When you want to enjoy your water feature as the sun begins to set, be sure to add outdoor lighting. During Phoenix summers, it's pretty much the only time we can get outside without melting! Most people think to add landscape lighting around a deck or patio, but don’t neglect your water feature for optimal nighttime viewing! Here you’ll find pretty backyard lighting ideas for your pond, waterfall, or fountain.
Adding underwater lighting to a pond helps you enjoy watching your fish swim at night. It’s almost magical watching them dart in and out of the lights.
Waterfall and pond lights add an ethereal glow to your water garden, creating a memorable moment during the evening hours.
For water feature owners, backyard lighting ideas include both pond and landscape lights. Underwater lights allow you to see fish in the evening, while garden path lights accentuate the architectural elements of terrestrial plants.
Underwater pond lights are a must for those with recreation ponds.
For a truly pretty effect add a waterfall light. You’ll find your water feature takes on a whole new look at night.
Water takes on a glowing effect when spilling over rocks. It’s easy to be mesmerized by this peaceful scene.
A small spotlight showcases a fountain in a front or backyard.
No matter what type of water feature you have, you can enhance its beauty well into the evening hours with the addition of pond and garden lighting.
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Many people are opting for (or being forced into) homeschooling in some form these days. Whether you have a kindergartener or a teenager, this can be challenging. Even if you're kiddo is attending online school, you might be struggling with ways to enrich their education, or just flat-out keep them motivated. Believe it or not, a pond can help!
TEACHING THE BASICS WITH A POND
A well-build ecosystem pond or water feature can be a terrific education-enhancing tool for teaching the basics: reading, writing & math. Reading next to a water feature can be a very pleasurable experience. The sound of a well-designed waterfall or babbling brook is relaxing, so if your child has reading anxiety, this could help calm that down. And there are tons of cool articles and blogs about ponds, or whatever actually interests them.
Aside from the calming effect of a water feature to help ease anxieties about the drudgery of school assignments, writing a little story about one of the pond fish could be an excellent lesson in observation and/or creative writing.
Math is not always a subject loved by all, so don't tell the little minx they're about to have a math lesson. Just ask them how they would calculate how much water is in the pond to do a water treatment. Little guys and gals might just want to count the fish. If you happen to have multiple kids, this is the perfect way to get them involved with each other.
POND AND THE ARTS
Music lessons by the pond? You betcha! Water has it's own music, so ask your little prodigy to find the beat and incorporate that into their playing. Allow them to be creative and think outside the box.
Art is an obvious subject to teach by the pond: draw the pond; draw the fish; draw the plants; draw the birds that visit -- you get the idea. Or maybe grab a Monet book from the library and compare his art to how your pond looks.
Recess is a great time for a rousing game of follow-the-leader!
NOT-SO-WEIRD SCIENCE BY THE POND
This should be an easy one! Ecosystem ponds provide all kinds of cool science, anatomy, and biology lessons. If you have a microscope, there are even more possibilities!
THE NEW SCHOOL IS KINDA OLD-SCHOOL
We've gotten so regimented in our school-based learning processes that we forget that everything around us provides learning and teaching opportunities. A pond can be your most useful education enrichment tool, while also providing a calm atmosphere for lessons that might have caused your child learning anxieties in the past. Use your imagination and let your inner kid come out and play with your child -- you might be amazed at how that square peg that didn't fit into the school's round hole will blossom! Bonus: a magnificent sense of parental accomplishment for you. You've now earned that chocolate bar during nap time. ;-)
Feel free to comment below to share your own cool ideas and experiences!
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Did you know there’s a scientific reason why a shower feels so refreshing? It’s the same reason why people flock to lakes, oceans, and waterfalls for vacations. Falling water from fountains, waterfalls, and even your morning shower releases negative ions into the surrounding atmosphere. And these ions have a profound effect on our physical well-being!
When you’re in an environment where the concentration of negative ions is greater than positive ions, it will have a positive effect on your body, mind, and spirit. There’s an increase in blood flow and oxygen content to your cells; it lowers blood pressure and stabilizes respiration creating a calming effect. Increased oxygen content in your blood is critical for all metabolic functions which in turn effects your mood.
Hospital patients who have a view of natural landscapes recover faster from surgery and require less pain medication. In addition, heart rate, blood pressure, and other measures return to normal levels more quickly when people view natural rather than urban landscapes after a stressful experience.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative. Standards and Guidelines: Preliminary Report.
It’s no secret that water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world. Now more than ever, we need the healing effects that water provides.
Whether you’re dealing with stress, illness, or simply wish to improve your overall outlook on life, consider adding a pond, waterfall, or fountainscape to your outdoor living space. Experts agree it can be extremely therapeutic!
As landscape architects and experts in healing garden design, we specify water features in most of our projects. We’ve had great success with using the Aquascape product line. Their natural pond systems fit perfectly into our design solutions and offer our clients a sustainable solution that adds a positive distraction to the healthcare environment. We also design water features in unusual locations like roof decks. Aquascape sculptural water displays add a nice balance to the healing garden aesthetic.
