Historically, when we speak about the greener side of ponds, we are discussing how to eliminate algae from the pond. However, in this case, as more and more Americans are becoming environmentally conscious and looking for ways to conserve energy around their homes, the greener side of a pond refers to the ecological benefits of owning a pond.
Over the past several years, ponds and water gardens have become a common landscaping trend throughout the United States. Most homeowners create a pond to add beauty to their yards or to increase their home’s living space by adding an outdoor living room around the water garden. Ponds create a solace from the world and a haven for prized Koi and other wildlife. However, few realize the countless environmental benefits to maintaining a pond or water garden.
According to the National Gardening Association’s (NGA) 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey, nine out of 10 households believe it’s important to maintain their landscapes in a way that benefits the environment. However, only half of those are knowledgeable about how to maintain lawns and gardens in an environmentally friendly way. Source: National Gardening Association-www.garden.org.
Many do not realize that by replacing some or all of their lawn with a pond, they can conserve energy, save money, support the environment and reduce personal stress.
TetraPond’s Seven Environmental Benefits to Owning a Pond:
1. Lawns require watering whereas ponds can be re-filled with rainwater.
Maintaining a lush lawn requires regular watering; otherwise, it can quickly lose its luster and become burnt out. Therefore, homeowners spend countless hours and thousands of gallons of water each year watering their lawns. Regular lawn watering uses 750-1,500 gallons of water each month. Source: Water Conservation Tips- www.monolake.org. Conversely, once a pond is initially filled, pond owners will only need to ‘top off’ the pond occasionally, especially if living in a climate that receives regular rainfalls.
2. Ponds are a self-sustaining cycle of hydration that keeps plants alive without having to water them.
For those interested in conserving water, ponds and water gardens are the best landscaping option. Because shrubs, flowers and plants based in soil require constant watering, a household’s water consumption can easily increase dramatically. Alternatively, through rainfall, ponds and water gardens literally water themselves, helping to save water. Additionally, pond water can be used to water other plants in the garden, therefore conserving water by eliminating the use of the garden hose. Simply dip a watering can into the pond to care for other plants and trees throughout the yard.
3. Less mowing means less use of gas and carbon monoxide emissions.
Here are a few more reasons for dad to take some time off from mowing, and instead, build a water garden or pond. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants.
Garden equipment engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, producing up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution and a good deal more in metropolitan areas. A traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars, each being driven 12,000 miles. Lastly, over 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment – more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska. This adds to groundwater contamination and smog. Source: Environmental Protection Agency
4. Pesticides and fertilizers for the lawn can be harmful, creating run-off that ends up in our water supply.
The EPA estimates that only 35 percent of lawn fertilizers applied ever reach the grass plant; the remainder ends up in our air or seeps into groundwater. During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. Commonly used lawn pesticides can cause illness by entering our drinking water through run-off. Source: The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns
5. Sludge collected by your pond filter can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn and garden.
Pond sludge can contain nutrients from fish droppings, excess fish food, and decaying leaves. Sludge, a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer, can be placed around the bottom of a tree, plant or shrub to aid in growth.
6. Ponds attract and create a haven for beautiful fish, dragonflies, frogs and birds, adding to wildlife propagation.
For years, pond owners have been adding beautiful fish (such as Koi and Goldfish) to their pond for the enjoyment and relaxation of observing. In addition to fish, ponds and water gardens attract other creatures, providing a sanctuary for breeding. Frogs especially gather at the pond as it provides a shelter as they reproduce in the spring and summer. Baby frogs and toads (known as tadpoles) are generally a desirable pond inhabitant for their algae-eating habits. Adult toads are also beneficial to the garden for their aid in controlling insects.
7. Water gardens influence young people to help create a better future for the planet.
Including children in the building of a water garden or pond helps them gain an interest in science and environmental issues. Water gardens are complete eco-systems which educate children on how natural systems work and can influence them to help create a better planet. Getting kids involved and thinking about nature early in life encourages them to continue their interest in the environment throughout adulthood. Planning, building and maintaining a pond or water garden also helps children understand the responsibility we all have for caring for our environment.
Building a water garden or pond is enjoyable. Over time, many pond owners become fascinated by their fish and engrossed in a hobby that brings them great pleasure and adds distinct beauty to a home. But don’t forget to remind your pond owners and potential pond owners of the ecological benefits that come with owning a pond. Every little bit helps, and improving the environment can begin at home.
Ready to get started…
• For easy-to-follow instructions on how to create a water garden
• To sign up for TetraPond’s award-winning monthly e-newsletter, Into the Pond. Delivered to your email Inbox, Into the Pond provides seasonal pondkeeping tips and suggestions to help keep your hobby enjoyable.
TetraPond is an international leader of water gardening products, as demonstrated by consecutive Industry Recognition Awards for product innovation in pet specialty retailing. TetraPond offers a complete line of products for pond enthusiasts, including pumps, filters, clarifiers, water treatments, and the world’s most popular fish food. TetraPond’s U.S. headquarters is located in Blacksburg, Va. For more information, call your water garden experts at 1-800-423-6458. Or visit www.tetrapond.com and register for TetraCare®, our free online support program, where you can sign up for our award-winning Into the Pond e-newsletter, providing seasonal information for healthy ponds.