I've been fascinated by water since I was a boy. I would spend my spare time exploring the local lakes, rivers and streams of the surrounding areas. This led me to a degree in the sciences with a focus on water and a career at Aquascape, where I have the opportunity to design and build water features for clients around the world!
I'm an outdoor enthusiast with water as the focus, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating or just relaxing on a dock or beach, are a few of my favorite activities. But I'm not alone. According to a recent report by NorthStar, beaches are the #1 destination of choice for vacationers around the world!
Water front property is the most expensive property on the planet! Malibu, California; the Hamptons of Long Island, Miami Beach, the Gold Coast of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan; the fact is that people will pay a premium to live near water. Everyone is secretly drawn to it but the question is why? Why do we crave it?
If you were to ask someone, you'd hear a variety of reasons; beauty, serenity, wildlife, aquatic sports and activities or some may just say it's a feeling. What does it all mean?
There's actually some science behind the reasons, it's called negative ions. It might sound like science fiction but it's not; electrical charges are everywhere around us and they have an impact on our bodies and minds. The key is moving water, not just water. That's why waves at the beach, waterfalls and babbling brooks have the greatest effects.
What happens is the energy that's released as water falls through the atmosphere and crashes on the beach or off of rocks releases electrons into the atmosphere. These electrons are picked up by oxygen molecules creating a negative ion.
It actually happens every morning in homes around the world. That's right; our morning showers that wake us up are filled with negative ions. It's more than just the water; it's the byproduct of the falling water that energizes us. So, what does this mean?
When you're in an environment where the concentration of negative ions is greater than positive ions, it will have an effect on your body and mind. There's an increase in blood flow and oxygen content to your cells; it will lower blood pressure and stabilize respiration creating a calming effect. Increased oxygen content in your blood is critical for all metabolic functions which in turn affect your mood.
Negative ions will also clean the air of a variety of pollutants, airborne mold, dust, pollen and bacteria, which are positively charged. When they come into contact with negative ions, they are attracted to each other and will be removed from the atmosphere. That's why visitors to the seashore or a mountain stream will claim that the air is fresher ... that's because it is!
Positive ions on the other hand are the result of combustion and electrical devices(computers, TV's, heating and cooling systems) all of which surround us on a daily basis! Positive ions have a dramatic effect on us, causing depression and feelings of lethargy. I can speak from my personal experience with this because I'll feel more tired from working an 8 hour day in the office versus 12 hours outdoors working a physically demanding job.
Studies have shown that homes and offices will have negative ion levels from 0 to the low 100's at best. A meadow may have 1,000 or more negative ions per cubic centimeter, and the seashore or waterfalls can be 100,000+!!!
It's no wonder why we flock to coasts, lakes, rivers and streams. We need a break from our hectic lives and we get it from this unlikely source. Aquatic destinations will deliver more than we can comprehend; the stunning scenery and unique sounds create the perfect stage for nature to do her magic. The amount of wildlife found along waterways is second to none and negative ions abound as water moves through the atmosphere. Our lungs absorb the negative ion-rich atmosphere with every breath and we feel alive.
This is why we do it and we can recreate this feeling anywhere. It can be as simple as a small decorative fountain located in a courtyard. As the water bubbles effortlessly from the fountain top it will fill the intimate space with the sights, sounds, and energy produced by the water as it finds its way down between the water worn fissures carved within the stone.
For those looking to create a truly one-of-a-kind unique atmosphere designed to mimic their favorite aquatic getaway, the possibilities are limitless. Large expanses of water will capture the imagination in any setting, with the addition of strategically located waterfalls the property will be transformed into an aquatic oasis. Artistically placed boulders will make the water sing as they release electrons into the air creating an atmosphere rich in negative ions and filled with the music of falling water. The addition of aquatic plants and fish will make the feature come alive, inviting us to the shore to feel the water.
All I can say is.....Breathe...
Backyard - Before
Backyard - After
A well designed water feature will engage the entire family with an aquatic experience