Backyard ponds have become an exciting landscaping trend! Most homeowners want a pond to add ambiance to their yard or to simply enhance their outdoor living space. Their goals range from fish collecting to plant collecting to simply wanting to enjoy the sight and sound of water. Ponds create a respite from the techno-crazy world and a haven for prized Koi and local wildlife. Yet few realize the countless environmental benefits of installing an ecosystem pond or water feature.
According to the National Gardening Association’s 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey, 9 out of 10 households believe it’s important to maintain their landscape in a way that benefits the environment. However, only about half of those are knowledgeable about how to maintain lawns and gardens in an environmentally-friendly way. Lots of homeowners hire a service to care for their landscape, and as long as it looks good, they don't really pay attention to what chemicals are being used, etc. Those that maintain their own, tend to run to the big-box store, buy chemicals, don't really read the instructions, and use way more than what is truly necessary. Many people don’t realize that by replacing some (or all) of their lawn with a pond or water feature, they can conserve water and energy, save money, and support the environment – not to mention reduce personal stress.
Lawns use A LOT of water
According to the University of Arizona, the average 15'x15' bermudagrass lawn uses over 5,000 gallons of water per year. A typical residential lawn sprinkler system broadcasts about 10–18 gallons per minute, per valve or zone. By the way, broadcasting water like that increases evaporation and the lawn doesn’t really receive as much water as is being broadcast.
So, if a lawn has two zones and runs for 15 minutes each three times per week, the water consumption would range between 4,500 and 7,560 gallons per month. In Phoenix, that would equate to about $175 to $275 per month on your water bill. Yikes!
PONDS USE LESS WATER THAN A LAWN
Evaporation on a pond is the same as on a swimming pool: 1” per day per square footage of surface area during the hottest, driest months of the year (typically mid-May through mid-June). During the rest of the year, the evaporation is negligible. AND you’re not adding water during monsoon storms and general rain days. Unless you have one of those expensive timers that detects the moisture in the air and doesn’t water when it’s raining, your lawn gets watered no matter what. A pond will have an autofill device that only adds water when it’s needed.
Lawns GENERALLY require more maintenance than ponds
Maintaining a lush lawn obviously requires regular watering, as pointed out above. But there’s also a LOT more that goes into maintaining a nice-looking lawn, right? You also have to fertilize it. When not done properly, runoff of excess fertilizer causes groundwater pollution. The EPA estimates that only 35 percent of lawn fertilizers applied ever reach the grass plant – the remainder ends up in our air or seeps into our water supply. During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are reportedly applied in pursuit of that perfect lawn and garden, says the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns. Is your “little patch of estate” worth that?
You have to mow and edge it, enslaving the average man (or woman) for at least half a day on any given weekend. Aside from the time involved, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, using 800 million gallons of gas per year, AND producing tons of air pollutants, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Garden equipment engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides, producing up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution (and a good deal more in metropolitan areas). A traditional gas-powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars, each being driven 12,000 miles. Lastly, more than 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the amount of oil that was spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska. And this all adds to groundwater contamination and smog, the EPA reports.
And then there's the noise pollution. The sounds of lawn mowers and edgers are NOT soothing. They are an irritant to anyone within range.
PONDS ADD TO THE AMBIENCE AND REDUCE STRESS
Ponds, however, reduce the need for lawn pesticides and fertilizers. They require about 10 minutes of maintenance per week, and pay you back with hours of enjoyment. And they certainly don’t require any gas-powered equipment. As an added benefit, the debris and sludge collected by your pond filter can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn, garden, and/or trees.
And as to sound, who wouldn't rather listen to a waterfall or babbling brook rather than mowers & blowers?
Now, if you have a bunch of kids that need a football or soccer field to play on, then by all means, plant a lawn! Or you could make use of a nearby park and let the City deal with the time and cost of the maintenance. But if you’re looking for a low water use, low maintenance, super enjoyable, and entertaining landscape option, you might want to consider an ecosystem pond or water feature.
