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.
One of the first questions we're often asked when folks call us for the first time is how long will it take to build my pond. Obviously, that depends on the size. The short answer is that our average pond project is started and completed in the same week. Part of our reputation, besides being the cleanest contractor people have ever worked with, is that we show up when we promise and we stay until the job is done. As a rule, we don't hop around between projects.
Keep reading to understand our entire process -- it's a bit different than you may have experienced with other contractors before. ;-)
If you're planning on building the pond yourself, then it can take anywhere from a weekend to a whole lot longer.
Contact to Contract
We estimate that the average time it takes for someone to go from first contact with us to signing a contract and getting on our construction schedule takes about 2-3 weeks. That time estimate depends on our client's schedule, as well as the amount of incoming requests at any given time.
We do our best to get back to people who first contact us within 48 business hours. During times of unusual incoming requests, this can take a little longer, and we try to keep you posted on where you are in our que.
Once we've had a chance to chat, we usually get out to see your job site and put together your plan and contract within a week from the first telephone conversation.
Once we have a plan, contract, and deposit, we can schedule your start date for next in line.
When Can You Start?
The next question is almost always, when can you start? Depending on the time of year (Spring being our busiest season), we are typically between 3 and 5 weeks out for a new project. Not gonna lie, we've been as far as 3 months out before. We always appreciate people who can plan ahead just a bit! ;-)
Our Unique System
It's as easy as 1-2-3! You might find our process a bit different than what you've experienced with contractors in the past. Our system is designed to first and foremost make sure that we're a good fit for you -- that we're the company that can best meet your needs, goals, and expectations. If we're not, we have no problem referring you to a colleague that we feel would be a better fit.
Step 1. The initial contact is typically done through a phone or video conversation. We ask a whole bunch of questions, so please be patient with us as we get to know you and go through the discovery process of how we can be of service. Again, we have your best interest at heart. The last thing we want to do is jam our product down your throat and create an unhappy client because we didn't meet your expectations. We have a stellar reputation for a reason! If we're looking at remodeling or replacing an existing feature, we'll also ask for photos so we know where we're starting from. If everything goes swimmingly with the phone conversation, and you're comfortable with moving forward with your project -- and our company, we move on to the on-site design consultation.
Step 2. We call this an on-site design consultation because we're coming out to design your pond or water feature. The "free estimate" part has already been handled during the phone conversation beforehand -- another factor in making sure we're a good fit for you. At this time, we meet with all the decision-makers involved to make sure that everyone gets their questions answered, their concerns addressed, and their expectations heard. When everyone involved is comfortable and chomping at the bit to get the party started, we lay out the design, write up the contract, and collect the deposit. The deposit is 1/2 of the contract amount, which allows us to go ahead and order and dedicate the materials necessary to complete your project.
We do have a design consultation fee if you're not quite yet comfortable, or want to continue to talk it over amongst yourselves, etc. That covers our time, education, and expertise for this visit that was set aside just for you. This is why Step 1 is so important to make sure we're all on the same page before Step 2.
Step 3. You are put on the construction schedule for next in line. And we don't just leave you hanging until then! We send out communication emails to let you know what comes next, and keep you informed along the way.
That's really all there is to it. It's as easy as 1-2-3 to elevate your outdoor living experience! Can we get started on yours?
How do I find a leak in my Ecosystem Pond?
Many times what people think is a leak in their backyard pond is actually a water displacement issue with the waterfall or stream. Or it could simply be a malfunctioning autofill device. OR, in May and June, which are our hottest, driest months, it could very well be evaporation at its finest.
When a leak really isn't a leak:
Remember that water wicks up the side of the rocks in your pond, so be sure you are actually seeing a drop in water, and not just wicking action. If the autofill device is not running at more than a drip, then you don't have a leak.
Phoenix pond leak troubleshooting steps
Before spending money for someone else to find the problem, here are some simple things you can do to troubleshoot the issue. Heck, you may even be able to fix it yourself and save some money!
Turn off the water supply to the pond and unplug the pump, monitoring the water loss overnight. If the water level does not drop any further, you know the "leak" is in the waterfall or stream, and is more likely than not the result of plants needing to be thinned, or another displacement issue like shifting rocks on the edge of your liner due to some settling.
Aquatic plants need thinning in a Phoenix pond or stream!
This is an easy fix with a living ecosystem pond built using EPDM rubber. Use an appraising eye to evaluate whether or not your stream is packed full of plant roots. If you've just been trimming off the dead leaves and not actually thinning the root material, chances are, you've located your issue. Sometimes you have to be brutal and thin those babies good! Just don't do this during winter when there's a chance that an upcoming frost will kill what's left of the plants.
