In today’s economic climate, especially, we’re all looking for ways to improve our quality of life, and to get the most value from our home improvements. Some people are even foregoing traveling and eating out in favor of cocooning.
A pond or water feature is a wonderful and valuable home improvement that provides hours of enjoyment while asking only minutes per week of maintenance. AND it’s environmentally friendly and responsible!
Believe it or not, having the sight and sound of water in your yard makes it seem at least 10 degrees cooler than the actual outside ambient temperature. This is something that our clients report to us all the time. And in our Phoenix summers, that’s a big bonus!
A pond is great place to gather around – instead of the TV for a change. There’s no better way to bring the family together, whether that’s engaging the kids or just talking with your spouse.
When you have friends and family over, they will gravitate to the pond as the natural focal point in the yard. So much to see with moving water, lush plants, and graceful fish.
With underwater lighting, a pond is a whole new world, extending the viewing pleasure into nighttime – another bonus in Phoenix summers.
Adds Life to Yard
Plants in general add life to a landscape, and adding a pond or stream into the mix really makes the whole yard come alive with sight and sound! If you enjoy wildlife and cool native and migratory bird watching, there’s no better option – build it and they will come.
After a techno-crazy day at work, come home and decompress to the sight and sound of water, lush plants, graceful fish, and just the general feeling of AAAAHHHHH! Leave the phone and computer in the house and let your mind rest.
Meditative & Healing
Meditation next to a pond will take you to a whole new level. By its very nature, water in the landscape is soothing to the senses. Watch out, tho – it can put you to sleep pretty easily! In fact, during the time of year when we can have our windows open, sleeping to the sound of a waterfall or babbling brook will aid in deep, restorative sleep. Living water is a big part of any healing garden.
Good for the Earth
When considering different landscape and home improvement options, “green” is the language of the day. An ecosystem pond or stream does not require chemicals to maintain. It does not require the use of a lawn mower or blower, which items create noise pollution. It does not require fertilization, which poisons our groundwater. It is truly earth-friendly.
And wildlife digs it! It offers our native and migratory birds and wildlife a respite in the face of urban sprawl.
And let’s not forget our beloved pets! All our pet-owning clients will tell you that they’ve ditched the smelly slimy outdoor water dish that they used to have to clean out constantly because their furry friends would much rather have the fresh organic water right out of the pond or stream. This creates a higher, healthier quality of life for them, as well.
Check out what The Pond Gnome’s clients have to say about how their quality of life was improved. And we highly recommend that you experience the atmosphere in person by visiting one of our public displays, booking an appointment to visit our private showroom, or attending one of our open-to-the-public events.
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Many pond owners opt to locate their water garden in a shady location of the yard. This way, they can enjoy watching their fish while being protected from the heat of direct summer sun. While a shaded pond is ideal for cooling off in the summer, it can pose a problem for enjoying the beauty of waterlilies. Most waterlilies typically need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight in order to produce beautiful blooms. Fortunately, there are a few hardy varieties that will bloom their hearts out with as little as four hours of sunlight per day. Following is our list of favorite shade tolerant water lilies categorized by color, along with their sunlight requirements.
SHADE-TOLERANT RED WATER LILIES
James Brydon – 3 hours sun
Little Champion – 3 hours sun
Red Attraction – 3 hours sun
SHADE-TOLERANT YELLOW WATER LILIES
Comanche – 3 hours sun
Texas Dawn – 3 hours sun
Joey Tomocik – 3 hours sun
SHADE-TOLERANT PINK WATER LILIES
Somptuosa – 4 hours sun
Arc-en-ceil – 4 hours sun
SHADE-TOLERANT PEACH WATER LILIES
Peaches n Cream – 4 hours sun
Sioux – 4 hours sun
SHADE-TOLERANT MINIATURE WATER LILIES
Berit Strawn – 3 to 4 hours sun
Graziella – 3 to 4 hours sun
Helvola – 3 to 4 hours sun
Hermaine – 3 to 4 hours sun
Toss aside the notion that you can’t enjoy water lilies if you have a partially shaded pond. The caveat here is that they may not all grow here in Phoenix. Here's a great resource for talking about and purchasing water lilies from a local supplier: Victoria Helton, Arizona Water Garden Oasis, (623) 239-8226.
