What is it about flowing water that is such a balm for the soul? Having just spent a week’s vacation at the ocean staying on a salt marsh, I think I can authoritatively say that the idea has merit and the idea of having this in my yard is inspiring.
Joyfully I’ve been learning that solar is now a successful choice to power backyard ponds, fountains and bird baths. The benefits of using solar are multiple, including that now you might just do the project! I don’t know about you, but I have shied away from using electricity in the yard because of the expense of hiring an electrician, expectation of electrical outages, and more recently, because of the energy footprint. Now, tada, I can explore electricity-free systems for fountains and birdbath heaters, my two interests.
On a sunny day, small solar water panels can pump 900 gallons of water and lift the water up to 200 feet for a fountain! Medium versions can pump 5 gallons a minute. There seems to be no limit to how large a solar water pump can be if you want a huge fountain. Let me just say here that I personally am not interested in a 200-foot high fountain! I’m more the type who likes water gently flowing over rocks. The point is, that solar gizmos these days can really power just about anything you could want.
One tip for when you are investigating solar water panels: Make sure that the type you buy has adequate storage of energy, at least for three to 10 days. There are a number of other tips for backyard water gardens online, including specific directions for how to build a solar powered water fountain.
I am in love with birds in my yard. Betsy Stang, our feng shui blogger, says that if you want abundance, “feed the earth, feed the birds.”
Solar-powered bird baths can accomplish a number of different functions. The first is to move water, which can be done with a solar water pump. You can establish a fountain, or just a drip system. Birds are drawn to moving water, so this system is a boon.
Another is to light up the bird bath using solar energy at night so that you can watch the birds during the night hours.
And a third is for those of you in cold climates, which is a way to heat the water to keep it from freezing. Birds have to keep their feathers clean no matter what the time of year. Having flowing water for your local birds when the temperature is zero is a gift for them and I expect you will have many visitors if you do this.
Birdbaths can have the solar panels integrated with the design, or separate from the birdbath. The former has to be in the sun, the later can mean that the solar panels are in the sun but the birdbath can be in the shade.
Check to make sure the birdbath fountain can be used in the winter if you are in a cold climate.
Squidoo (a Web site like About but with a social mission) offers some good resources for solar birdbath and birding water supplies; and here is a good blog about the general characteristics of a good birdbath.
Lastly, if you have a pool, consider using solar to give yourself a heated swimming pool! The resource given there is in the UK. Don’t you love the picture?