By Eric Triplett
As a professional, I’ve always seen myself as something of a calming influence – basically as an instructor who offers reassuring guidance. I teach my staff, I teach my clients and their families and, through all of the videos I’ve made, I also like to think I help other pond professionals by giving them tools they can use to bring their own staffs and clients up to speed.
This set of three “Ask the Pond Digger” questions typifies what I do all the time. Although at first glance they might seem unrelated on any level, each is, in its own way, about the value of clear communication.
In the first section of this installment, the communication is about water appearing under the liner. As I make clear, I’m not discussing leaks here: It’s about groundwater and runoff and the importance of moving it from beneath a pond where it can lift a liner and undo a lot of hard work that went into installing the pond in the first place.
The communication here sometimes has to do with informing the client about the need for an extra project expense: All of the unexpected trenching and pipe placement involves a considerable investment, particularly if it’s about groundwater or irrigation runoff on a flat site and an extra pump system is required to clear away the excess liquid. If I convey the necessary information with clarity and conviction, all will be well.
The second question has to do with biofilm, which some pond owners perceive as unwelcome slime and, like the person who asked me this question, will do all they can to get rid of it.
The way I see it, every pond business or professional who comes in contact with do-it-yourself pond builders has a responsibility to do all they can to inform hobbyists about what to expect and how to react – especially in the crucial six weeks or so in which the pond is cycling and bringing itself to a functional equilibrium in which the plants and fish are thriving and the water becomes crystal clear.
With biofilm, we face an ongoing issue about which anyone who owns a pond should be made aware through every bit of literature that goes out with pond kits and components. As I see it, this fundamental (and crucial) information about the benefits of these deposits should be part of a “resource” section of every pond-related web site.
Finally, we get to communicating with clients about how their fish (and plants!) can be expected to perform in the months and years after the pond installation is complete. Anyone who deals in Koi, for example, should know of ways to train these fish to be responsive to pond owners and should convey this information in a general conversation at the time of sale or delivery.
Koi can be great and personally rewarding fun if they become family pets, but that will only happen if the owners understand what it can take to bring out the best in them. Who better to raise and convey this information than those who brought pond owner and Koi together?
To see this triple treatment of communication-related topics, click here.
Eric Triplett is founder and chief executive officer at Pond Digger Waterscape Design & Construction in Yucaipa, Calif. He may be reached at [email protected] ponddigger.com.