Geoff Roehll, Senior Vice President, Hitchcock Designs
Our patients and their families find peace and tranquility when visiting our beautiful water features. We receive a great deal of positive feedback on the addition of the water gardens to our facility. Even the staff and board members have found the water features to be beneficial for relieving stress and improving their daily outlook.
Nancy Vance, Executive Director, Living Well Cancer Resource Center
Ready to get your own piece of paradise?
We all know by now that an organic living water feature on your property benefits the local and migratory wildlife. We also know that it greatly enhances the enjoyment of your outdoor environment. And it's well-known that it tends to be the focal point of a garden, as well as a gathering spot for family, friends & neighbors. But does this kind of home improvement actually add value to your home?
Yes, Water Features DO Add Value to a Home!
Studies show that Phoenix ponds & water features have measurable value! The garden/landscape/outdoor environment is the center of what is most likely your biggest asset: your home. According to Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University, landscaping is now the only home improvement project that actually nets you a return on your investment. You will receive a 9% increase in home value for well done landscaping expenditures! That's right, for every $1 you invest, you can expect a return on investment of around $3. That might be better that some stock market options right now. You also get curb appeal, a great outdoor living area, and you help improve the look of the entire neighborhood! Conversely, a poorly conceived, neglected garden can adversely affect your home value by as much as 8-10%. Yikes!
How do I cash in on this added value?
If you don't already have a great living water feature, you might be interested to know that an upgrade of adding a pond, waterfall, stream or custom fountainscape to your outdoor environment can increase your home value by 10.8%. AND it's an investment that lasts! In fact, it gets even better as it matures -- like women and fine wine.
If you have an old pool that no longer is in use, it can be converted to a fabulous Koi pond!
How can I get more proof?
Need more evidence? Check out what our customers have to say about theirs -- and feel free to contact them with your questions or concerns!
You can also check out some before and after pictures for ideas about improvements to your own garden.
Turtles are great! The Pond Gnome has lots of clients who adore their turtle pets. And just like any pet, turtles need certain conditions to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. We don’t profess to be herpetologists by any stretch, but we can help with some basics for our area of the country, as well as some references for more information.
Most Common Breeds Kept in Arizona
Turtles are well-adapted to our desert climate, and most species will live about 30 years given a proper habitat and diet. The most common turtle species we see in backyard ponds are the Red-Eared Slider. They are native to the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico.
The second most commonly seen backyard turtle is the Mississippi Map Turtle, which is native to the Mississippi watershed, as the name suggests. These two species likely make up 80% of the pet turtles in Arizona.
Our native species is the Arizona Mud Turtle. There are three species of mud turtles that are found in and near creeks, rivers, lakes, stock tanks, and ciénegas in central and southeastern Arizona. Mud Turtles can be relatively common in their preferred habitats. A hunting license is required to lawfully collect and possess Mud Turtles in Arizona.
Security and Safety for Their Health and our Native Environment
The most important thing to remember about keeping exotic pets like turtles, is to keep them properly contained. Escaped exotic turtles do a lot of damage to our native species. Allowing them to escape into natural rivers and streams is an environmental disaster of sorts.
Proper fencing designed to contain them from both climbing out, and digging out, is crucial. Also keep in mind they are not the top of the food chain. If you live in an area with racoons, you must also keep the racoons out of your turtle habitat, or build you turtle pond large enough for your turtle pets to escape predation.
Turtles are omnivores. They eat whatever they can catch or find, including insects, small fish, frogs, and many aquatic plants, as well as dead fish or frogs. This makes an organic water garden a utopian environment for them! Just make sure it is large and diverse enough to handle their foraging activities, and the biological filters are designed to handle the ammonia production of your turtle pets.
Of course, lots of folks like to hand-feed their turtles various veggies. We know of a few really spoilt turtles whose owners interact with them every single day with treats and attention, and swear that they come when called.
Turtles will spend most of their life in the water. When active, they can hold their breath under water for up to 30 minutes! During the colder months, they can enter a state of torpor and remain under water for months at a time! Still, they should have a sunny rock to bask on in the middle of their pond where they can feel safe while soaking up the warm sunshine. They should also have a space of terrestrial dirt, and maybe event composted mulch and a shrub or two, to hang out under once in a while.
Turtles need a body of water to hang out in to stay hydrated. They cannot survive long without a healthy, organic, body of water. Having a filtered pond big enough to swim in, to hide in, and within which to forage is optimal. If you relegate them to an enclosure with a small water tub, know that the water in the tub will need to be changed frequently as turtles defecate mostly in the water. Thus, a properly built filtration system designed to handle their output is essential if you want to also enjoy that pond aesthetically.
Responsible Turtle Parenting
As with any pet, you should design and build a good habitat for the creature before bringing it home. Many folks get a turtle on a whim, or by gift, and don’t have a good environment in place, causing suffering, and sometimes even death. All the good intentions in the world fall short of proper planning.
Resources for More TURTLE Information
Arizona Game and Fish Department: http://www.gf.state.az.us/
Arizona Herpetological Association: http://www.azreptiles.com
Online field guide to reptiles and amphibians of Arizona: http://www.reptilesofaz.com/
Reptiles of Arizona: http://reptilesofaz.org/turtles.htm