A passive water feature is still and pumpless, such as a lovely urn with standing water and a plant or two. Because they use no energy, passive water features are the more environmentally friendly choice; they create a serene mood with no negative impacts and cost very little money.
An active water feature is one that uses a pump to move water for filtration purposes or for the beauty of sound and movement of the water. The most effective filter for an active water feature is a 10-inch-deep layer of coarse (1- to 2-inch-diameter) gravel on the bottom of the pond (see Figure 13-2), with a set of PVC-pipe suction lines at the very bottom to draw water down through the gravel and return it to the pond via a jet of water or a waterfall. (Yes, I know, PVC piping is a no-no. But landscaping isn't perfect. Other types of piping just aren't possible for this project.) Bacteria come to live in the gravel — good bacteria that eat pond gunk for breakfast and will keep the water nice and clear. (Check out Landscaping For Dummies for specific information on creating an active water feature.)
To keep the bacteria in your active water feature alive, you should use a small, low-volume, high-efficiency pump; and you should run it all the time. Naturally, a pump uses some electricity, but a 50- to 100-watt pump usually moves enough water for a small pond. Larger ponds and thundering waterfalls require larger pumps, of course, which is a good reason to keep your pond small. The benefits are the same at any size.
^ Ideally, you'll use solar power so that operating the pump doesn't cause a drain on the power grid. You can find small pumps that have their own solar ■ (oil panels built in; these devices are okay for moving tiny quantities of water but not for running an under-gravel filter or powering a rushing stream.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.