The original pond. I didn't even realise there was a lion's head hidden by ivy.

I'm not a DIY person. I consider the "D" to stand for "Do It Under Duress". I do love wildlife and nature, though.

My house came with an ornamental pond, but it had no plants, no way out for any animals that fell in, and was just a layer of leaf sludge and stagnant water in an old liner. I got a quote to replace the liner and make a few changes, but the quote made my eyes water, so I thought "I can do it myself, surely?"

Thus began a week of pain and regret.

I had emptied the old pond, taken up the old stones, and placed a new liner over the old. Then I just stood in some water and wanted to weep when I realised how much more work there was to do. Oh, you can see the newly-revealed lion's head. I didn't know if the plumbing still worked at that point.

I started to relay the stones. Error #1: not recording the original order and arrangement of the stones. Error #2: I couldn't work out how to get them all to lie flat, and didn't have enough mortar, so kept having to stop and cycle to DIY shops.

Temporarily giving up in a grump. It would have been easier with two people.

Dolly did the taste test.

Mostly finished. Lots of tidying up to do.

I bought a dwarf lily, which had four pads - it now has twelve, with another two coming up! Note the new "climbing out area" in the bottom right.

Electricians put in a safe outside electrical box, and I attached a pump to the old hose - behold, water came from the lion once again! It lives!

Working on a small rockery at the edge of the pond.

While I was at it, I laid two decorative paving stones (one has a hedgehog on, one a rabbit) to give easier access to the plug sockets.

The day I finished - and added some more pond plants.

A more recent photo.

I think it's a big improvement. If a hedgehog fell in, it would have an easier way out. Frogs or newts have a transitional area with ground cover. The lovely fountain is so relaxing when you are in the garden, and adds oxygen to the water. The lily is thriving, along with the iris and brass button plants. I included some floating foliage (which currently sprouts white flowers), and the other day I added blue-coloured water forget-me-nots. I have to scoop out some green algae and remove excess leaves from the surface of the pond (there are a lot of overhanging plants nearby!) but it's actually a fun process, and I get to examine the micro-fauna, which grows by the day.

First there were mosquito larvae, followed by rat-tailed maggots (hoverfly larvae). A couple of weeks later I began to spot cyclops in the water, and two days ago daphnia appeared. I have no idea how they get to a pond, but they did, and some are 2mm across. Wasps regularly land by the edge for a drink of water. And then I found my first water snail in the shallow area, exploring the warm stones and eating algae. I was really excited when it turned up out of nowhere, because I'd hoped to see them! Now that the micro-fauna is getting established, and there's more shade from plants, the pond should soon be a good environment for frogs or newts if they can find their way to it. Then it will be hard to drag me away from staring into those living green depths.

If I started again I'd do a few things differently, especially in terms of the surrounding paving, which leaves a lot to be desired (they are not suitable for walking on). Pond version 2 would probably be even better. But I'm pleased that it is all coming to life again, and provides an oasis of calm and life that makes me truly happy.

Where next? You might want to follow me and my work, or even buy my books. Many thanks!