Pam Brooks said when she told her husband six years ago he could get rid of their backyard pool and install a koi pond, she never imagined he’d end up transforming the entire pool into a pond, or that the transformation would actually reduce their water usage.
That’s exactly what has happened at the Ahwatukee Foothills home at 3438 E. Mountain Vista Drive. This weekend the home is part of a Valleywide pond tour sponsored by the Greater Phoenix Pond Society (GPPS).
The couple’s pool, now pond, holds about 65 large koi and 10 goldfish that all come running at the site of food.
“You can still get in the water,” Brooks said. “The water is not contaminated in any way. I don’t personally go swimming with the fish, but my husband does on occasion. They’ll actually allow him to pet them. We also have two regular ducks here in the afternoons.”
Because the water does not contain strong chemicals it can be used to water all the plants in the yard. This past year Pam’s husband, Rob, re-landscaped the backyard with desert foliage. The desert landscaping and re-usable pond water has reduced the couple’s water bills by two-thirds.
Brooks said in the next year or so they plan to build a hydroponics garden onto their pond. The hydroponics set up uses the fish to help fertilize the plants and the plants to help filter the water.
The couple’s pond can be seen this Saturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s one of the stops on the self-guided tour. Brooks said in the past few years they’ve had more than 100 people visit their home during the tour.
“The purpose of the tour is a couple of things,” said Dave Nelson, president of the Greater Phoenix Pond Society. “First, we want to let people know they can have ponds in their yards in Phoenix. There is such a misconception that because it is hot they can’t have a pond or they will boil their fish. There are a lot of misconceptions about ponds. It’s also just a nice relaxing way to spend the day.”
Nelson said the tour is how he found out about GPPS in the past. He and his wife took the tour one year, when they had their own small pond at home. The tour increased their interest and now the couple has seven ponds of their own.
“There are lots of benefits,” Nelson said. “Obviously, there’s an esthetic benefit to a pond. It’s very relaxing to have the water flowing. The fish are very pretty. Some fish are well trained and will come to your hand. It also has a lot of benefits from an environmental standpoint. Several of our members have ponds that are also certified habitats in their backyards and they are very proud of that. It draws in dragon flies and butterflies and a variety of birds that want to come in and drink and bathe in the pond.”
Nelson said the tour includes a variety of different ponds. Some focus on plants, others focus on fish and turtles or frogs. There are 11 stops on the tour. For more information, visit phoenixponds.com.
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