Landscaping for Ponds and Pools
By Ken Hutcheson President, U.S. Lawns | September 2014
Water features such as a pond, decorative pool, or swimming pool-on 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.
Go with the flow. Make sure your landscaping of water features doesn't interrupt your site's 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.