Thirsty for Survival
Water is Arizona wildlife’s most important resource, and it’s vital for more than just quenching thirst. Fish and frogs live in or near water their whole lives. Birds use water to keep their feathers clean and free of parasites, bees use water to cool their hives, and larger animals use water to cool down their bodies.
Arizona is in a cycle of long-term drought, which means there’s less available water for animals and a bigger fight for their survival. Urban sprawl has taken out many natural wetlands and catchment areas that our wildlife used to be able to depend on. As temperatures here rise, their search for water becomes even more crucial.
Arizona Wildlife Needs Our Help
Arizona Game & Fish Department and their partners use trucks and helicopters to haul water to remote sites and keep 3,000 catchments full. These partners are mostly individuals volunteering. You can help them out by donating at SendWater.org, or volunteering your time.
Pond Owners Are Already Helping Arizona Wildlife!
As a pond or water feature owner, you are already helping! Keeping organic clean water in your yard invites our native feathered friends and the visiting migratory birds to quench their thirst and bathe. If you live in a neighborhood with a NAOS area, the wildlife living within counts on your water feature to survive alongside our human-built habitats. Bees count on your water feature to gather water to take back to cool the hive, ensuring their survival (and we all know how important they are!).
By having an ecosystem water feature, you are actually helping to replace our disappearing wetlands. You’re one of the good guys!
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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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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?
The beauty and joy of a pond makes summer far more memorable and relaxing! Summer is still in full swing here in Phoenix (as demonstrated by the 100+ degree days) and every moment with your finned friends and pond plants should be thoroughly relished. To fully enjoy yourself while Living the Aquascape Lifestyle®, you want to make sure your water feature is healthy and functioning optimally throughout the remainder of the warmer months. When water temperature remains above 80 degrees, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Health of Your Pond Fish
Keep an eye on your fish. Do your finned friends appear stressed out, gasping for air close to the water’s surface or especially close to a fountain or waterfall? Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen, while cooler water can hold very large amounts of oxygen.
Warm pond water and increased fish activity go hand and hand, and that increased activity also means your fish require more oxygen when less oxygen is available, thus creating a vicious cycle. Stressed fish often begin to develop diseases, and soon enough you’ll have a domino effect.
If you haven’t already done so, add oxygen to your pond by placing an aerator in your pond. You can also install a fountain with a pump, or even a simple spitter, if your pond doesn’t have a waterfall or stream -- and even if it does, this adds more interest in addition to more oxygen. Make sure all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water is being circulated -- keep those streams and waterways clear and flowing. And keep in mind that waterfalls, streams, and even fountains play a huge part in the oxygenation of the water in your pond.
Beat the Heat
There are some preventative measures you can take in order to keep your pond from turning into a warm, unhealthy mess at the end of summer. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth of water, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when designing and building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested; the bottom of the pond will remain cooler.
You’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area. It’s not too late to add plants to your pond.
Perhaps one of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. Hopefully your biological filter and mechanical filter are placed across the pond from each other, so that your pond receives optimal circulation. If not, consider adding a fountain or spitter for additional circulation and to create movement in stagnant areas.
Additional Late Summer Pond Tips
During the final months of summer, you can use these tips to help keep your pond performing optimally:
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