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There's something truly captivating about a beautiful pond that draws us into its tranquil embrace. Whether nestled in a garden or gracing a grand estate, these shimmering water bodies have an inherent allure that seems to enchant us effortlessly. But have you ever wondered what creates this magical ambiance? Delving into the world of ponds, we discover that the secret lies in the art of design and the delicate balance of an ecosystem. Join us on a journey to unravel the mystique of a stunning pond, guided by the expertise and insights shared by The Pond Gnome, a premier Arizona resource for all things aquatic.
The Art of Pond Design
The Pond Gnome emphasizes that the magic of a beautiful pond originates from a well-thought-out design. Just like an artist's canvas, every pond presents an opportunity to create a unique masterpiece. From the shape and size to the positioning and materials used, every element plays a vital role in sculpting the final outcome.
The shape of the pond is crucial, with curves to mimic the organic flow of nature. A naturalistic design allows for a more harmonious integration with the surrounding environment, enabling the pond to blend seamlessly into its surroundings.
Elements of a Balanced Ecosystem
A visually stunning pond extends beyond aesthetics; it nurtures a thriving ecosystem supporting diverse aquatic life. The Pond Gnome highlights the significance of establishing a balanced ecosystem, ensuring the longevity and health of the pond's inhabitants.
Water quality stands as the cornerstone of a thriving ecosystem. Proper filtration systems, such as biological and mechanical filters, are employed to achieve this. These mechanisms, together with natural water treatments, work together to eliminate debris, excess nutrients, and harmful substances, resulting in crystal-clear water.
Aquatic plants are another vital component. They provide oxygen, compete with algae for nutrients, and offer shelter for fish and other aquatic organisms. By selecting a mix of floating, submerged, and marginal plants, the pond gains a harmonious balance of oxygenation and visual appeal.
The Role of Fish and Wildlife
The inclusion of fish in a pond adds a captivating dimension and completes the overall ecosystem. Koi and goldfish are popular choices due to their vibrant colors and graceful movements. Fish contribute to the ecological balance by consuming algae and insect larvae, thus reducing the risk of imbalances within the pond.
Additionally, attracting and supporting wildlife in and around the pond further enriches the ecosystem, not to mention establishing integrated pest management. Dragonflies, frogs, turtles, and birds create a dynamic environment, adding life and intrigue to the pond. Many creatures attracted to a pond also contribute to maintaining a balanced insect population, fostering a natural harmony within the ecosystem.
Maintenance and Care
To maintain the enchantment of a beautiful pond, regular maintenance and care are essential. The Pond Gnome advises routine tasks such as removing excess debris, checking and cleaning filters, and ensuring proper water levels. Careful monitoring of water quality parameters, such as ammonia content, is vital to prevent imbalances that could harm the ecosystem.
A beautiful pond is not merely a visual delight but a testament to the symbiotic relationship between design and ecosystem. The Pond Gnome's expertise reveals that every aspect, from the initial design to the nurturing of a balanced ecosystem, contributes to the allure and longevity of a stunning water feature. By appreciating the magic that arises from a good design and ecosystem balance, we gain a deeper understanding and admiration for the artistry of ponds. So, let the beauty of a well-crafted pond inspire you to have The Pond Gnome create your own aquatic masterpiece, merging art and nature in perfect harmony.
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Having a koi pond can be a wonderful addition to any backyard or garden. However, can be an expensive and time-consuming hobby that requires a significant investment of resources, including money, time, and effort. This is especially true if you don't include low-maintenance as part of the design process. As such, the question arises: is having a koi pond considered to be a luxury?
Luxury is a subjective concept, and what may be considered a luxury for one person may not be for another. Some people may view a koi pond as a worthwhile investment that brings them hours of joy and relaxation, while others may see it as an unnecessary expense (some people feel the same way about a pool).
The Koi Pond “Standard”
First and foremost, building a koi pond requires a significant financial investment. Depending on the size and design of the pond, the cost of materials, labor, and equipment can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on whether you’re building it yourself, or hiring a professional. Additionally, maintaining a koi pond can also be expensive, depending on how it's designed and built, as it requires a constant supply of electricity to run pumps and filters, as well as regular water testing and the purchase of high-quality fish food -- unless you have a pond built specifically to be low-maintenance.
