Selecting the Proper Pump for your Backyard Water Garden FeatureWritten by Gerry Fung
Whether you have a preformed or a liner pond, a pond pump is a paramount component of any water feature. Stagnant bodies of water attract mosquito infestations, which are a nuisance, and also undesirable, due to recent outbreaks of West Nile virus. Therefore, it is paramount that you utilize a pond pump that circulates your body of water.
Pumps are available in both submersible and external (out-of-pond) models. For smaller pond (up to 1000 gallons of water), a submersible pump is more economical and practical option. Submersible pumps can be placed directly in pond and require relatively little installation. They are free of distracting noise, and for smaller ponds, can easily be utilized to drain your pond (if you hook up a hose to output flow).
In old days, main disadvantage of submersible pumps was that pump seal could rupture and release oil coolant into water. However, this is not case nowadays, because newer pumps are magnetic-driven, and no longer require coolant. “Mag-driven” pumps are slightly more expensive, but they have added advantage of consuming less electricity.
Pumps are sized by gallons per hour (GPH) output at one foot of lift or height. Manufacturers usually offer charts that break down power of each size pump according to incremental heights of one foot. It is recommended that you circulate your body of water at least once every 2 hours. Therefore you will need to size your pump to ensure that it has half GPH rating as volume of your pond in gallons. For example, if you have a 1000 gallon water feature, you will require at least a 500 GPH pump.
Calculating proper pump for waterfalls is a bit trickier, because you must estimate your waterfall's height. To do so, you must measure vertical height from top of your pump to top of your waterfall. In addition, you must add another foot of height or lift for every 10 feet of hosing you will be using (this will allow for loss of volume from resistance within hose). To calculate required pump GPH, a general rule of thumb is that each inch of width of channel will require an extra 100 GPH. For example, if your stream or waterfall spillway will be 10 inches wide, you will need a pump that produces an excess flow of 1000 GPH at your waterfall's height.
Spring into Lawn MowingWritten by Lillian & Dave Brummet
Ahh. Spring arrives with beautiful twittering of birds preparing their nests for unborn. What - can't hear them? The low rumble of lawn mowers not only drowns out natures' symphony, but also disturbs skittish wildlife and sleepy neighbors.
According to Environmental Protection Agency, some older gas-powered lawn mowers produce in one hour as much air pollution as a new car does in 11 hours. Lawn mowers newer than 1996 have to comply to new exhaust emission standards, which is a fantastic place to begin. However, these standards are not yet satisfying for health of world.
Gasoline-powered mowers produce a cut that results in greater water loss and increased disease problems in lawns. Although many are now made with 4-stroke engines (much less polluting than 2-stroke engines), they still produce emissions.
There is a returned interest in push mowers due to environmental awareness of gas engine pollution and electricity use. Typically, crowded cities are resulting in smaller lawns, reducing need for large, heavy mowers. Push mowers are light and easy to operate and, being much smaller, take up less storage room and do not pollute. These mowers are actually quite cheap and many stores are rising to meet increased consumer interest. We have read that 7-blade models are considered better than 5-blade models.
There are other choices on market than electric, push and gas lawn mowers. There are solar-powered models, too. We read of one featured in Omni magazine that operated on its own, traveling entire lawn area during day and resting at night. It looked to be about size of a vacuum power-head. Apparently, a special fence is used to keep it within lawn boundary and there is a built in alarm to prevent theft.