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Article 24: Pond Gear – Aesthetic Elements, by Jeff Richardson

Posted by Jeff Richardson on

These are a number of accent items you can add in and around your water feature to enhance the water aesthetics of your pond.  This includes lighting, fountains, spitters, statuary and viewing options.  

Lighting: There is a cornucopia of options available; the majority being DC low-voltage in nature run off transformers or even solar.  This is a better option than AC (unless using for flood lighting away from the pond in the perimeter).  AC and water are not a good combination and ALL lighting options should be on a GFI circuit.  For years, most of the options were incandescent lamps with a few halogen options.  Now, LED lighting has come to yard and pond lighting.  Not only does this give you more light using less voltage, some are color smart containing controllable and changeable color options.  The lamps can be placed on timers, controlled by time or by darkness.  It is advisable to turn off all lighting in and around the pond during the night after bedtime as you could be allowing predators perfect conditions to hunt all night long.  Housing for lamps can create a flood of light or aim in a spot fashion.  Housings also come in water-tight models allowing them to be submerged in water.  Some housings look like rocks concealing the lamp.  Aside from highlighting pond features, install walk lights near the perimeter of your pond for safety.  Tip: for incandescent long life, match the total wattage of the lamps on one circuit as close to the output of the transformer as possible.  Always replace burnt out lamps immediately.  Lastly, instead of one long wire that ends, make a DC loop where the wire splits and runs in a circle so the end lamps are not dim.

Fountains and Spitters: Adding a few of these not only adds to additional play with water, but may offer additional oxygen in places that are too stagnant or still.  Some fountains float in the water or may be fixed to a location below the surface.  They usually have their own submersible pump but could be powered off of the main pump through a bleed line.  Spitters are statuary that pours water from them.  The classic woman holding jug with water pouring forth, or a frog with water spitting from his mouth are good examples.  Again, they may be powered from a small pump; or if you have enough head height, you can install a bleed line off your spillway and power it by gravity (no pump needed!).  Adjust with a clamp.  Spitters are not just a visual item, but they can add sound of babbling water to areas that you want to drown out the sound of equipment such as pumps.  Water sounds typically do this well (white noise).

Floating Décor: For additional added interest, there are a number of accessories that can be added to the pond for additional aesthetics.  This may include sealed glass fish floats, faux lily pads (some with lights), basking rafts for turtles and such, or other floating pond décor such as animals (either as a decoy   or just for your personal desire).  Another niche floating device is a fish spy dome.  This is a water-filled clear dome that floats on the surface which allows your fish to swim above the surface and look at you!  Be cautious when adding ceramic, glass or other breakable décor that if broken could damage the liner.

Perimeter Décor and Viewing: You have created a water feature, but you need to be able to appreciate it and view it.  Think about places to sit and view the pond.  Landscaping around the pond may enhance the reveal and background of your feature.  Ensure to use non-shedding plants close to the pond edge.  Use plants, rocks and faux stones to hide pond equipment and enclosures from view.  Or, build housings that enhance the look of your pond.  Try to blend the surrounding landscape with the pond so that it looks natural.  Depending on the size of the feature, consider stepping stones, benches, chairs, decks and bridges for different and expanded viewing positions.  Careful not to add too many distractions around the pond, as the water feature is the star of the show.  Elements should enhance, not compete with the pond.

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