A pond can help attract a lot of wildlife to your garden. This is true everywhere but it is especially true in dry areas. If you live in a dry area then you might find that a lot of animals starts to visit your pond and that some animals move into your garden. Most animals that are attracted to ponds are small animals but will attract larger animals such as deer etc as well. In some cases you even see cougars and bears visiting garden ponds to get water. This is however very rare even in areas where these animals are common.
The animals like the pond for the same reasons you do. It is a calm area where they can relax and have a drink. (you are likely to prefer a beer, not the pond water).
Wildlife make your pond and your garden more alive and I highly recommend that you design your pond with wildlife in mind. Different areas of the pond are likely to attract different animals.
Frogs and reptiles
Frogs and reptiles are generally attracted to the water and prefer an area in the pond filled with aquatic plants where they can submerge themselves but still feel hidden. I recommend that you include a shelf on one side of the pond that you wall of with rocks and then fill with dirt. (the wall is to prevent the dirt from entering the main area of the pond). This shelf should be designed so that the dirt is underwater when the pond is full. Plant semi-aquatic plants and grasses in this area. This area will attract a lot of frogs and other small animals that will call it home and that will use the area to hunt.
If you live in an area where there are turtles then you can build your pond with turtles in mind. Making a pond attractive to turtles is no guarantee that turtles will find it and move in but it will increase the chances. It is often illegal to manual move turtles to your pond. You have to allow them time to find it for themselves. There might be turtles in the pet trade that you can keep in the pond. If you buy pet turtles you should make sure that they can’t leave your property since they might carry diseases that are harmful to the native turtles. They might also belong to another subspecies to the turtles in your area potentially polluting the gene pool if they get out in the wild.
Turtles do not have too many requirements. They want areas where they can get in and out of the pond. Areas where they can bask and areas that allow them to hide under the water. A partly submerged log can be a stunning addition to your pond and can create the perfect habitat for your turtles. If you want them to breed then you are going to need an area with soft dirt where they can deposit their eggs. Research the exact preferred nesting condition of the species that you want to be able to spawn in your pond.
Small mammals are going to come to your pond to drink and bath. They want to be able to do so without feeling exposed. The best way of achieving this is by planting bushes on one side on of the pond. That way the mammals such as hedgehogs can walk under the bushes to reach the water. Creating hedgehog hotels and other suitable habitats for small mammals in the vicinity of the pond will further attract small mammals and make them more likely to call your garden home.
Birds visit the garden for the same reasons as small mammals. They want to drink and bath. Create a shallow area in the pond if you want to attract birds. A shallow area allows them to bath in safety. Most birds also prefer if there are branches to sit on near the water. The same bushes that help attract small mammals will also help attract small birds. Larger birds often prefer a larger tree to sit in. A large tree on the back side of the pond than be very attractive, create habitats for birds and shade the pond so that you have less problems with algae. A flowering tree or a fruit tree can be a good choice. Cherry trees look stunning and the cherries will attract even more birds.
Bamboo can serve the same purpose as a tree and give the pond a very calm vibe.
We seldom try to attract large mammals to the garden pond. Partly due to the fact that many species can do damage to the garden or property and partly because they are a lot less plentiful than small species. Most garden ponds provide everything a large mammal want and you do not need to think of anything special when designing the pond.
Butterflies and other insects
Butterflies and other insects are more attracted to plants and flowers than the pond itself. Plant a lot of flowers that attract insect in your garden if you want to attract butterflies and other insects. Devote the pond design to other animals you want to attract.