Outdoor Living Spaces:
Most people think of outdoor grills and patio furniture when they think of outdoor living spaces. Once the outdoor meal is over, what more is there to do in your backyard? While many homeowners turn to pools or hot tubs, they’re discouraged by the amount of maintenance and chemicals required with these amenities.
For the price of a hot tub, a beautiful ecosystem pond can be installed, and less maintenance is required thereby providing more time to relax and enjoy friends and family.
Pools and hot tubs utilize heavy use of chemicals to stay clean. An Ecosystem Pond maintains clarity and quality of water through a balance of fish, plants, aeration, and filtration, often eliminating the need for chemicals. In northern climates, outdoor grills and similar features are typically enjoyed during the warmer months, whereas a water feature can be enjoyed year-round.
Enhanced landscaping improves property value, and water features make your property stand out from the rest. A Pondless® Waterfall in the front yard provides curb appeal, while a backyard Ecosystem Pond increases a home’s value much like a deck, patio, or gazebo. The sound of a water feature will drown out noise from traffic or neighbors. In addition, water features provide an interesting backdrop for entertaining while adding aesthetic appeal to your landscape. Waterfront property is a prized commodity and you can easily incorporate water into your outdoor living space without having to move near a lake or ocean.
“Nearly 20% of buyers say they consider landscaping to be a ‘very important’ factor in their decision to buy a house, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.”
—Wall Street Journal. Selling Houses by the Yard. August 17, 2007.
“Property adjacent to water – whether a pond, lake, stream, river, or ocean – is often more expensive.”
—Kaplan, Kaplan, and Ryan.
With People in Mind: Design and Management of Everyday Nature, p. 113.
Quality Family Time:
Backyard ponds create a gathering spot for family and friends. Young children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents enjoy relaxing by the pond’s edge, and water features act like a magnet pulling the family together. Enjoy family meals outside near the pond and spend the evening unwinding with your loved ones. Educate young children on the wonders of nature with an ecosystem pond. All ages love watching the fish glide underneath lily pads, and enjoy the surprise afforded by a frog poking its head above the surface of the water.
Health and Wellness:
Water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world. Lower your blood pressure and improve your physical and mental health as you prop your feet up and enjoy the therapeutic effects of Mother Nature.
…” 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 & Guidelines: Preliminary Report. November 1, 2007.
Environmental sustainability has taken center stage in today’s world, and water plays an important role as the world’s greatest resource. An ecosystem pond is self-sustaining with very little maintenance. Although it takes many gallons of water to fill initially, over the long haul it requires less water than the expanse of lawn it replaced. Water features attract wildlife of all kinds, from birds to butterflies, to frogs and salamanders. Certified wildlife habitats are growing in popularity, and water is one of the elements required to achieve certification. Water gardening becomes your new hobby as you feel yourself drawn to its beauty and natural elements. A pond provides opportunity to have fish as pets, without the mess and maintenance of an aquarium. Aquatic plants give you the chance to broaden your gardening horizons with choices that go beyond the standard petunia and rose. In addition, bird lovers will delight in the new variety of feathered friends that flock to a water feature. Nature lovers simply can’t go wrong with water features.
“Landscaping can change the microclimate around a building by 20 – 25 degrees F. According to the US Department of Energy, energy-efficient landscaping can save up to 30% on home heating bills. Savings for cooling can be even more. Tests in Florida showed a 50% reduction in air conditioning costs. Most people can save at least a few hundred dollars a year by properly reworking their yard … Water also tempers heat. Even a small pond can help.”
By Ed Beaulieu, Vice President of Field Research and Development (Aquascape Inc)
Natural wetlands are considered to be Kidneys of the Earth! They perform a critical role in our environment of capturing and removing a variety of nutrients and pollutants from our water systems. Wetlands are basically nutrient sinks, the lush aquatic vegetation and its associated animal species make it the most biologically diverse habitat in the world! Scientists have attempted to unlock the secrets of healthy wetland systems but due to the complex nature we have struggled with truly understanding all of the details and functions of wetland habitats.
One of the unfortunate costs of development has been the loss of natural wetland systems which we are starting to feel the impacts of. Without wetlands we are seeing an increase in algal blooms in our waterways from excess nutrients, riverine habitat loss due to sedimentation of diverse rock and gravel substrates that are buried under sediments, these impacts will change the biology of our rivers which eventually impact our oceans fed by the rivers! I think you can see the pattern here! As water feature designers and builders we can incorporate similar functions of wetlands to beautify our water features and filter them.
One of the early constructed wetland pioneers, Dr. Wolverton did some great work with constructed wetlands. Working with NASA he designed and built constructed wetland filters to treat sewerage in rural communities that do not have access to traditional waste water systems. These filters are called Rock Reed Filters and as the name would suggest the filters are made of rock and reeds. Wolverton designed a system comprised of a long shallow trough that is lined with a rubber membrane and filled with various sizes of gravel which is then planted with reeds and other aquatic plants.
The dirty/nutrient rich water is discharged on the high end of this long rock and reed trough. The water flows through the system by gravity, and as the water trickles through the rocks it comes into contact with a diverse colony of bacteria, algae and minute aquatic insects that will feed on the nutrient rich water. Their byproducts are then absorbed by the aquatic plants. Once the water reaches the end of the filter it will exceed all EPA regulations for water that can be discharged directly into our lakes, rivers and streams.
An ecosystem is an ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit. Likewise, an Aquascape ecosystem pond is a water garden that functions together with its surrounding environment … or as we like to boast … we work with Mother Nature and not against her.
The word ecology comes from the combination of two Greek words: oilcos, meaning house and logos, meaning the study of. Together it literally means “study of the home.”
Ponds are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. They play host to a total interrelationship of all organisms in the environment such as birds, fish, frogs, plants, and many microscopic organisms. So, ponds not only create a natural ecosystem in their defined environment, but they also fit into the community or life cycle of the entire ecological region.
An ecological region is made up of thousands of elements. Water is the most basic of these. Each pond is a piece of the puzzle. As wild habitats are depleted due to commercial development and other factors, these pieces are eliminated. That is why it’s so important to restore and preserve as many of these “puzzle pieces” as possible. A backyard pond restores part of an ecosystem and is part of the big picture – the regional environment.
A regional ecosystem or a pond ecosystem is like a triangle. In a regional ecosystem, water (ponds, streams, and lakes) is the support, like the base of a triangle. In the pond ecosystem, the water is the base of the triangle. Everything found above the base (plants and animals) is completely dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the pond.
As you begin to understand how ponds work and what plants and animals live in them, you learn to appreciate nature instead of being afraid of it. Given time and proper plant selection in and around the pond, you can create a very diverse ecosystem in your yard. Just remember to keep it simple and with patience your pond will mature over the years into a beautiful part of nature.
One pond in one backyard may not seem very important, but when you have a thousand similar backyard ecosystems functioning simultaneously, there’s truly a positive impact being made on the environment. Large amounts of habitat are restored for frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. The population of each of these creatures has been declining sharply for many years now. Birds have also been driven from many of their natural wetland habitats, which they need so desperately to survive. Your pond will provide a safe haven for these creatures and add a welcome diversity to our stressed suburban environments.