Incorporating a water feature, pond or natural pool into your garden design is a wonderful option. They are not only of great environmental benefit, but also add incredible beauty to your garden. Natural ponds and pools support the animals in your area, attracting a variety of indigenous wildlife into your garden including lizards, dragonflies, frogs, birds and more.
Your water garden will also provide an excellent place for breeding. Frogs and many other critters will happily visit ponds during breeding season. The frog’s tadpole offspring are a welcome addition to many ponds as they enjoy eating algae. Birds will also love to visit your natural pond or pool, not only to drink and bathe, but also to create nests in neighboring trees to breed. Knowing there’s a source of fresh water at hand, many birds will choose to nest nearby, so your pond can also become a great first home for baby birds!
As I have said before, this kind of first hand education is of immense benefit to children. Learning about the web of life is vitally important, and will generally give them a lifelong respect for all forms of life. And it needn’t stop with children. Many adults derive great pleasure from watching nature unfold before their very eyes.
Ponds, pools and water features will, and do, require care and on-going maintenance, taking up your precious time. Many pond or pool owners tell me this, however also confess that the joy and reward gained from the experience is well worth it. Taking the time to find the ideal position in your garden for a water feature, or feature’s, is highly recommended and should be first priority on your list. Some things you need to consider are drainage and irrigation, electrical sources, the amount of natural light, impact on water temperature, accessibility for maintenance and more.
You will also have to think about the neighboring trees and impact of the surrounding environment. For example, a water feature or pond placed near trees will require more time spent collecting leaves, but if you are introducing fish or animals into the pond they might prefer a shaded area. The position of your pond is also important if you are introducing fish or animals, you will need to consider if the area will be shaded, full sun or partly covered to suit their temperature requirements.
The water in your pond can be heated to create the perfect environment for fish or animals if the natural conditions in your area aren’t right. Heating the water in your pond can be expensive, but if you are considering it there are many alternative methods that are friendlier to the planet, and cost a lot less in the long run. You could include solar panels or lights into your design, and use plants or materials which will warm the water naturally.
In order to properly maintain a pond or pool you will have to clean it regularly . The leaves will need to be removed from the water’s surface and bottom as required. Fouled water also needs to be removed, adding clean water to compensate for evaporation. Introducing fresh water will return the PH, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels to their optimum, preventing the water from becoming toxic. Water testing kits can be bought from your local garden supplier, and come with detailed instructions. They’re easy to use, and are a must have investment for pond and pool owners.
The filter and/or skimmer that’s installed will also need to be cleaned as recommended. If the installation of any electrical outlets or underground plumbing is required, make sure you call a professional. Not only are water and electricity a deadly combination, but you can be guaranteed of a safe and professional job carried out to all council, state and national standards and specifications.
If you have fish or other creatures in your water garden, you will also have to consider their on-going maintenance. It is best to consult a professional about which fish and animals are best to introduce into your garden. Different species will require different environmental settings, and you will need to get this right, or your pond will be a graveyard rather than a wonderland. Koi fish for example, which are a popular and much loved pond fish, require quite specific pond conditions. Choosing a species native to your area may be far easier to maintain.
Plants, like aquatic animals, will also require certain pond conditions. Most aquatic plants prefer full sun so shaded areas will need consideration when it comes to choosing plants. If your pond or pool has a water feature, waterfall or strong current you should also be careful about which plants you introduce. Many aquatic plants do not like the constant splashing or root disturbance from a water current, while other plants will prefer the conditions and will thrive. Oxygen is also important to all aquatic species, both fish and plants alike obtain their oxygen from water, not air. An aeration unit may be required where there is an abundance of flora and fauna with a limited water supply.
Having your design created by a professional landscaper is greatly advised. They can inform you which are the most suitable plants and materials to use in your design. You can also be assured the work will be completed to a high standard, complying with all and any regulations in your area.
If you have always wanted to create a pond or water feature in your garden but were unsure about cost, maintenance required or anything else, my advice would be to start small. Small ponds and features can always be added to later by creating adjacent ponds or connecting waterways. Smaller ponds are easier and cheaper to create but they will require more maintenance than larger bodies of water. Larger ponds require less maintenance as the water will stay clean for longer, but they require more skill and planning than a smaller pond. Whether you opt for a small, large, or any other sized pond, it is highly recommended to employ an experienced professional who has the experience to help you with your project.
A great option for environmentally friendly gardens are natural swimming pools. Natural pools are split into two areas, the open ‘chamber’ area in which you swim and the ‘regeneration zone’.
The regeneration zone can be designed into the pool area in many ways, creating a modern or more natural look. The zone consists of plants that clean the water naturally. A water current, stream or waterfall will also clean and aerate the water.
You can use solar panels or other methods to heat the water and in winter, if the temperatures in your area get low enough, you could have a place to ice skate! Combine this with submersible lights and you would have a skating wonderland! How gorgeous would that look?
Natural pools also eliminate the need to introduce any toxic and costly chemicals into the water. Because of this they can be a more cost efficient option compared to an average pool, and less maintenance. The chemical free water will also benefit the native wildlife in your area and provide a natural habitat and ecosystem for neighboring wildlife. The chemicals you would find in most pools aren’t safe for animals or insects. Creating a natural body of water in your garden will provide them with a fresh source of water. Whether you’re after a small plunge pool or a larger family sized swimming pool you can enjoy swimming in fresh clean water, as if from a mountain spring, and with no stinging eyes!
If you’re thinking about creating a water feature, pond or pool in your garden, or know someone who is, consider incorporating natural elements and environment friendly options into the design. Not only will the native wildlife in your neighborhood benefit, your wallet will benefit from the cost-efficiency and your garden will benefit from a beautiful natural feature.
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