As a teenager, one of my favorite memories was sitting on the back porch with my mother while we read on a summer evening.
The porch was screened in, and there was a white wicker patio set that consisted of a loveseat, two chairs, and a table. Mom completed the charming setting with a reading lamp set on the table. She wanted to create a soothing space to spend the evenings.
The best part was the little pond she put in the backyard that summer.
As we sat on the porch reading, you could hear the tiny waterfall gurgling, and fireflies danced around our dark backyard.
I remember at one point we both looked up and smiled at each other, “This is nice,” she said. It was. I spent plenty of summer evenings reading on the back porch with the sound of the pond in the background.
Putting in a pond or other water feature is a big decision. And it can be difficult to justify the work and money involved in such a project. If you or a partner need a little extra convincing, stay tuned. Believe it or not, water features actually provide a host of benefits beyond being pretty.
Let’s take a look.
1. Beautify Your Space
We’ll start with the most obvious benefit. Adding a pond or water feature beautifies your living space. Water has been used to add visual interest in landscape design for ages. And these days, doing so is easier and more affordable than ever. There are so many great kits out there that include everything you need to get started.
But you’re here for more than pretty, so read on.
2. Enjoy the Health Benefits of a Pond
Believe it or not, having a pond in your backyard is good for you. The sound of moving water, even watching the water, are all known to reduce stress, promote relaxation and slow your breathing.
If you have a daily meditation practice, you might enjoy the enhanced calm experienced when meditating near water.
Managing stress has become a big part of life these days. After a long day at work, come home and let the day’s troubles melt away by relaxing in your backyard. Bye, bye bad day.
3. Attract Wildlife
A pond naturally attracts local wildlife as a source of water. If you’re looking for ways to create a living space that invites nature rather than infringes on it, consider adding a small pond. Deer, rabbits, birds, even insects all gravitate to places with water.
Although, if you add decorative fish to your pond, you may have to account for the occasional rascally raccoon helping themselves to the buffet.
Providing water and a haven for wildlife is an important part of conservation and permaculture design. For more beginner-friendly permaculture projects, click here.
4. A Water Feature Increases Your Property Value
If you’re looking to increase your property value without breaking the bank, adding a simple water feature to your backyard will do the trick. If you plan on selling your house at some point, having an established and well-kept pond can be a big selling point.
Instead of saying, “Honey, we could put in a pond back here,” your potential buyer will appreciate the existing pond and the fact that they don’t have to install it.
5. A Water Feature Helps to Purify the Air
When water moves, it releases negative ions, which attract particles floating in the air, helping purify it. If you suffer from allergies but still want to be able to sit outside in the summer, consider adding a small water feature with a waterfall or bubbler to your backyard. The water will help to remove the pollen in the air, and your sinuses will thank you.
6. You’ll Have a Unique Entertaining Space
It’s one thing to enjoy a barbecue in the backyard; it’s another to enjoy a barbecue in the backyard with a gurgling pond full of colorful fish.
Imagine an evening dinner party where your guests can enjoy the soothing sound of water, good food and conversation. Add some candles or fun outdoor lighting, and you’ll create a summer evening your friends and family will be talking about all summer long.
Having a pond in your backyard kicks your entertaining up a notch or two and makes your invitation the one no one turns down.
7. Attract Fireflies
If you’d like to see more of those happy little blinking bugs floating around your yard in the summertime, you definitely need a water feature—fireflies like areas that are damp. Having a small pond gives them a water source and helps to moisten the air around it.
I can tell you from experience, watching fireflies dance around a pond at night makes for a magical evening.
For more ideas on how to increase the firefly population in your backyard, click here.
8. Reduce the Ambient Temperature of Your Backyard
If you’re looking for a way to beat the heat and still enjoy the outdoors, consider the fact that having a small pond can reduce the ambient air temperature by up to 25 degrees F.
Putting in a water feature is like adding outdoor air conditioning to your backyard. Put your pond somewhere in the shade, and you’ll have the perfect spot to cool off after a long hard day in the garden. Stay cool and help combat climate change with one simple water feature.
9. Attract Birds, Without Attracting Mosquitoes
For anyone who loves birds, having a birdbath in their backyard goes part and parcel with the hobby. Unfortunately, birdbaths often create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you live in an area where West Nile or Zika viruses are a concern, then having standing water around can be downright dangerous.
To prevent them from having a place to breed, you should change the water daily. But who has time for that? Or if you’re like me, you won’t remember until you’re standing in a cloud of mosquitoes.
Your local bird population will thank you for adding a lovely source of water to your backyard. Moving water is much preferred to standing water by your feathered friends anyway.
Want to attract more hummingbirds? Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Backyard.
10. Reduce Noise Pollution
If you live somewhere with a lot of bothersome ambient noise, like traffic, trains or industrial sounds, spending time in your backyard becomes less appealing. Having a water feature with some sort of waterfall or fountain can help.
Much like a white noise machine, the sound of moving water can cover unwanted background noise. And unlike a white noise machine, water actually absorbs sound, reducing noise pollution. If you’d like to spend more time outside but find your yard too noisy, a water fountain or pond with a waterfall could be just the ticket to gaining back your outdoor space.
Go Big or Go Home
Maybe you’re thinking of going bigger than just a small water feature. Perhaps you’re looking to put in a fairly large pond. There are benefits for a big project like that too.
11. Exercise for the Whole Family
Having a large pond on your property is a great way to enjoy exercise outdoors. Depending on your finished pond, you could have a fine place to go swimming. Your house will be the place to go to cool off in the heat of the summer.
Add a dock, and you’re all set.
If you don’t intend to have a pond you can swim in, you can still get a good workout from cruising around the pond in a rowboat or paddleboat. These human-powered boats offer a great way to spend an afternoon while burning some calories.
Got antsy kids in the house? Hide their electronic devices and tell them to do laps around the pond in the paddleboat. You’ll have a quiet evening, with exhausted kids ready to go to bed early.
12. Your Own Personal Fishing Spot
Many folks who enjoy fishing are unwilling to divulge their favorite spot for fear of its being overrun with others looking to catch a few fish.
But what if your favorite fishing spot was in your backyard?
When you have your own pond, you can choose to stock it with your preferred fish. And whenever you want to enjoy the fine art of angling, you’re just moments away from making that first cast.
Having a pond stocked with fish is a great way to introduce the youngsters to fishing as well. Fishing from a stocked pond, they are more likely to make their first catch easily. After that, they’ll be hooked for life!
(What? I’m allowed to make one pun per article.)
13. Inground Water Storage
One of the greatest benefits to having a large pond on your property is the safeguard of having a water supply nearby. During a time of drought, having a water source like a pond to irrigate your garden can ensure you won’t lose your harvest while you wait for rain.
If you have livestock on your property, a pond can also provide them with drinking water. This can either be a temporary solution during a drought or your livestock’s main source of water.
And finally, if you live in a remote area, far from the nearest fire hydrant, a pond can be the difference between minor fire damage and a total loss from a fire.
Are you convinced yet?
Adding a water feature might seem like a frivolous addition to your backyard, but as you can see, the benefits sure make a compelling case otherwise. Most smaller ponds and water features can be installed in a weekend.
And if you choose to install the pond yourself, you can do so with very little cost upfront. A small 270-gallon pond kit will set you back roughly $100.
Obviously, the larger the pond, the more expensive it can get, and it may turn into a project that requires outside help. But choosing to add a water feature or a pond to your property could be one of the best decisions you make regarding your landscape.