10. Because there’s a little “Huck Finn” in all of us. You NEED some place where you can take your shoes off and enjoy the experience of dangling your toes in the water while watching colorful fish frolic around you and lush aquatic plants flourish even in the hottest of weather.
9. Because you DESERVE to come home at the end of every busy work day and relax both your mind and body by stepping outside, popping a top, and kicking your feet up. Ahhhh….., you can say as you admire the aquatic plants, feed your pet Koi, or just watch the water flow.
8. Because you need some low-tech relief in your high-tech life. TV stimulates your mind continuously, and you NEED to give your brain some free-play time. Watching a pond or stream allows your mind to wander, meditate, and/or truly escape for awhile.
7. Because you would just LOVE to be able to look out your window and see beautiful birds and interesting critters, your spirits buoyed by the fact that you’ve chosen a truly GREEN landscape choice that draws nature to YOU. You will enjoy seeing native and migratory birds, as well as quail families, etc,. enjoying the healthy, organic water that you have provided.
6. Because water speaks to all of us. Human beings are made up of mostly water, which is why we subconsciously recognize the language of water. Now you NEED to just listen as the water trickles over rocks and chatters along the stream.
5. Because you DESERVE to look forward to coming home every day after work, and enjoying being home on your days off. Imagine the anticipation of walking through the door, getting comfortable, popping a top or pouring an ice tea, and plopping down in your favorite chair next to a water feature that looks like nature graced the property before you built your home there.
4. Because your home NEEDS to be your sanctuary, your haven, your respite from all the things that are constantly vying for your attention. A waterfall, pond or stream begs to provide you with that atmosphere.
3. Because a good night’s sleep is enhanced by the natural sound of water, and you NEED a good night’s sleep. Imagine moseying off to bed after even just a few minutes of quiet contemplation time next to your pond or stream., or having the window open and sleeping to the sound of a babbling brook.
2. Because you NEED something in your life that gives more than it takes, and a properly built water feature takes so little upkeep, but provides infinite hours of enjoyment with lush plants, playful Koi, and just the sound and look of flowing water.
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON YOU NEED A POND IS...
1. Because it FEEDS the SOUL. You need to take time to be a human-being instead of a human-doing! A pond or stream implores you to lose yourself for even just a little while and replenish your spirit.
OTHER POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
5 BASIC FENG SHUI PRINCIPLES FOR WATER FEATURES
PROMOTING WELLNESS THROUGH LANDSCAPE DESIGN
10 COMMON POND MYTHS DEBUNKED
When you buy a Ford, or a Chevy, or a Lexus, does the dealership tell you that they don’t provide service for it? No! And they're pretty darn big companies! Then why on earth would you accept that excuse from a pond builder?
It’s unfortunate that we get calls all the time from people who hired a contractor or landscaper to build them a pond, but then when they needed help with it, were told that they don’t provide service. Really?!?!
Why Don’t You Service What You Build?
So, why do you suppose that someone would not service what they design & build? They’re “too big to do service work” is a cop-out! Is that what you can expect when you have a warranty claim, too – to be told that they don’t do service? So, why?
One possible answer is that they can’t. They may not have systems in place, or trained personnel, or they’ve built something that is not really serviceable. Your guess is as good as ours! And since there are literally HUNDREDS of ways to build a “pond,” you better be sure that you know that what you’re getting can be cared for down the road – it’s a big investment.
It’s exciting, this thought of getting the pond you’ve always dreamed of having in your back yard! You’re excited, your spouse is excited, your kids are over the moon! It’s easy to get all caught up in that excitement and forget about the dirty details.
As you go on your shopping journey for a pond or water feature, shop smart! Ask questions. Think about what can go wrong, and who would be responsible for taking care of that. We’ve put together 10 Questions to Ask A Contractor before you hire them. Hope it helps!
Also, check out the contractor’s website, social media, and YouTube channel. Do they provide information? How are their reviews (Facebook and Google)? Do they leave people hanging? Are they there when folks need them? Everyone gets a bad review now and then, because you can’t make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time, but check the overall vibe of what people are saying.
