for both the fish and the plants that you plan to keep in the pond.

Qualities of a Good Waterproof Paint for Ponds

If you have a structured pond like a concrete pond, you need a paint that can bond to the surface being applied to and stay there. The surface preparation and application process will be directly related to how well the waterproof paint will adhere to the surface.

VOC or the volatile organic compounds are hazardous gases emitted by most epoxy paints. Be sure that you choose the correct pond paint because VOCs can have a direct effect on the environment as well as the finished pond. The lower the VOCs the better the waterproof paint will be for this sort of project.

Storage of the Waterproof Pond Paint

It is advisable that you store your paint in a cool, dry place. In addition, ensure that the paint is protected from freezing. A good pond paint will last a long time if stored properly.

Preparing to Paint the Pond

Clean your pond to provide a sound surface for the waterproof paint application. Follow all instructions provided with the materials you have purchased.  If you do not understand anything, do not be afraid to ask questions.  A good manufacturer will always be available to assist you.

After Application

Once the waterproof paint has been installed, you will need to make sure that any flaws are fixed before the pond is filled with water.  Unlike painting anything else, the new surface should be touched up as needed to ensure no possible leaks or problems in the future.

Choosing a waterproof pond paint is a very important step in creating a new pond or repairing and old one.  You should take your time and gather all available information before you get started.  Ask the manufacturer as many questions as you need in order to make the correct decision.

Fish Safe Pond Sealant for Health and Happy Fish

By | Guest Articles

A pond will not only be a beautiful addition to a garden, it can certainly be a source of tranquility and therapy; a place to retreat to from the mad rush of everyday life. Before you place any fish or plants in your pond, you will want to make sure that everything you have used is safe. There are many things to consider to ensure your pond and its inhabitants remain constantly healthy and happy.

Ponds built with concrete or bricks will eventually develop leaks so they should be waterproofed to avoid this. Fortunately for you, engineers have researched and developed products perfect for the task that have been designed to safely seal and protect ponds in all kinds. They understand that effective waterproofing will only be possible when you use the correct products.

Which Fish Safe Pond Sealant do I use?

There is a wide variety of products available for waterproofing but not all of them will provide a fish safe environment.  Nor are they designed for under water use.  In fact even if they are, they can still have failings such as being prone to peel like rubber products.

Pond Armor manufactures an excellent product known as Pond Shield, and this is a completely fish safe pond sealant. The beauty of it is that it is ideal for both new or old ponds. The sealant will form a completely safe and waterproof barrier in your pond and you can have peace of mind that your beautiful aquatic environment can now thrive.

What Can I use Fish Safe Pond Sealant on?

The best surfaces to use the sealant on is something that is a constructed surface.  Surfaces like concrete or wood are perfect because they will not flex as easily as trying to apply the sealer to a rubber liner.  Metals, fiberglass, hard plastics, stone and rock are also great surfaces to work with.

Sometimes those small plastic preformed pond liners can get damaged.  A fish safe sealer like this can also be used to repair those too.  If you are not sure how to best accomplish this be sure to read all of the instructions and ask as many questions as you need to.

There are different options which can be used to seal a pond; some of them more effective and convenient than others. Choosing a liquid fish safe pond sealant is however one of the most popular choices simply because it is highly effective, easy to use and durable. It also makes your piece of nature the tranquil, healthy and happy area it is supposed to be.

Are Pond Liners Toxic?

By | Guest Articles

The above question is very important especially when you are building a pond to hold plant or animal life. If the liner turns out to be toxic, you cannot successfully keep aquatic plants or animals in it. This therefore means that you will not achieve your objective of having the pond constructed in the first place. In an effort at helping readers understand the true situation on this matter, you need to get some information on the composition of the liner before you can get an answer to the question; are pond liners toxic.

For starters, the answer to this question could be either positive or negative depending on the kind of pond liners you are talking about. With so many designs and a wide variety of brands in the market to choose from, the answer to the question will depend on the choices you make.

Often construction materials are made out of certain chemicals that are aimed at making them more durable and resistant to attacks from insects and other possible causes of damage. The problem then becomes making sure that any of these chemicals are not part of what makes up your new pond liner.

Are Pond Liners Toxic? Here Are Tips for Choosing Non Toxic Pond Liners

The first thing that should come to mind when looking for pond liners is the effect it will have on the animal or plant life that may be introduced into the pond. With this in mind, you need to try and make sure you avoid products that are not designed for housing aquatic life in the pond.

