Historically, when we talk about the “greener side” of ponds, we’re referring to algae (and how to eliminate it). But as more and more Americans are becoming environmentally conscious and looking for ways to conserve energy around their homes, the “greener side” takes on a whole new meaning – one regarding the ecological benefits of owning a garden pond.

Pond in lawn

By replacing some of your lawn with a garden pond, you can conserve water and energy, save money and support the environment.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TetraPond

Fish in pond

Ponds create a beautiful haven for fish and other wildlife.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TetraPond

Dad and daughter by garden pond

Getting your children involved in your garden pond helps encourage them to learn more about environmental issues. (Always keep a watchful eye on your children when they’re around water!)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TetraPond

Dome fountain

Water fountains bring extra beauty and sound to a water garden, as well as help oxygenate the pond.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TetraPond

Fish in pond

Healthy water means a healthy ecosystem, especially for fish.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of TetraPond

Over the past several years, garden ponds have become a common landscaping trend throughout the US. Most homeowners want a pond to add beauty to their yard or enhance their outdoor living space. Garden ponds create a solace from the world and a haven for prized Koi and other wildlife. Yet few realize the countless environmental benefits to maintaining a pond or water garden.

According to the National Gardening Association’s 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, reportedly only half of those are knowledgeable about how to maintain lawns and gardens in an environmentally friendly way. Many don’t realize that by replacing some (or all) of their lawn with a garden pond, they can conserve water and energy, save money and support the environment – not to mention reduce personal stress.

At TetraPond, we emphasize seven environmental benefits to owning a pond instead of a lawn:

  1. Lawns require watering, but ponds can be refilled with rainwater.

    Maintaining a lush lawn obviously requires regular watering. As a result, homeowners spend countless hours and thousands of gallons of water each year watering their turf. According to water conservation tips provided by the Mono Lake Committee in California, regularly watering a lawn uses 750-1,500 gallons of water a month. Conversely, once a garden pond is initially filled, its owners only need to “top it off” occasionally – especially if living in climates that receive regular rainfall.

  2. Ponds are a self-sustaining cycle of hydration that keeps plants alive without the need to water.

    For those interested in conserving water, garden ponds are the best landscaping option. Because shrubs, flowers and plants growing in soil require constant watering, a household’s water consumption can easily and dramatically increase. Alternatively, through rainfall, garden ponds literally water themselves, saving water in the long run. What’s more, pond water can be used to water other garden plants, therefore conserving this precious resource by eliminating the use of the hose: Simply dip a watering can into the pond to care for other plants and trees throughout the yard when needed.

  3. Ponds take up lawn space.

    Less lawn means less mowing – and less use of harmful emissions. Here are a few more reasons for Dad to take some time off from mowing and build a garden pond instead: According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 54 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, 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 percent 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, more than 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment. (To put that into perspective, that’s more than the amount of oil that was spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska) And this all adds to groundwater contamination and smog, the EPA reports.

  4. Ponds reduce the need for more lawn pesticides and fertilizers.

    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 our water supply. During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are reportedly applied in pursuit of that perfect lawn and garden, says 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.

    Believe it or not, pond sludge can contain nutrients from fish droppings, excess fish food and decaying leaves. This 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.

    Many pond owners include amazing fish (like Koi and Goldfish) to their water features for added enjoyment and relaxation. But you don’t need to add pond fish to enjoy wildlife – garden ponds attract other creatures as well, providing a sanctuary for breeding. Frogs especially gather at ponds, as the water garden provides shelter as they reproduce in the spring and summer. Tadpoles are generally a desirable pond inhabitant for their algae-eating habits, and adult toads are also beneficial to the garden for their pest-eating appetites.

  7. Water gardens influence youngsters to help our planet.

    By getting the children involved in your garden pond, you’re helping them gain an interest in science and environmental issues. Water gardens are complete ecosystems that not only teach – they can inspire. Planning, building and maintaining a garden pond also helps children understand the responsibility we all have for caring for our environment, as well as our planet.

What’s more, building a garden pond is simply enjoyable. Over time, many pond owners become fascinated with the amazing ecosystem they’ve created in their own back yard. And when you know what you’re growing is helping the overall good of the environment…well, there’s nothing more beautiful than that.