And by all means, visit their work in person! Photos can be deceiving. Photos can be copied or stolen. Hate to think this way, but it happens. Go see what they do, preferably something that’s at least a year old so you get a feel for how their work stands the test of time.
Check their licensing! Hiring an unlicensed contractor is the fastest way to lose money. It’s actually illegal for anyone doing a project over $1,000 in Arizona to not have a contractor license and appropriate insurance. But it happens all the time. Yep, they can be cheaper than the above-board guy because their overhead is a lot lower. But you’re really taking your chances that nothing will go wrong. Of course, maybe you enjoy gambling with thousands of dollars.
If you’ve already found yourself in a situation where you have a pond or water feature that needs help or service, please contact us. If we’re not the right fit for some reason, we’ll be honest with you, and we can most certainly point you in the right direction for appropriate help.
The Pond Gnome does not service ALL types of ponds and water features. Because our service techs are trained in biology, our specialization is living ecosystem ponds and water features. That’s what we build, and thus what we service most often.
We have lots of information in our blog and on our website for service, cleaning, aquatic plants, water treatment, troubleshooting, etc.
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Save the (fill in the blank)!
Saving natural habitats is hot on everyone’s mind these days. Riparian habitats are the rarest type of habitat in North America. The plants and micro-organisms found in riparian areas and natural wetlands are extremely efficient at removing excess nutrients from storm water and runoff. Unfortunately, man’s increased use of commercial fertilizers creates run-off extremely high in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which poses a major threat to the delicate ecosystems of our natural waterways. As a result of this, as well as excess traffic and use, 95% of the West’s best filtering habitats have been degraded to at least some extent.
Phoenix Ponds with Wetlands Replenish Disappearing Natural Wetlands
What exactly makes a wetland such a good filter, even for a backyard pond? Wetlands are giant sponges. They protect ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers by filtering out wastes and nutrients entering from storm water and runoff. Scientific studies have found that many common species of aquatic plants have the ability to uptake toxins directly from the water, thus scrubbing it clean again. This can even be accomplished in a backyard pond!
Thinking of aquatic plants as the kidneys of the earth, it follows then that a constructed wetland filter would be an excellent approach to cleaning up an existing problem pond, as well as an outstanding way ensure that a backyard pond has plenty of filtration from the start, while providing a lush, beautiful setting.
Wetlands are Nature's Filter
Clarity is one of the easiest and fastest ways to diagnose water quality in a backyard pond. Large loads of sediment and debris can have a serious impact on the aquatic life that a body of water can support. Wetlands, both in nature and constructed for backyard pond filtration, do a tremendous job of reducing sediment and debris, improving clarity within the pond. Natural wetlands are able to remove sediment by slowing the velocity of storm water, causing the sediment and debris to drop out of suspension. To see this concept in action, visit Regents of Scottsdale Apartment Complex, 15555 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona. This riparian ecosystem that spans the center of the complex accepts runoff from the surrounding parking lots. Over the past six years of this system’s existence, the maintenance required has been quarterly bacteria and enzyme applications, along with monthly thinning of aquatic plants from within the streams
Phoenix Ponds Thrive with Wetlands!
A constructed wetland filter of proportionate size can help provide crystal clear water in almost any backyard pond. We’ve all seen the chemically treated, generally blue-dyed, bodies of water that adorn many golf courses, apartment complexes, and HOA common areas. Furthermore, backyard ponds with a lot of large fish require a filtration system sufficient to keep up with the wastes these fish produce.
On another note, many people have “green thumbs” and are attracted to the types of plants that can be grown in a backyard pond. Installing a wetland filter off to the side of a backyard pond will provide the perfect planting bed for a variety of aquatic plants, while allowing the garden owner to keep the pond surface area open for viewing.