Retailers that carry product may already know the answers to your questions and you should ask them.  If they are not familiar enough about the product you can always move up the chain to the manufacturer of the product.

Talking to the manufacturer can be of great help. They can provide you with technical data sheets that will allow you to see how a product has been tested and what the results were.

It is important to remember that any pond liner you chose will be in direct contact with the water that the fish and plants live in.  Making sure it is safe before applying it is very important to their health and well being.

How to Smooth Rough Concrete

By | How To

When consumers start to look for advice on how to smooth rough concrete, they may feel frustrated or confused. Many people claim that there is no easy way to do this yourself, but this is misleading. There are actually a few things that can be done if concrete is too rough. Smooth concrete in a pond is essential for several reasons. The fish in the pond can be injured from a rough finish, or the pond’s concrete may need to be smooth so that a waterproof finish can be applied to it. Without the right sealant, water may escape from the pond, and this, of course, can be disastrous. Whether you have an old pond that you are currently not using because of rough concrete or a new pond that needs to be smoothed before you can use it, the following steps can guide you.

If you have access to a sandblaster, you can use that to smooth the pond’s concrete. Unfortunately, this will make a terrible mess, and many homeowners do not have the skills necessary to use a sandblaster. Luckily, there are other options. Most hardware stores sell concrete grinding or sanding disks that can be attached to angle grinders. These attachments can also be attached to some power drills. In order to tackle a concrete pond, you should use a large 8 inch angle grinder. This size will allow you to smooth the concrete where it needs to be smoothed, but it is small enough so that you will not accidentally gauge any of the concrete. When selecting the grit on the sanding disc, you should look for a 24 grit. This will make the concrete smooth, but it will keep it rough enough so that the sealant will stick to the concrete. You will also need protective eye goggles and a face mask.

Once you have your concrete sanding disc, you will need to attach it to your angle grinder. You may need a few different polishing discs to ensure that you get the grit that you desire. First, you need to attach the largest grit disc that you have to your grinder. Once that has been attached, you need to make your first pass over the floors and walls of your pond. You should repeat this until you have smoothed the surface to your liking. Once that has been completed, you should replace the disc with a finer one. When you repeat this procedure with a finer grit, you will remove any extra impurities and smooth the pores of the concrete. If you want the pond to have a shiny finish, you may want to repeat these steps a third time with an even finer grit.

When you start looking for equipment, you may see diamond grinders for rent. These grinders come with dust shrouds that can be hooked up to your wet vac. Ideally, you should avoid these tools as they will only remove the high spots of concrete in your pond. They will not help to smooth the entire area. Another option that you may encounter while looking at how to smooth rough concrete is repair mortar. Polymer modified repair mortar may work on your pond, but it will not work as well as an angle grinder. While using your angle grinder and sanding discs, you should never forget to wear safety gear. If possible, you should angle the machine away from you so that the dust flies away from your face rather than towards it. If possible, you may want to vacuum the dust between passes as this will make the process more effective. Learning how to smooth rough concrete is the first step to getting your pond in working order.

Benefits of a DIY Wood Pond

By | Wood Ponds

Having a pond in your own backyard or anywhere that seems appropriate for you can be one of the most amazing experiences in life. It is with this in mind that you need to carefully consider making a DIY wood pond. There are quite a number of benefits that you can enjoy when you opt for this type of pond. Learning a little bit more about these benefits is the key to appreciating just why it may be a good idea for you to build such a pond. Below are just a few of the benefits of a DIY wood pond.

Cost Effective – It is indeed true that creating a DIY pond can be very cost effective. This is because you do not really have to spend a lot of money on expenses that you may have otherwise had to incur when having one built for you. Most of the work will be done by you and therefore there is no need to spend a lot of extra cash on labor. The only amount of money that you may have to spend will be for purchasing the necessary tools for building a wooden pond.

Customization – Another one of the benefits that you are bound to enjoy when you opt for this type of pond is that you are going to be able to build it in such a way that it is unique to you and expresses your own personal preferences. The color, texture, width, length, height, and such among other things that are involved can be built as you deem fit.

Convenience – The next benefit is that you are able to construct the pond during the most convenient times for you. You can set your own schedule for construction and thus you will have the freedom to choose when to begin construction and when to end.

Building a DIY wood pond is not a very difficult task once you have all the information that is necessary to be successful. It is always prudent that you carry out a lot of research just so you are able to learn more on how to make the final product look amazing. Some of the important things to consider when building include; general safety of the pond, the construction methods used to built it and the materials used for constructing the pond.

