On the Fine Art of Pond Design

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

Is it round? Oblong? Square? Is it symmetrical? Asymmetrical? Is it surrounded by grassy banks? Stones? Tiles? Reeds? Is it deep, too deep to see the bottom? Shallow enough to see it? Is it natural? Artificial? Does it look natural? Artificial?

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

Natural vs Artificial Ponds

Types of ponds can be divided many ways, but one clear division is the origin of the pond. Is it natural or artificial?

Ponds were of course not a human invention. They form naturally after floods. They form where soil is washed away or sinks and water fills the depression. They form when an underground spring flows up and washes out an area around it.

Other ponds are artificial, built. Many of these are of course built by humans, but some animals, namely alligators and beavers, build ponds. Beavers build damns for protection and shelter, whereas alligators build them to attract prey and to hide from prey. Humans build ponds for many reasons, including habitat for plants and animals, to provide a place to fish, for aesthetics, for water for horses or livestock, and for irrigation. Beavers, alligators, and humans of course use natural ponds for all these same reasons.

An artificial pond is not by nature different from a natural pond, it is built, whether by humans or animals, to fill a need a natural pond might form if it had been there when the need arose. The lack of a natural pond doesn’t not preclude the need, and when it is lacking, an artificial pond is sometimes build to fill that need.

Pond Design

A natural pond will of course form based on the circumstances, the ground levels and water levels, what washes away more easily, what is solid. A natural pond might be artificially modified, but in its natural form, it isn’t planned, to occurs as it occurs, flowing with the land it exists on, forming with the environment around it.

In contrast, an artificial pond is planned out to various extents. Animals like the beaver and alligator mostly just want something deep enough and big enough for the hunting or protective needs. The shape and detail aren’t important. Humans on the other hand plan out how they are going to build the pond, depending on the need.

The need is of course the basis for what plan is used. If you desire a pond for a very pragmatic purpose, say for water for livestock, you aren’t concerned much with how it looks. If you are building it purely to provide habitat, you will most likely want it to look as natural as possible and less artificial, and will have specifics needed based on what you are wanting habitat for. If you are building it for purely aesthetic reasons, what you are looking for visually will make the difference on your plan. If there are multiple reasons you are building it, these factors will combine to determine your plan.

Given you are building a new pond, or making changes to an existing one, how do you want your pond to look?

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

Is it round? Oblong? Square? Is it symmetrical? Asymmetrical? Is it surrounded by grassy banks? Stones? Tiles? Reeds? Is it deep, too deep to see the bottom? Shallow enough to see it? Is it natural? Artificial? Does it look natural? Artificial?

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

Until you have a good idea what you want your pond to look like, you can’t truly plan it, at least not without having to redo things. And given the goal is a vibrant pond, any redoing will result in disruption of the plants and animals that might not live there when you start but will be a big part of the pond later on. Best to get what you want the first time.

Business Design

The same idea as planning our pond applies to designing a business, our metaphoric pond.

Of course, a business seldom forms naturally, someone gets an idea and puts it into action. But a business you did not start, that already existed when you bought it, is very much the same as working from a natural pond. The pond exists as it exists, but this might not be what you want in a pond. Likewise, a business might already exist when you buy it, but might not be set up or designed in the best way for your needs.

In contrast, a company, be is a startup, small business, or something larger, can develop in a “natural” way, following the landscape, not the needs, if planning does not include growth to begin with, whether it is bought already in existence or grown “artificially” from the ground up. Being left to grow “naturally” does not preclude the company growing in a way that fits its needs, but also doesn’t help it to grow in a way that meets those needs. It’s like gambling with your start up capital instead of putting it to good use. You might get lucky, but planning is a much better option.

So, the same question applies.

Picture a business that does what you desire. What comes to your mind?

How do you plan a business and grow a business that fits that picture, the picture of the company that fits the needs of what you want the business to be? A company can look like it grew “naturally” and in certain areas be allowed to actually do so, but you won’t get the pond, or the company, you want if you don’t plan for what needs to happen.

This is of course why a business plan is so important, but a business plan is only the beginning. Just like a healthy pond is dynamic, a healthy business is dynamic. The needs of the business change. The market changes. The local regulations change. The cost of things change. People leave or are let go. People are hired or promoted. Every change changes the balance of the business, just like changes do in a pond, and with the balance changed, the original business plan might or might not work anymore, might or might not match the new state of things, might or might not address the current needs. If it is followed dogmatically without revision, the needs won’t be met, and this will likely hurt the business. If the plan is just thrown out or ignored, like it has to be for the company to function if there is no revision, the company will be allowed to grow “naturally”, with the dangers we just talked about.

And, as always, this revision cannot occur without understanding of the company. It is necessary to observe it and monitor it, like we discussed in other previous posts, in order to get a firm understanding to be able to revise the plan.

So, picture a business that does what you desire. What comes to your mind?

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

Is it round? Oblong? Square? Is it symmetrical? Asymmetrical? Is it surrounded by grassy banks? Stones? Tiles? Reeds? Is it deep, too deep to see the bottom? Shallow enough to see it? Is it natural? Artificial? Does it look natural? Artificial?

Picture a pond. What comes to your mind?

~Bethany Davis
Caer Illandria Enterprises

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