Before you call your local pool company to have a generic cement pool installed in your back yard, stop and think about how much nicer it might be to have a pond instead. Artificial ponds can bear a close resemblance to natural ones, complete with floating plants to help oxygenate the water and regulate the chemical balance. Here are four reasons to give this eco-friendly alternative some serious thought.
1. Natural Landscaping Enhancement
A pond makes a beautiful, completely natural-looking complement to your backyard landscaping. You can make your pond conform to any shape that suits your fancy, thanks to flexible pond liners made of PVC or other plastics that follow the curves, ridges and contours of your design. A raised shelf can host a variety of aquatic plants, while water lilies and other floating plants help to maintain the water's chemical balance. Pebbles, large rocks or even an attached "waterfall" all add to the sense of a completely natural environment.
The only nod to the modern world you really need to make is the addition of an electric pump to aerate the water. (The addition of oxygen helps keep anaerobic bacteria at the bottom of the pool from growing out of control.) You may also find that you need to add a UV sterilizer (an ultraviolet lamp similar to those used in aquariums) to help control "green water" from algae overgrowth.
2. A Beautiful Way to Keep Fish
If you've ever marveled at the image of koi swimming gracefully in a garden pond, you'll love the fact that you can safely host these elegant creatures in your own backyard creation. The lily pads gracing the top of the pond will give your fish a natural hiding place to keep them safe from predators, but you can also construct a little "cave" underneath the water's surface if you like.
While some people believe that koi and plants can't coexist in a pond, the truth is that they coexist in natural ponds all the time. In fact, the koi will happily feed on your plant life, while the waste they produce contributes nutrients to help the plants grow, maintaining a mutually beneficial ecological relationship. Add some Anacharis (Brazilian waterweed) along the bottom of the pond to provide your koi with extra oxygen and shade. As for interaction between your koi population and your human population -- yes, you can swim in your koi pond! You just have to take care to aerate and filter the water effectively enough to keep yourself safe from harmful bacteria.
3. No Chemicals Needed
Wouldn't going for a swim be a more pleasant experience if it didn't require you to douse yourself in chlorine? This chemical cleanser not only causes hives, dry skin and eye irritation, but it can also aggravate respiratory allergies. If you're sensitive to pool chemicals, you'll be happy to know that an outdoor pond can remain clean all year round with nothing more than proper filtering and ecosystem management -- giving you a chlorine-free place to swim, socialize or just relax.
4. An Affordable Alternative
Proper pool upkeep is no small matter. Even the most modest permanent backyard pool requires regular treatment with chlorine and other pool chemicals, while heated pools not only run up your utility bills but also suffer a relatively high rate of evaporation, which forces you to use more water to keep it filled. A pond doesn't use heating, and because it stays cooler, it also does a better job of hanging onto the water you put into it. You'll also save up to $500 a year by not stocking up on pool chemicals.
As for the up-front installation costs, you don't necessarily have to pay more you would for a traditional pool. If you're planning to maintain separate swimming and biological regeneration zones, then you'll be spending that much more money on pond liners, water and other materials. But many pool owners actually have much more swimming space than they ever need or use -- so unless you're training for the Olympics or hosting pool parties for the entire neighborhood, you can save a lot of money simply by planning a smaller swimming hole. In fact, you can build a small garden pond all by yourself for only a few hundred dollars.
Talk to your local landscaping service about the various factors that go into installing and maintaining an artificial pond, from pond liners and other essential materials to the right mix of plants to sustain a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Then forego that cement pool for an amazing new piece of Mother Nature in your own back yard! For more information, contact a company like Billboard Tarps.