Creating a ‘Green’ Oasis

Water features are the most sought after addition to the landscape nationally, according to Aquascapes market research.  And who wouldn’t enjoy their own little piece of nature in their own back yard. 

The big question is if it is sustainable to incorporate a water feature in your Outdoor Living Spaces or among your flower beds.  There are a couple of things to consider before putting a windmill in place of your beautiful pond.  

The first point is that a water feature changes microclimates.  Microclimates are the little pockets of climate surrounding the home and throughout your landscape. 

Utah begins as hot and dry.  When you add a nice, unshaded patio, you increase the temperature around that area, making that spot a little warmer than normal.  The same can be said for things like a driveway or a large surface on your home which either traps the heat, warming up the area next to the home or reflects the heat back onto the ground, causing the landscape further out from the home to be warmer. 

Shade trees obviously have the opposite effect on the landscape, cooling down the ground and reducing temperature. 

There are several tricks to controlling the microclimates in your landscape with smart plantings and shade structures around potential heating elements in the landscape.  Another addition that can help to  control microclimates is a water feature.  Water features do two things: they cool down the air around the water feature and they increase the humidity in the air, both great things here in the hot, dry climate.

The second thing to understand about water features is that when they are properly installed, they actually use very little water, especially compared to how much people enjoy watering their lawns. 

Last, a water feature tends to encourage people to spend time outside, just like an oasis in the desert.  A good water feature together with and Outdoor Living design means people are spending more time outside than inside meaning that less water and energy are being used inside the house.

I feel it is important to mention that a water feature with a leak is a huge waste of water, somewhat like having a water faucet that drips.  It adds up over time.  So make sure the install is done properly and, at the first sign of any leak, fix the problem immediately.

While I realize everything I have written sounds speculative and I have not cited specific scientific research to support anything I have said,  I do believe that water features are worth the investment and do not negatively impact your monthly bills or establishing a sustainable landscape.

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