Whether it’s the calming burble of a Zen-inspired water fountain or the showy spray of a three-tiered waterfall, a water feature adds a special touch to any garden or outdoor area. Water features can make cramped gardens seem lush and spacious—and cut back on mowing and trimming maintenance. Plus, adding a fountain to your pond or pool has sound reduction benefits, so if you live on a busy urban street, it can be a smart and stress-relieving way to cancel out noise pollution.
Of course, water fountains have their drawbacks, too. Running a pump throughout most of the day adds a little bit to your carbon footprint, increasing your electricity use and adding a small charge to your monthly bills.
That’s where solar-powered garden equipment can really come in handy. Solar water pumps run completely off the energy of the sun—or a backup battery pack—so you’re not draining energy off the grid for a mostly ornamental effect. Here are the top reasons to go with a solar-powered water pump for a sustainable outdoor water feature.
A Sustainable Pump for a Sustainable Garden
Believe it or not, ponds, pools, and waterfalls actually conserve water in the long run, at least according to water feature experts. Lawns tend to soak up a lot of water—most grass varieties need about 1 to 1.5 inches every week to keep them green and springy. That adds up quickly over time, especially if you live in a drier climate that requires lots of supplemental watering to keep grass alive. It may take a lot of water to fill a pond or reflecting pool at first, but your average five-headed sprinkler system can pump out about 30 gallons a minute.
Meanwhile, there’s a benefit to moving water as well—compared to standing water, that is. Water that is cycled and recycled through a pond or pool using a pump is less attractive to mosquitos and resists the growth of algae that can make a water feature appear murky and muddy.
Unfortunately, your average electric water pump is still pulling energy off your grid. While most residential landscaping pumps only require about as much energy to run as your average table lamp, it’s still energy burned—especially for a feature that’s largely decorative. Pairing a pond or pool with a solar pump can significantly reduce your water use and lower the carbon footprint of your lawn. Plus, they look great!
Using a Solar Pump Could Save You Some Money, Too
According to one manufacturer, an electric pond pump costs around $47 a month to operate. Even a highly efficient pump will bump up your energy bills—the same manufacturer quotes around $26 a month.
On the other hand, a solar pump provides its own electricity, meaning it can be operated without driving up your utility costs. Many come with backup battery systems as well, so that they can be used day and night.
Another thing to factor in is the fuel you’ll save on mowing. With less lawn square footage to cover, your mower’s fuel may go a little bit further. If you rely on electricity from a coal-powered plant in your home, even an electric mower contributes to greenhouse emissions. That means the less you have to mow, the better for the environment! And who wants to spend more time with the lawn mower anyhow?
Solar Pumps Are Easier to Install Outdoors
Installing an electric pump outdoors can get tricky. Providing electricity to the pump means running a long power cord across your lawn, and in order to protect the cord and prevent hazards, most homeowners cover the cord in PVC piping, and then place it in a shallow trench in the yard. That’s a lot of extra setup to get your pond water flowing!
Since a solar pump doesn’t need to be connected back to an electrical outlet, it makes for a pretty brisk setup. But if you plan to submerge your pump in your pond or pool, you’ll still need to protect any wiring from water exposure.
Pair Water Features with Solar Lights for an Extra Eco-friendly Boost
Another way to add polish to a water feature is to submerge water-safe solar spotlights in your pond or pool. Some models include a lithium ion battery that lasts for hours after the solar charge is gone—and just like your solar pump, they run completely on energy from the sun. Another option is solar-powered downlights. When strung in surrounding trees, they can provide a beautiful moonlight effect to trickling waterfalls and peaceful pools.
Your options for your sustainable equipment are about as wide and varied as a pond or water feature can be, so you’ll have plenty of options to beautify your garden—and improve your lawn’s environmental impact, too!