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Garden pond liners and how to size up the best choice

Apr 25

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017  RssIcon

Garden pond liners are essential to pond builds where there is the risk of water loss through ground seepage. They also play an important role in maintaining healthy water - natural unlined ponds are an option for attracting wildlife and where the murkiness of water doesn't deter from the ponds beauty. But, for fish-keeping water quality is imperative and therefore a pond liner is essential to the ponds construction. 

How to make the best choice when shopping for pond liners and how to size up the best fit are questions most frequently asked by those wanting to become pond keepers. Making the best choice is about first researching what is available and then finding one that will best suit your pond design and budget.

There are two main types of garden pond liners used today - either preformed or flat sheet liners. Preformed liners are made from a high density polyethylene moulded into fixed shapes. To install a preformed pond, a hole is dug to the deepest depth and widest length of the mould. The preformed liner is then gently lowered into the hole and the hole back filled with sand. Unlike preformed liners, flexible pond liners can be easily shaped to fit the unique contours of any pond dug-out, thus allowing more design flexibility. A preformed pond is guaranteed to last around fifteen years relative to a flexible rubber pond liner which, if installation guidelines are adhered to, are guaranteed to last 25 years.

The three commonly used flat sheet pond liners are: PVC, Epalyn (EPDM) and Butyl rubber. All are easy to install and non-toxic to fish and visiting wildlife. Selection is often based on price with PVC being the least expensive but isn't as durable and flexible as rubber pond liners.  Butyl and Epalyn pond liners can withstand exposure to frost and UV radiation. Although thicker than the PVC, Butyl and Epalyn EP are remarkably flexible and are ideal for larger installations due to their tougher qualities and ability to be hot bonded on site. Epalyn EP garden pond liners have high expansion and contraction characteristics that enable it to conform to objects below the pond. Should earth movement occur, high elongation properties will enable it to stretch. Available in various”grades” (thicknesses).

For a lined pond, it is also wise to invest in a protective underlay, which acts as cushioning material between the pond liner and the substrate.

Features to consider when choosing garden pond liners


For the most part you would want to choose a garden pond liner that will last, require little maintenance and one that is easy to install. Here are other features to consider offering greater longevity to a pond build:

  • Resistant to puncturing

  • Environmentally friendly and won't leach chemicals into the ground or water

  • Non-toxic to aquatic plants and fish

  • Resistant to UV rays 

  • Durable

  • High tensile strength and flexibility

  • Easy to install and manipulate over the contours of the pond

  • Conforms to the shape of the pond

  • Comes with at least a 25 year guarantee - many rubber pond liners are reported to have with stood the test of time for over forty years.


Flexible rubber pond liners, whether Butyl or EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) are known for their high quality. These two garden pond liners display all the features as listed above and are a pond experts choice particularly for larger ponds with an option of thicknesses for more demanding applications.

PVC garden pond liners display a number of the above features but not all. PVC is an ideal choice for smaller ornamental garden ponds and is a cost effective choice for first time pond builders. This garden pond liner is not UV resistant therefore the edging needs to meet the water level exposing as little pond liner as possible to prevent it damaging.

Russetts Developments supply rubber garden pond liners and PVC on-the-role or in pre-packs to the Aquatic Trade and direct to Landscapers for installation to golf course water features, Koi pond builds and garden ponds. 

If you are wanting to order a pond liner for your own pond build, you can visit an garden pond liner supplier such as Pond Liners Online who sell direct to the public.

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