Only choose quality components and be sure of how you plan to build the pond. Do not take any shortcuts wither either of these and the final outcome will be something that you can be proud of.

Why Pond Sealer is Better than a Pond Liner

By | Guest Articles

If you are contemplating a backyard pond or water fountain, it is important that you spend some time evaluating the various methods available for lining your pond. After all, you cannot simply dig a hole and fill it with water; you need some type of liner to ensure that the water stays in place and that you can create the beautiful pond you have envisioned. There are a variety of options available and choosing the one that is right for you will depend on the type of pond you want to create, your budget and, of course, your own personal preferences. There are pre-formed pond liners that can be purchased to use as a pond enclosure; however, if you want something that will last for a longer period of time and that will also provide more flexibility, consider using a liquid pond sealer. These sealers are simply brushed on and form a waterproof barrier that can be used to create a beautiful pond or water fountain in just about any environment.

Fortunately, a liquid pond sealer can be an easy and affordable solution when you are looking for the best pond liner. This type of sealer can be applied to almost any material and will form a barrier that is not only waterproof, but flexible and durable. These benefits will certainly help to ensure that your pond looks great and remains intact for many years. Additionally, the liquid sealer used to create this barrier is completely safe for plants and fish, which makes it an excellent choice for any water pond or fountain.

The use of a pond sealer is certainly an effective way to line any type of pond; however, there are some people who prefer to use an alternative method. For example, you can purchase a pre-made form that can simply be placed in the ground and is ready for you to fill. These pre-made molds are available in numerous sizes and shapes and can be an excellent alternative for anyone who does not want to go through the trouble of applying a liquid sealer to the surfaces of their backyard pond. Another excellent solution would be to use a special liner that is designed to be used in a pond. These liners are similar to a sheet of plastic and are applied to the surface of the pond prior to filling. They can provide a waterproof barrier that is as simple as lying down a sheet of special film designed for this purpose. This method has the added benefit of being extremely affordable.

While there are certainly a variety of different solutions that can be used to seal a backyard pond, not all of them are as effective or convenient to use. For example, liners that come in a sheet can be extremely difficult to fit properly into the contours of your pond. Additionally, pre-formed pond liners can limit your design creations and are not as durable as a liquid sealer. There are certainly many advantages in choosing a liquid pond sealer over other types of liners. When installing your own backyard pond, seal it with the convenience and durability of a liquid sealer.

Why I love Colored Pond Liner

By | Guest Articles

When creating the perfect pond for your yard, it is important to take a number of factors into consideration. First of all, you need to decide where you want to place your pond, how large it will be and what you will use for its construction. There are many pond liners that can be purchased in preformed shapes and sizes that are ready to be placed in the ground and used to create a beautiful pond; however, for anyone looking for a little more flexibility and the ability to truly create the most dramatic and beautiful pond, the use of concrete or Gunite offers many more options.

These ponds can be built in just about any shape or size you want and can be customized to fit your specific location. Once you have the pond built, it is a simple matter to seal it with a colored pond liner. This liquid sealer is an excellent choice for ponds and fountains because it creates a virtually impenetrable barrier that will help keep water in while offering a safe environment for plants and animals.

I love using liquid colored pond liner because it is easy to use and can be applied to almost any surface. The non-toxic epoxy is not only easy to apply to any shape or surface, but it is extremely durable, as well. Of course, another one of its advantages is that it looks incredible once it is complete. Other types of pond liners either limit the shape or size because they are already preformed or you can choose a flat liner that you must somehow conform to the curves and angles of your pond. This certainly is not easy to make look attractive because wrinkles are inevitable. Fortunately, with a liquid liner, you can easily apply it to any shape pond or fountain and it will always look superb.

Another reason why I love using a liquid colored pond liner is that it requires no special equipment. This makes application extremely easy because just about anyone can take a brush and apply the liquid to create a custom liner that actually bonds to the surface. When considering the various types of pond liners that are available, the liquid liner seemed to be the most efficient and cost-effective. The liner stays flexible to help accommodate shifting soil conditions, but is permanently bonded to the substrate to ensure longevity. It seems to be a perfect combination of durability and beauty. Additionally, the epoxy is available in several colors to help you achieve the pond of your dreams.

Finding the right colored pond liner was certainly important and even though cost was a major consideration, I also wanted to ensure that it would be something that would last for many years. I love the fact that these liquid liners are so easy to apply and can create a long-lasting and beautiful liner that is safe for all types of animals and plants.