Aside from the financial aspect, a koi pond also requires significant time and effort to build and maintain. Building a koi pond can take several weeks or even months, again depending on whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional. Once the pond is built, it must be regularly cleaned and maintained to keep the water quality high and the fish healthy.
Despite the cost and effort required to build and maintain a koi pond, many people view it as a worthwhile investment. For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, a koi pond can provide a sense of peace and relaxation. Watching the colorful fish swim gracefully through the water can be a calming and meditative experience, and many people find that caring for their koi brings them a sense of fulfillment and joy.
Whether or not a koi pond is a luxury depends on one's individual circumstances and priorities. While it is true that building and maintaining a koi pond requires a significant investment of resources, including money, time, and effort, many people view it as a worthwhile investment that brings them joy and relaxation. Ultimately, the decision to build a koi pond should be based on one's personal preferences and financial situation.
Not all Koi Ponds are Built EQUALLY
It also depends on the type of koi pond that is designed and built. There are literally hundreds of ways and thousands of choices in equipment, liner, etc. Here at The Pond Gnome, we choose to work WITH Mother Nature, not against Her. In keeping with this philosophy, we use Aquascape equipment and keep our water crystal clear using only natural bacteria and enzymes. We can do the latter because we create a complete ecosystem within the pond, and the koi (and/or other pond fish) are an integral part of this. Our clients are some of the happiest koi pond owners we know!
So, if you’re considering a koi pond as a respite to a techno-filled world, check out what The Pond Gnome does, and give us a shout with any questions or concerns you may have. We even have occasional events and tours where you can experience a bit of living the pond life for yourself.
According to an article dated 12/19/22, Zillow data identifies the top five home trends to watch, including the return of mirrored walls and closed floor plans.
Backyards are mentioned 22% more often in for-sale listings compared to 2021. The humble backyard, once overshadowed by chef's kitchens and walk-in closets, is the new luxury for today's home buyers. Backyards are now highlighted in 1 out of every 5 Zillow listing descriptions. "The rising popularity of outdoor features suggests the pandemic has changed the way we want to live for good, priming the backyard for a 2023 evolution," said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert. "When the pandemic forced all entertaining outdoors, homeowners reclaimed their backyards from the kids or the dogs. Now they're rethinking how that space could serve as an extension of their home in new, creative ways."
This growing trend in backyard landscaping involves the installation of ponds. Ponds are not only a beautiful addition to any backyard, but they also serve several practical purposes.
Enhance the Beauty of Your Backyard
The first and most obvious reason to install a pond in your backyard is to enhance its beauty. A pond creates a serene and tranquil atmosphere, providing a place for relaxation and meditation. The water and aquatic plants offer a peaceful environment that is conducive to contemplation and reflection.
Moreover, the fish and other wildlife that live in a pond can add an extra layer of visual interest to your backyard. A pond can also act as a natural focal point, drawing the eye to the center of your backyard and creating a sense of unity and cohesion.
Provide a Home for Wildlife
A pond can provide a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Fish, frogs, turtles, and birds (native & migratory) are just a few of the creatures that may make their home in your pond. As a result, a pond can become a hub of biodiversity in your backyard, supporting a wide range of species that you might not otherwise see.
Not only is this great for the environment, but it also adds an extra layer of interest to your backyard. Watching the wildlife in and around your pond can be a source of endless entertainment and fascination.
Create a Relaxing Ambiance
The sound of running water has long been associated with relaxation and stress relief. By installing a pond in your backyard, you can create a calming and peaceful environment that can help you to unwind after a long day. The gentle sound of water can be soothing and therapeutic, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels. Everyone wants to live or vacation near the water. Don’t wait all year for that vacation – take one every day!
Increase Property Value
Finally, installing a pond in your backyard can increase the value of your property. A well-designed and maintained pond can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your backyard, making it more attractive to potential buyers. Moreover, a pond can be a unique and eye-catching feature that sets your property apart from others on the market.
Turn your backyard from Mundane to Magical today!
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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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