Garden ponds are increasingly becoming popular among homeowners. The scramble for ponds can be attributed to their aesthetics, growing appreciation for wildlife and environmental awareness. As homeowners increasingly become aware of the need to maintain a sustainable ecosystem, they are more willing to adopt unique ideas such as keeping garden ponds. But are garden ponds really sustainable?
Whenever the terms sustainable and eco-friendly are used, most people intuitively associate them with green spaces. However, there is more to sustainability. Some green spaces may do more harm to your ecosystem than good. Gardens and ponds may not necessarily be sustainable or eco-friendly. Before you consider putting up one, it is necessary to review all potential benefits and downsides.
A garden pond refers to a water feature in a garden or any designated landscape in a natural way. Garden ponds are meant to improve exterior design while at the same time catering to their ecological needs. Most garden ponds are designed to create a home for wildlife such as fish, frogs and insects. However, they end up serving many other ecological purposes.
Before you get down to designing a pond for your backyard, check to see whether it is permitted in your region. There are diverse requirements when it comes to constructing ponds. In most cities, you will be required to get a permit, while in others you won’t require approvals. You must fulfill all the requirements to obtain the necessary permits. In New York State, for instance, ponds that exceed six feet in depth require a safety permit. The laws vary greatly and those intending to build a pond must check with the local regulatory organs. Regions where watershed system restoration activities are underway may have strict permitting requirements.
Factors to consider before installing a garden pond
If the beauty of the backyard pond is the only reason you are trying to get one, you need to pause and reconsider. Ponds are a lot more than they look on the surface. Remember, a pond will not take care of itself after it has been installed. As a matter of fact, it could easily turn into a burden or a hazard.
The first factor to consider should be water usage and disposal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approximates that Americans use eight billion gallons of water on outdoor activities daily. For years, the agency has been appealing for less use of water on unnecessary outdoor activities. If your outdoor pond will end up using more water than it recycles, installing it will not do justice to the ecosystem. On the other hand, your pond might act as a water recycling system for water used outdoors and hence offer some water conservation benefits.
The other key factor you must consider is safety. Ponds can be dangerous in homes with children and pets. There are no requirements to fence ponds in most states. Besides the lack of such restrictions, most homeowners prefer leaving the ponds open for aesthetic purposes. With open ponds comes the danger of accidental drowning. Pets and children drown in ponds every day. According to the CDC, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death in children between the ages of one and four years. Most of these incidents occur at home in pools and ponds.
Tips to maintain a sustainable garden pond
If you decide to build a garden pond, make sure you make key considerations for easy maintenance. Some tips to keep at the back of your mind are:
- – Go for a small pond that is easy to manage and one that utilizes minimal water.
- – Avoid keeping animals that will require regular water filtration unless you are ready for it.
- – Use your pond as a system for water storage and recycling to reduce outdoor water usage at home.
- – If possible, source your pool water from the groundwater or surface water and not your tap water.
Ecosystem benefits of keeping a garden pond
Though maintaining a backyard pond may appear to be somewhat challenging, it has quite attractive ecological benefits. Ponds form some of the most beautiful natural surface water bodies. These bodies create microenvironments that are necessary for certain wildlife and plants. By building a pool at home, you support the plants and animals that thrive in such an environment. Besides wildlife, there are other key benefits of a backyard pond as outlined below.
A backyard pond can be an effective water conservation system, but this depends on many other factors. First, you must consider your source of water. If you receive plenty of precipitation in your region, constructing a backyard pond could help retain this water.
Besides retaining precipitation, a pond could also be helpful in trapping surface runoff from outdoor activities. For instance, if you do plenty of garden irrigation, a pool could help hold the excess runoff. This way, the water is preserved for future reuse.
Local wildlife support
The role of a backyard pond in promoting wildlife is quite obvious. There is a wide range of species that thrive in pool ecosystems. For instance, fish, frogs, turtles and snakes will love staying in a pond. Creating a pond provides a natural habitat for these species. At the same time, the pond also provides room for plants that thrive in marshy areas.
Less use of pesticides
Garden maintenance often requires the use of pesticides to deal with harmful pests. When you set up a pool, you may end up using less pesticides. For instance, frogs from your pond may naturally deal with grasshoppers. This is a simple solution that will prevent attacks on your flowers without the use of pesticides. Even so, ponds may also attract potentially harmful pests.
Creation of environmental awareness
Having a pond within your backyard creates environmental awareness for your family and friends. Naturally, most people do not pay much attention to environmental factors. The presence of a pond changes all the dynamics. People around a pond start to appreciate nature when they stay in such a natural environment.
Negative effects of keeping a garden pond
A garden pond comes with its fair share of problems. The negatives of keeping a pond should not scare you, but should be an inspiration. Even so, it is necessary to consider these negatives when you set up a pond.
The first challenge you are likely to encounter is dealing with unwanted pests and insects. For instance, most still ponds will attract mosquitoes that can be harmful to your home. Other animals that could be attracted are snakes and scorpions.
Besides the harmful animals, consider the cost of installing a pond. The cost varies greatly depending on the size of the pond you are aiming for. Furthermore, the cost can be affected by your source of water and water purification system. Keep in mind that you will also have to cater for maintenance costs once the pond is installed.
While the beauty and ecological benefits of a pond are an instant attraction, a lot of factors should be considered before building one. Carry out a conclusive survey on the legal requirements in your region before you start. Most importantly, consider the potential benefits against the negatives of holding a pond.
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