Landscaping for Ponds and Pools

By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 07, 2014

Water features such as a pond, decorative pool, or swimming poolon the grounds of a hotel or other commercial property can add a great deal of charm to the landscape. In fact, these features are almost always the first thing that capture the attention of your guests. However, these valued and highly visible features require landscapers to consider a number of factors in order to ensure maximum health, beauty, and enjoyment of your ponds and pools by your guests.

Top Considerations

Go with the flow. Make sure your landscaping of water features doesn't interrupt your sites drainage system. Take a look at the grading of swells and troughs that pull water away from structures and landscape with an eye toward guiding water runoff toward drainage fields, gutters, and drainage ponds. Rake out obstructions and generally do what you can to keep water moving. Severe problems may require the help of a professional who specializes in functional, aesthetic drainage solutions.

Keep things moving - A pond or pool is going to attract bugs and mosquitoes, so it is essential that you locate any stagnant water on your property. Unchanged standing water for three days may be enough time for mosquitoes to run through their life cycle, depending on temperature and breed. Most mosquitoes grow from egg, to larvae, to pupa, to adult in four to 14 days. Consider flat roofs, clogged gutters, water barrels, even bird baths as potential breeding grounds. Put lids on trash cans and cover or flip over any buckets, wheelbarrows, or other containers on your site that can hold water.

Harmonize with nature - Blend ponds and pools with local plants and animals. In other words, let nature control its own excesses. Many local and municipal governments are now encouraging the construction of sustainable "mini-ecosystems" around ponds and pools. This includes using natural techniques to control mosquitoes, such as the presence of frogs, fish, and birds in ponds that can quickly flourish to control mosquitoes.

Limit pesticide use - Pesticides only work temporarily and are even harder on our friendly, bug-eating animals so a sustainable approach is usually best. If you must spray, an outdoor fog has a less harsh and shorter effect on the environment and can be used for occasions where large gatherings of people around your pond or pool are likely. Long-term and repeated use of pesticides can be harmful to people, especially children and elderly with asthma or other lung conditions.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.