Ponds and water features

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Ponds and water features

Consider your landscape a canvas. Your artistry with plants, hardscapes and other features can make the space a customized refuge where you can enjoy fresh air and a natural environment. Include in that refuge a fountain, pond and/or waterfall, and you’ve got a relaxing, tranquil getaway.

“A properly installed water feature will add value to your home and value to your quality of life,” says Randy Young, president of Tranquil Waterscape Designs LLC, an Aquascape-certified contractor.

Perhaps you know you’d like a water feature in your landscape, but you don’t know what type is best for you. Or you already have a feature, but you’d like to revamp or add to it. Following are four expert-recommended projects to create the perfect waterscape for your yard.

Rainwater-harvesting fountains

While fountains are easy on the eyes and ears, the real beauty in rainwater-harvesting features is in their function. Surrounded by decorative gravel that absorbs the falling water, underneath these features are basins lined with rubber and special equipment to capture rainwater and circulate it through the fountain. Because the basin is underground, the water isn’t exposed to sunlight, eliminating the risk of algae growth. With these water features, homeowners can be environmentally friendly and avoid the worries of maintenance.

Ponds

Having a pond means having a hobby—while the maintenance may seem extensive, a pond is a mini ecosystem, attracting frogs, butterflies, birds and more. You can keep fish in the pond for added natural beauty and entertainment, and you can adorn the pond with aquatic plants. The required equipment you need to install a new pond includes a pump, liner and filter (both skimmer and biological).

Underwater lighting

Adding underwater lights to your water garden brings the feature to life after dusk, creating a gorgeous focal point in your outdoor-living area when entertaining guests at night. To complete this project, you should first determine if you need to install a new transformer or if you can use a low-voltage system that already exists in your garden. Daryl Toby, principal of AguaFina Gardens International, says that you can purchase lighting kits that have three to five lights and a transformer as a package deal, making it more cost effective than purchasing these elements separately.

UV filtration

Upgrade your current pond filter to a UV-clarifying and filtration unit. The unit works by exposing water to ultraviolet light, which causes algae to stick together, making the algae large enough to be filtered. “The simple addition of UV filtration will minimize maintenance and simplify the homeowner’s quest for crystal-clear water,” says Doug Ward, president of GeoGlobal Partners, distributors of smartpond products. “The patented UV pumps from smartpond utilize cold-cathode UV technology with a long-lasting pump.”


expert budget tip

Start with a smaller water feature, such as a fountainscape or pondless waterfall. If you opt for the pondless waterfall, an ecosystem pond can be added at a later date when your budget allows.
—Ryan Young, technical services supervisor, Aquascape Inc.


ensuring quality

If you’re having a contractor install the water feature for you, be sure to check references. It also helps to find a certified installer, such as a Certified Aquascape Contractor, who has to prove his or her workmanship and excellence in customer service before being certified. If you’re tackling the water feature on your own, purchase materials from a reputable water-garden retailer that has the knowledge and experience to help answer your questions about maintenance and installation.
—Ryan Young, technical services supervisor, Aquascape Inc.


the bigger the better

If you are looking to have fish and plants, make the pond as large as the space permits—it is amazing how much smaller a pond looks as it fills in with aquatic plants, the surrounding vegetation grows and fish develop. Many homeowners end up expanding their pond over the years, wishing they hadn’t started so small—there is always that one extra fish or new water lily that you will want to buy.
—Daryl Toby, principal, AguaFina Gardens International

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