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Being “plugged in” is a normal way of life these days. If you’re like most people, your smartphone alarm wakes you up in the morning. You get ready with the TV news on, and then scan your text messages. Some people even start the day with text messages or their social media feed before they get out of bed. Throughout the day, you check email, text-chat with friends, and scroll through your social media platforms. In the evening, you watch your favorite TV shows while online shopping, checking in on social media, and possibly playing a video game on your phone. And, at bedtime, you use smartphone apps for meditation or white noise, or just play games on your phone until you pass out.
In fact, Americans spend an average of four hours watching TV, and about seven-and-a-half hours on digital devices. Every. Single. Day. Predictably, so much screen time is stressing many of us out – and we don’t even know why.
The solution may be a digital detox, which can provide relief from the pressure of constant connection to electronic devices. Research has found that doing a digital detox may even help improve your sleep, relationships, and mood.
What is a digital detox?
The definition of a digital detox is to take a break from using electronic devices or certain media for a period of time. The specifics are different from person to person. Things people avoid during a digital detox may include:
The benefits of taking a break from technology
Doing a digital detox is a great way to find out if technology is holding you back from living your best life. The results of unplugging can be far-reaching, from being more productive at work to deepening your relationships with family and friends. Benefits of taking a technology timeout include:
With frequent beeps and pop-up notifications on electronics, it’s easy to be distracted from what’s going on around you. During a digital detox, you may find that you notice more in your immediate surroundings. Your brain can concentrate much better on your tasks. Remember, life is what happens around you while you’re staring at your phone.
For some people, too much information can be stressful. For example, many people get really upset from watching hours of news. And then there’s the stress of feeling like you must look at that text that just came in, and feeling that you must reply right away. It can be overwhelming.
Better social interactions
Eliminating digital distractions creates more opportunities to pay attention to those around you. For example, without devices around at dinner, you naturally interact and connect more with your family. Or if your nose isn’t buried in your smartphone, you have the chance to meet someone new in the checkout line. And if texting is off-limits, you’re more likely to pick up the phone to chat with a friend – via your voices!
More control of your time
Ever feel an overwhelming urge to check your smartphone or pop onto social media? You’re not alone. On average, Americans check their smartphones 96 times a day and spend more than two hours on social media. For many people, checking their phone or social media whenever there’s a few free minutes is a reflex action that isn’t based on any real need. Taking a break from digital devices or media helps you combat compulsive, habitual, or addictive use.
Signs you need to put down the devices
Wondering if you need a digital detox? If using electronic media causes you to have any of the following experiences, it’s a sign that you may need to disconnect:
What can you do about it?
You have to be intentional about the use of your time. Set aside time each day to unplug or decompress. Notice the benefits and barriers you experienced during this time. What happened when you stopped watching the news for three hours straight? How did you feel when you weren’t using Facebook or Instagram? Was it easier than you thought, or tough to do? Making it a household rule that no one uses digital media during family dinners is a great place to start!
Reconnect with Nature!
Spending time in nature has been documented time and again to have healing powers. Take a day hike, stroll along a nature path, walk barefoot in a park, or create your own respite in your very own back yard. Shameless plug here for adding a living ecosystem pond or water feature by The Pond Gnome to your outdoor living space. You’d be amazed at how spending just 30-60 minutes a day away from electronics can benefit your mind and body! You don’t have to go cold-turkey for hours, days, or weeks at a time to decompress and allow yourself some relief from the techno-crazy world we live in. A little time each day can be extremely beneficial. It allows your mind to rest, away from constant stimulation.
Basically, a digital detox is about taking charge of how you spend your time and energy and what you give your attention to. It helps you realize what you want more and less of in your life so you can break unhelpful habits and create new, more meaningful ones.
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PROMOTING WELLNESS THROUGH LANDSCAPE DESIGN
Besides all of the wonderful aquatic plants available to us, we can also use annuals in Phoenix ponds and water features to spice things up a bit. Being annuals, yes, they will eventually spend and die, but they last for a whole season! This is most helpful in the wintertime when most aquatic plants are dormant and not showing off with blooms. However, it's also a great way to really liven things up in the summer, and add even more variety to your aquatic plant palette.
Check out a short video on how and why The Pond Gnome adds annuals to our water features:
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?