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Garden pond liners - which one is best?

Nov 27

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Friday, November 27, 2015  RssIcon

Garden pond liners are designed to contain the water in a pond as well as adding to the aesthetics of the design. A pond liner will retain a constant water level with any drop being due to evaporation rather than through ground seepage. So, what type of liner is available and what is the most suitable for an average size garden pond?

There are a few key types of pond liners you can choose from, which we will look at in further detail to help you in your decision process. 

Types of garden pond liners


Flexible flat sheet pond liners – with a choice of rubber garden pond liners such as EPDM and Butyl membranes or synthetic plastic sheet made of PVC. 

Rubber garden pond liners offer the following unique features: very durable and more flexible than PVC, can be made to any size, UV resistant (PVC liners are not UV resistant and therefore should not be exposed to sunlight) and readily forms into the contours of your pond with the ability to be folded and pleated over according to the pond design.

It is highly advisable to use a protective underlay liner to place between ground and pond liner to protect from damage by stones pushed up through ground movement. 

EPDM rubber garden pond liner


This type of pond liner is of the highest quality and is likely to last a lifetime provided a Geotextile underlay liner is installed beneath to shield from sharp stones and gravel. More expensive relative to a PVC liner, but if you are serious about your pond and /or about keeping KOI then this type of pond liner is highly recommended for all it's superior physical properties. EPDM is flexible, resistant to sunlight and adverse weather conditions with no cracking or physical damage.

Butyl pond liners


A synthetic rubber membrane, which is without doubt of excellent quality, however, since the emergence of EPDM, many pond suppliers no longer supply Butyl as a garden pond liner, as EPDM can do the same job at a cheaper price. Butyl is expensive because of the rising cost of the rubber polymer used to make this liner.  It is flexible with fantastic stretch qualities and is highly puncture resistant.  

PVC pond liner


This is the most common type of garden pond liner. The popularity is due to price rather than quality. It is made from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and comes as standard at 0.5mm thick. It is strong enough for the smaller garden pond and readily follows the contours of your pond, however it doesn’t offer the same amount of stretch or flexibility as a rubber pond liner when installing. PVC is also known to go brittle if exposed to too much sunlight, causing it to puncture.

Preformed liner

A preformed pond is moulded from a plastic composite material and available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The disadvantage is that they don’t offer any scope for pond design change or additions and are not always the cheaper option. Generally considered to be a starter pond choice.

No garden pond liner 


If you want to create a natural pond design then this maybe the choice for you. The big advantage is that there are limited costs incurred and the ground will provide a natural substrate for plants and animals. This type of pond offers design flexibility and can be readily changed or added to as required. However, as a choice of garden pond liner it does have limitations as not many garden soil types have life-long water-holding properties.

We hope this has offered a good overview of what garden pond liner types are available on the market giving enough information to help you make an informed decision.

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