Settling leak around the edges of a Phoenix pond
Once that is done, check around the edges to make sure that water is still not going over the side of the liner. If it is, then you may have a settling leak. Again, this is an easy fix. Move some rocks out of the way, lift the liner up, shove some dirt under it, and replace the rock. Viola! Problem solved.
The leak is in the waterfall
If the previous two steps didn't solve the problem, then the leak is somewhere in the waterfall, and you should call your contractor to come deal with it, unless you're really handy and know what you're doing. Make sure that the flow over the falls is not being impeded by plants that have shifted into position. This sometimes causes a dam, causing water to flow off the back of the waterfall instead of the front.
The leak is in the pond
If the water continued to drop despite the waterfall being turned off, go ahead and turn the system back on to keep it oxygenated for your fish if it's summertime, and call your contractor for help. You may be advised to turn the waterfall back off and let it drop until it stops so that the hole or tear can be quickly addressed.
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NEED MORE HELP?
Container water gardening is a rapidly-growing garden hobby and provides a whole new opportunity for an exciting group of plants. Not to mention, you can even add small fish to your aquatic container, thereby creating your very own mini pond to enjoy without having to pick up a shovel. These mini ponds are fabulous for folks who don't have a whole lot of space, like condos and townhouses, etc.
Plants are what makes your container water garden a garden. They add interest, texture, and a splash of color to the spot you choose for your mini pond. They also help keep the water clear of algae, while providing perching spots for birds that seek out the water.
To make choosing plants easier, we’re sharing our list of favorite aquatic plants for mini ponds. And what’s more – you can add any of these plants to any pond, large or small!
Feathery heads on sturdy green stalks create a striking vertical element in container water gardens. Dwarf papyrus enjoys a little shade but can take full sun, too. Use this charmer as an annual in colder climates.
Feathery lime green foliage on vibrant red stems creates a mat that will spill over the edge of your container. It grows 3” to 4” tall and is a great choice for both small ponds and container water gardens. Place it in full sun to part shade. And keep it pinched back to make it grow fuller.
Add a bit of height and color to your mini pond with the impressive pink or purple pickerel rush plant. This easy-to-grow aquatic plant rewards you with bright blue flowers atop lush green foliage. Prefers full sun to part shade and grows 24” to 30” tall.
Taro, Green or Black
Glossy green leaves on deep purple stems add a stunning effect to your container water garden. Each leaf is a work of art atop 36” high stems. Choose Taro when you want an especially tall plant for your container. Enjoys full shade in Phoenix. Available in standard green or black (pictured below).
Looking for a smaller plant that blooms all summer? Look no further than this dainty white flower with a cone-shaped center. As they age, the flowers get pink spots. This plant is actually an Arizona canyon native plant. The Native Americans use it in a tea form to relieve digestive issues.
Soft and velvety, this floating plant performs best in shady to partly sunny locations. Each “flower” sends out shoots to create more rosettes. If your container gets crowded, simply thin them out.
Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’
Helvola is the smallest of all the hardy waterlilies with delightful 2” to 3” star-shaped blooms and heavily mottled 1” to 2” pads. Prefers full sun to partial shade and blooms all summer long
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these can get you started off on the right foot. Check out our page on pond plants for your backyard!
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Water gardening and ponds have become popular trends in home yard design over the last several years, and their popularity as a home improvement is gaining ground every day. The backyard pond has become the favorite space outside the house for relaxing alone, with the family, or entertaining friends. Similar to having a swimming pool in your backyard, there’s more to having a pond than simply digging a hole, filling it with water, dropping in a few fish and surrounding it with some greenery. Some basic pond maintenance is essential to the longevity of your water garden. A little regular pond care and the installation of pond filtration systems will keep your backyard oasis thriving and beautiful for many years of enjoyment.
Pond maintenance can be low once you understand the basics. The main concept for maintaining a healthy pond is the understanding that caring for your pond requires managing animal and plant waste, such as fish excrement and the growth of algae. Rivers and streams naturally renew themselves with nutrients and fresh water; however, a man-made pond is a closed ecosystem. This means that nothing is organically added in or taken out by natural outside forces (except for maybe that ocassional dust storm). For successful pond maintenance, manual intervention is necessary to take care of what nature isn’t and to keep the ecosystem of the pond in balance.
In a closed pond system, as opposed to an open, natural ecosystem, waste and algae needs to be equalized, and for this reason a proper biological and mechanical pond filtration system is needed. By caring for your pond, filtering out organic materials and not letting them break down and decay in the water, a healthy balance will be maintained in the pond. The best way to ensure a healthy pond is by installing a pond filtration system. A professional pond designer/builder will install a filtration system that is adequate for the size of the pond you have, and add appropriate water plants to help with the filtration process.
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