Wildlife Appreciates Phoenix Ecosystem Ponds
In addition to being a superb filter system, placed appropriately, the permanent and accessible organic water in a backyard pond is a boon to birds, both native and migratory. 80% of desert wildlife lives within sight of a riparian corridor. However, we have been damming and pumping our riparian areas out of existence here in Arizona. Constructed wetlands, and organically maintained backyard ponds, may be the best bet for the survival of many species of native and migratory bird life. In terms of economics, Arizona is a top ten birding destination on every birder’s list, and birding is a $2.5 billion a year tourism industry. Arizona’s share of this money in is huge! Adding a constructed wetland filter to a backyard pond not only adds a truly “green” element in every sense of the word, but provides a safe oasis to native and migratory birds, whether in the open desert, on a golf course, or in someone’s back yard.
There are multiple Feng Shui disciplines. In general, Feng Shui is the art of carefully planned spatial equilibrium within one’s environment, whether that’s your garden or your home. Reference used for this blog: Feng Shui for Gardens by Lillian Too.
Here are 5 basic Feng Shui principles regarding water in the garden that we keep in mind when designing and building a pond.
Water Must be Alive
A pond is an excellent Feng Shui feature for any garden, if it is healthy and full of life. A murky, or lifeless pond will generate bad luck. The Pond Gnome works with natural rock and stone, appropriate aquatic plants for our Sonoran Desert environment, fish (either goldfish or Koi), and beneficial bacteria & enzymes to create a complete closed ecosystem. Our ponds are full of lush plants and beautiful floating fish. Take the FREE pond tour when you have a few moments to simply sit and experience the atmosphere created by a pond or flowing stream.
Don’t Overpower Your Space
Feng shui is all about harmony and balance. Ensure that your water element fits naturally into its environment. A pond or stream will almost certainly be the focal point of your garden, but it should not overpower the space. Waterfalls are too often built too high or too loud for the space and it ruins any beneficial Feng Shui effects (not to mention, can be a constant irritant to the people trying to enjoy the ambience). Water is a powerful force in the art of Feng Shui; be very careful not to over-build. In Feng Shui, balance is everything!
Embrace The Space
The pond or stream should be laid out in a way that appears to embrace the house. You want people to wonder how the heck you managed to find a house right next to a pond or stream. It should not look contrived.
Light Up Your Life
A dark pond brings with it an abundance of yin (bad) energy. Add underwater lights to give life-affirming yang (good) energy to an otherwise dark area that saps energy from the overall garden space.
Let It Flow
Water in motion should be flowing towards the home, preferably toward the front door – and the slower the better. Too much flow, where water is splashing and breaching the edges, can cause dangerously bad Feng Shui: chaos.
There is a TON of reading and research to be consumed on Feng Shui. Our recommendation is to find a discipline that you feel you can live with. Just like ponding in general, ask 5 different people, get five different opinions.
The Pond Gnome believes in working with Mother Nature to keep your pond and its maintenance as simple as possible. If this is what YOU’RE after, contact us to get started on your project today!
Creating gardens and outdoor living spaces as havens for restoration of human health and wellness has been reflected throughout history right up to the present. Each generation seems to need this more than the last. Research reveals that contact with nature provides stress reduction, which in turn leads to improved health outcomes.
Research shows that spending time in your garden is likely to improve your wellbeing
Gardens designed for stress relief have four primary considerations: social support for garden users; provision of privacy and control; opportunity for physical activity and movement; and establishment of natural elements.
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (Organization, 1946). This definition encompasses a holistic approach to our general health and wellbeing.
Access to nature can enhance wellness
Research from the fields of healthcare, psychology, design, public health, and other disciplines indicates that access to nature can enhance health and wellness. Annerstedt and Wahrborg (2011) propose three main kinds of public health effects related to nature: short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue, faster physical recovery from illness, and long-term overall improvement on health and wellbeing. Wilson (1984) addressed the premise for using contact with nature in the treatment of diseases more than twenty-five years ago!
Short-term recovery from stress or mental fatigue has been well-studied, which agree that nature views are more effective in reducing psychological and physiological stress than urban views, and lead to more positive feelings in subjects (Hartig et al., 2003; Ulrich et al., 1991b).
Faster recovery from illness has also been documented. The best-known study included surgery patients in a hospital, some having a view of a tree from their bed, and others having a view of a brick wall. The patients with a view of a tree had shorter hospital stays, needed less severe pain medications, and received less negative comments from nurses (Ulrich, 1984).
