This week we were asked to help convert a courtyard pond at a hospital in Bath into a safer focal point for the space. Ponds are a wonderful garden feature; essential for attracting a wide range of wildlife and a beautiful and calming addition to any space. However, ponds and other water features can also present a variety of hazards – most seriously the risk of drowning, especially for small children. In addition, ponds which are not properly planted or maintained can harbour a wide range of parasites and bacteria such as E. coli. In the case of this hospital it was decided that the pond presented too great a risk, particularly as it was located in an unsupervised space.
We decided to convert the pond into a gravelled platform where ornamental pots and a statue could be placed to create a central focus for the courtyard. After removing the organic material (and leaving this in an open space to give time for any living creatures to disperse), industrial pumping equipment was used to remove the water; this was re-used to give the other plants in the courtyard a good soak. The void was then back-filled with type 1 hardcore to create a solid and stable base, before permeable matting was laid and 5cm depth of ornamental gravel added and raked.
The area is now much brighter, easier to access, and most importantly, safe.