Gardens can be an oasis for dragonflies; however, half of Britain’s ponds were lost in the 20th century. All but five resident species of British dragonflies are known to have bred in ponds, with 17 species considered to be widespread breeding species in garden ponds. Even a small pond can harbour dragonflies, such as Southern Hawker!
There are also a number of other things you can do to create a dragonfly haven in your garden, so get those gardening gloves on and get started!
Garden ponds come in all shapes and sizes and can be made in a great variety of ways. Large or small, your pond can support dragonflies. Having a dragonfly pond in your garden will open up a world of fascination and magic which you never knew existed! You will be able to peer into the watery depths to catch a glimpse of the larval dragonfly hunting its prey. You can witness up close the incredible phenomenon of dragonfly emergence, when the adult bursts from the larval skin. And through summer, you can watch males displaying and taking part in territorial fights, while also quietly observing the female dragonfly’s secretive egg-laying behaviour.
Use our selection of pond management leaflets to help keep your pond in tip top shape for dragonflies.
Garden for pollinators
Dragonflies are voracious predators that consume large numbers of small flies, as well as other flying insects. As a result, one of the best ways to help your local dragonflies is to ensure your garden supports large numbers of prey.
Helpful activities include planting native wildflowers and reducing the amount you mow your lawn.
You can find plenty of advice on the Buglife website.
Hoverfly. Image by Tom Lee
Record garden dragonflies
When the dragonflies start appearing use our identification help page to work out who’s visiting your garden. You can report your sightings to iRecord and keep track of how your pond species vary from year to year.
Emperor Dragonfly egg laying into a garden pond. Image by Gordon Gray
Title image: Pond by Vadim Piottukh
Further Information on Wildlife Gardening
We thoroughly recommend subscribing to the following YouTube channels for lots of free information on all aspects of wildlife gardening:
Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton: Joel is our ambassador and has been creating wildlife gardens across the country for over 15 years. You will find ‘how to’ videos and advice on his YouTube channel. Joel has also condensed his vast experience into a book of the same title ‘Wild Your Garden’.
Wildlife Garden Project: Our friend Laura Turner has created a series of video guides on how to help wildlife in your garden, no matter how experienced you are or what your budget is. The Wildlife Garden Project makes gardening for wildlife truly accessible for everyone.
Green Fingered George: RHS Youth Ambassador and dragonfly fan George regularly shares his gardening knowledge online. He has focused increasingly on wildlife gardening since creating a number of wildlife ponds with his family at home. We recommend giving him a follow on social media too.