5 Important pond liner tips to help build a stunning water feature

Nov 15

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Thursday, November 15, 2018  RssIcon

Pond liner and protective underlay have proven to be a highly successful form of water containment for ponds of various sizes. Planning and research are a valuable initial step to constructing a water feature that meets all features which go into making a statement masterpiece. Setting a project budget also helps in the planning phase particularly if you are going to include a pond liner, underlay, pond pump, filter, aquatic plants, fish and other finishing touches to your build.

Pond liners come in different grades or thicknesses and material types. Rubber pond liners such as Butyl and Epalyn (EPDM) are well known for their durability, UV resistance and flexibility. These pond liner types come with a life time guarantee when installed above a protective underlay. Although thicker than the PVC, Butyl and Epalyn are remarkably easy to install and can be welded on site using a portable hot bonding machine for large and complex design builds.

Epalyn pond liner has high expansion and contraction characteristics that enable it to conform to objects below the pond. Should earth movement occur, such as settling, Epalyn high elongation properties will enable it to stretch. 

What to consider when building your pond

  • Accommodating aquatic plants - add in a stepped base or shelf to your design plan.  The shelves can be used to accommodate marginal plants or to place planting baskets. Shelves make it easier to remove plants to prune them back at the end of the season. The flexibility of Butyl and Epalyn pond liner means that they can readily be moulded to the contours of planting shelves. Their durability allows for planting baskets to be placed directly onto the liner.
Pond liner and protective underlay being installed in a big pond build
  • Housing Koi or goldfish fish - the greater the volume, the happier and healthier the fish. Goldfish require a pond size no smaller than 5 meters square and half a meter deep or a volume of at least 3000 litres. Koi require a minimum of 5500 litres – or pond size greater than 2.5m x 2m x 1.2m. Koi are big fish and need a large volume of water but, it is best not to go deeper than 3 meters because sunlight can't penetrate sufficiently enough to promote the growth of healthy algae, which are needed as part of the healthy ecosystem. A vertically sided pond is recommended for Koi as it guarantees the largest volume of water and the steep sides don’t accumulate waste materials and debris that can release harmful ammonia. A box welded pond liner is the best option for ponds home to Koi.
  • Pond maintenance - The bigger the pond the easier it will be to maintain relative to a small, shallow one. A small pond will get warm quicker in summer and is more likely to freeze over in winter. If space doesn't allow for a big pond, position it so it receives sufficient shade and add extra aeration in summer – use an air pump to achieve this and make sure your pond receives sufficient shade.  Use a pond thermometer if you plan on homing fish and keep an eye out for any signs of distress. Butyl and Epalyn rubber pond liners are resistant to UV radiation and readily repaired using a waterproof sealant in the unlikely event of puncturing.
  • Addition of a pond pump and filtration - Fish excrete waste into the water in the form of ammonia from their gills and nitrate in their faeces.  And, algae grows where there are high levels of light and nutrients. High nutrient levels will lead to algae taking over the pond choking everything else out.  Ponds lined with a pond liner have fewer micro-organisms relative to a natural pond. Therefore, you have to create an artificial place for the microbes to live such as a filtration system. Microbes take-up waste animal and plant matter as they float around in the water keeping it clear of nutrients.
  • Stone edging and other finishing touches - As durable as the highest quality pond liner is, it is still worth protecting it from being punctured by sharp claws, beaks and rocks pushed up through ground movement. Geotextile underlay installed above the ground before laying the pond liner will offer this protection - and a lifetime guarantee on the pond liner, There are a few situations where protective underlay liner is used on top of the pond liner such as around the edge of a pond before the stone slabs, that will form the border of the pond, are put in place. Protective pond liner overlay should also be added where objects such as stone features are add to the pond. Or, when creating an attractive pebbled pond floor. As well as protecting the pond liner, the textured surface of the fabric will stop pebbles and other features sliding about on the pond liner.

Pond liner fabricated to exact dimensions

Box-welded pond liners are ideal for regular shaped, vertically-sided ponds. This 2-dimensional pond liner has the advantage of being absent of unsightly folds and creases. A box-welded pond liner is cut and fabricated or hot bond welded to the exact pond dimensions and design. An overlay lip is included upon which flagstone or other edging material can be placed to secure the box-welded pond liner in place. 

Russetts Developments Ltd have the expertise to fabricate box-welded pond liners foe simple pond designs to more complicated ones – including those with planting shelves, sloping bases, uneven depths or a haunched base to fit a bottom drain. For very sophisticated designs, the box-welded pond liner can be welded onsite.

Building a pond of any size and shape is a rewarding challenge. 

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