Long-term overall improvement on health and wellbeing has also been well-documented, most recently by a ten-year study of vacant lot greening in Philadelphia, PA USA. In this statistically rigorous study, residents reported less stress and increased physical activity levels in neighborhoods where vacant lots were turned to community garden spaces. Reduced crime rates were also reported in these neighborhoods (Branas et al., 2011). Bonus!
Residential gardens allow us to switch off from the stresses of modern living, experience the beauty of nature, and be more fully present to the 'here and now'. Gardens, and outdoor living spaces in general, can be designed to enhance the positive effect they have on our wellbeing.
Discover what you love
Although there are several things you might incorporate into your garden, we are all different and different things help bring about our individual sense of peace and inner harmony. Water is a good example. A water feature that includes the sound of running water can be deeply relaxing to some, but can jangle the nerves of others. One person’s babbling brook can be another person’s leaky pipe! So, spend some time reflecting on what would be your perfect sanctuary space and what it would include.
When you visit places that you love and that put you put you at peace, where you find yourself breathing more deeply and wanting to dwell for longer, notice what it is about that space that encourages that sense of wellbeing. Is it the way the space is arranged, overall? Does it feel intimate and enclosed, or open and expansive with views of the horizon? What are the sights, smells and feelings that you experience?
Sit in your yard, relax and close your eyes. Bring to mind the most beautiful garden you can imagine. Spend some time in this space, looking around and enjoying the sights, scents and sounds. Then gently come back to the your yard and make a few notes or sketches of what you saw.
Create a feeling of 'being away'
Research has shown that one of the factors that contribute to the healing effect of a garden is the feeling of ‘being away’ or being transported to somewhere else. What element of a garden really transports you to your favorite vacation spot? Is it all the flowers? Is it a waterfall? Is it simply peace and quiet? Wouldn't you just love a place to "get away" where no passport is required?
As this is a space where you will naturally want to rest and be still, you’ll need some comfortable seating. What does that look like for you? Do you want a lounge chair to soak up the sun? Or upright seating to stare into a Koi pond?
Also think about what times of day you are likely to want to be in the space and where the sun is at those times.
Engage all the senses
Having elements that catch our attention provide a focus for our minds and distract us away from the incessant thinking that our brains default to. Not everyone finds water relaxing, but water can be fascinating, with the potential for movement, sound and reflections. I have heard water described as ‘a mirror for the sky’ and being near water can be deeply relaxing. A Koi pond with living plants can provide a myriad of delight for the senses: lush plants, floating flowers, gently swimming colorful fish, the occasional dragonfly and butterfly.
You might also like to include something that you use as an ‘object of concentration’ to meditate on, such as some form of sculpture, rocks or seashells. Plants provide color and an infinite variation of shapes and forms, but movement is also worth considering, such as grasses that sway in the breeze – it can be quite hypnotic.
Scent is an important element to consider too as being surrounded by the beautiful perfume of roses or flowering vines. However, if you are allergic to bees, you might want to keep this at a distance from where you sit.
Use plants that soothe you
This is very much where personal preference comes in. Would you like the feeling of a forest glade, a lush jungle, an English meadow, a Mediterranean grove, or a simple Sonoran Desert landscape? Cool toned whites, pinks, blues and purples have been found to have a calming and relaxing effect on people’s state of mind, so you may like to include more of these colors. It has been shown that green requires the least amount of effort for our eyes to see, so is naturally relaxing.
The Blue Mind
There’s a little something called The Blue Mind Theory by Wallace Nichols. There are books and YouTube videos that discuss why we as humans are drawn to be near the water, for both living and vacationing. So, water is typically a pretty important part of any healing garden. The choice comes in whether you want a waterfall, a babbling brook, or a fish pond – or all three! We would suggest sitting next to each one for a bit to discover what most puts you at ease and relaxes you.
Now that you are armed with some information, go sit down and design your own private paradise. And let us know if The Pond Gnome can be of service!