What Are the Ecological Benefits of Building a Pond?

What Are the Ecological Benefits of Building a Pond?

Emily Newton 11/12/2022
What Are the Ecological Benefits of Building a Pond?

A backyard pond provides a little slice of wooded heaven for personal enjoyment.

Homeowners who maintain a pond at their residence often revel in its beauty and peacefulness.

Throughout history, ponds have inspired some of the world’s most famous works — serving as the backdrop of Claude Monet’s painting “The Water Lily Pond” and inspiring Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden,” which he wrote in his cabin on Walden Pond.

For others, ponds make a visually stunning decorative element in a garden or patio area. Imagine how nice it would be to visit with friends near a pond with a fountain feature or to set up a bench in your backyard oasis where you can lounge and read. 

Many people enjoy listening to trickling water or spending a few moments at their pond in quiet reflection. However, these unique backyard habitats also have numerous ecological advantages that benefit the surrounding environment. Here are six ways building a pond benefits nature.

1. Less Grass to Maintain

Throughout the centuries, natural landscapes have disappeared as lawns emerged on residential properties. According to satellite analysis by the U.K. Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), 2 million acres of grassland were converted to urban development throughout Britain from 1990 to 2015.

Many people care for their lawns by mowing, edging and other types of lawn care that tend to release harmful emissions and pollutants. Recent findings from Challenge 2025 suggest that popular gardening tools negatively impact the environment, with calls for the government to issue a ban on their sale by 2025. 

For instance, the study found that carbon monoxide emissions are 11 times higher in petrol-fueled leaf blowers than a Ford Fiesta, with each use requiring nearly half of the car’s fuel tank capacity.

When you build and maintain a pond at your home, you’re essentially giving back to nature what developers took in the first place — and with less grass to mow, you’re also reducing your need for outdoor power tools.

2. Enhanced Biodiversity

A clean pond provides new habitat for backyard species, enhancing local biodiversity and drawing beneficial pollinators to your property. Therefore, adding different types of aquatic plants and fish is ecologically valuable.

In the United Kingdom, polluted waters and degraded ecosystems have threatened nearly 105 rare pond species, including those from toad, frog and newt classes.

You might consider planting native aquatic plants that require little maintenance and provide restored habitat and food for various local wildlife. Algae-consuming fish will also ensure your pond’s bacteria levels remain stable for cleaner water. 

Fortunately, there are ways to enhance biodiversity while maintaining a pond. For example, when dredging to make it deeper or performing other maintenance, you can drain the water into barrels and use it to refill your pond afterwards. Even reusing one-third of the water reintroduces essential organisms that stabilize the ecosystem, making it conducive to hosting other species.

3. Water Conservation

A 2021 report from the Environment Agency predicts that England’s summer precipitation will decrease by 15% in the 2050s and nearly 28% in the 2080s. However, residential ponds hold the potential for water conservation with greywater recycling, delivering a way to reduce consumption and safeguard natural resources in the future.

One person uses about 152 litres of water per day in the United Kingdom — meaning a family of four might use over 500 litres of water daily. 

Typically, homeowners divert water from their homes to a septic tank or city sewer system. However, there are ways to filter your home’s sink and shower water with wetland flora before channelling it to your pond instead. 

The world’s growing population has significantly affected drinking water supplies through overconsumption and industrial pollution. Considering 97.5% of the Earth’s water is undrinkable seawater, you must do your part to protect freshwater resources.

Divert water from your roof and gutter to your pond to prevent stormwater runoff from polluting nearby ecosystems and water resources. Harvesting rainwater is another sustainable way to keep an available water source on hand if your pond begins drying out.

4. Air Comfortability

Climate change has made heat waves more prevalent throughout the U.K. Data from the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that 2,803 people in England over 65 died during five heat waves in the summer of 2022. In some areas, temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for the first time. 

A pond in your backyard can make outdoor air more comfortable and improve your home’s energy efficiency during the hottest days of the year. When a pond’s surface water evaporates, it can reduce surrounding air temperatures by several degrees.

With lower outdoor heat, your household’s occupants can spend more time outside comfortably, eliminating the need to run the air conditioner constantly. 

5. Carbon Sequestration

Various government studies show that air pollution causes 28,000 to 36,000 deaths in the U.K. annually. Fortunately, ponds can sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) for improved air quality. 

According to a study in which scientists measured organic carbon in pond sediments that had accumulated after two decades, researchers discovered that the sites sequestered 79 to 247 grams per square meter annually.   

Of course, smaller ponds present challenges for accurately measuring carbon sequestration. Others emit more CO2 than they sequester, such as permafrost thaw ponds. 

Regardless, it’s worth it for you to maintain a pond in your backyard to rid the surrounding environment of invisible air pollutants. 

6. Reduced Erosion

Ponds can aid in preventing erosion, depending on how and where you install them. 

Soil erosion significantly impacts plants, wildlife and water quality. You can avoid depleting your backyard oasis of essential nutrients that sustain natural environments with healthy soil in ample amounts. Like preventing stormwater runoff, erosion prevention ensures harmful pollutants, bacteria and metal stay contained in one place. 

You can take special care to avoid eroding the soil in and around your pond. Consider lining it before filling it with water and planting flora along the shoreline for dirt and rocks to accumulate in its root system. 

Maintain a Pond to Reap Ecological Rewards

Ponds can simultaneously improve a property’s aesthetic and the environment. Maintaining a pond in your backyard lets you safeguard the natural area and its precious wildlife.

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Emily Newton

Science & Tech Expert

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She is a science and technology journalist with over three years covering industry trends and research. 

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