Will be working on my new pond soon and I need ideas for

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

the rock edging. I was planning on buying a couple of pallets of rock. Now my dh is only working 3 days a week :(
that is bad. bad bad.

so I am thinking about just using 'regular' rocks.
I don't know of anywhere around here to get those flat thin pretty kind,

I would really like to see pictures of the edges of your ponds and tips on how you covered the liner.
I do not like to see liner, it doesn't look natural at all of course.
Also I would like to plant pretty close up to the edge, how close have you cut your liner? On my last pond, I left a foot or so, but since I want to plant close, I thought about cutting it just 3-4 inches... does anyone foresee a problem with that?

I just need any advice and pictures about edging!
The only other thing is, I thought I could use a few temp rocks to hold things in place for a year or two and maybe dh's job would improve by then and I could buy some snazzy rocks like I was planning. But then again, maybe not?
agh! I don't know what to do!
Help me, I'm insane!

Athens, PA


Personally, I would not cut the liner that close to the edge of the pond. I don't think it is enough liner to lay flat and that you could possibly have problems with water getting between your liner and the ground. I would leave the at least 10" of liner all around your pond. You can always put dirt over the liner and then grow grass, vinca or something with shallow roots on that dirt covering the liner.

You mentioned having the rocks around your pond. I don't know what type of area you live in, if it is rural or suburbia.... I live in a rural area and I have friends that are sitting on quite a bit of acreage and I was able to get 99% of my rocks from them. They always joked about us coming up and going 'rock picking'. The other 1% we started retrieving prior to asking our friends for rocks and we were able to go on State owned lands and gather some real nice flat stones. Our rocks cost us nothing other than our time and sweat.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

No - As Carolyn points out don't cut the liner. For now disguise it any old way you can. When you rock the edge of a pond you roll the liner edge back towards the pond over the first rock, then place a second rock on top of that. You make a liner, rock, liner, rock "sandwich". This creates a prefectly disguised edge that keeps runoff out of the pond and pond water in the pond. If you can't find any suitable (ie free) rock this season then use anything heavy available that won't leach a chemical into the pond when rain hits it.
Just don't cut that liner. You'll need every bit of it. Temporary edging is just fine. When things get better, and they will, then you will have enough liner to finish it off in fine fashion. A word of warning about rock and pond edging. Don't use limestone. It will leach lime into the water and raise the pH way up there. If you're gathering free rocks from around the area you can test them yourself. Scrub a dry rock clean of dirt and pour a little vinegar on it. If it fizzes its limestone.

You can use old precast patio stone if anybody has any to give away. It has to have set out in the rain for at least a year though. Otherwise it will leach lime. I use cement half block in my pond to position some plants. But I use ones that have set out in the rain for a year or two. You can hurry up the process by settng them in a tub of water and changing the water periodically.

Are you familiar with Freecycle? The have groups all over the US. Here's yours.

That's a great place to get stuff free. I've given stuff away and gotten stuff there. There's all kinds of things that people don't want anymore that are too good to throw away. You can post what you're looking for or just check in periodically to see what's listed. Everything is free. You just have to haul it away.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Ive tried Freecylcle but we live in a fairly rural area, so not alot of 'business' going on locally. Any major town is a good hour from here. I did try Craigs List, but again most of the people that responded either wanted to sell me rock, or even then were at least an hour away. I just have a Ranger, so I can't even haul one pallet of rock at a time, too much weight. It would take 3 or 4 trips, and that would add up to alot of Saturdays and gas money. The other thing is most of the rock around here locally is 'junk rock' Big roundish clay rocks, not flat. We do have a lot of flatter sandstone in some areas, but that stuff wears away and crumbles quickly I found out. Our water, soil here is high in lime and probably alot of limestone, that is just what it is. That is why rock is so high, have to find it somewhere else and bring it in.
I have just always visioned using flat thinnish rock for edging, but I wonder what a bulkier rock would look like? I think it would be harder to hid the liner with rock like that, and then I thought I could plant things up between the rocks, but the liner would keep ornamental gresses and lillies ect from being able to root very good. I see what you mean about lapping the liner over though. I don't think the pond will get much run off, as it will be in a slightly higher area of the yard, and it has stone around the bed it is going in. We don't use chemicals hardly anyway, and not any on the lawn.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Rock here has to be paid for and hauled in too. I paid 17 cents a lb for the cheapest stuff I could find that I could stand to look at. I bought all flagstone. We live near a fairly good sized city but there are no natural rocks available. It's all flat farm fields, and I mean flat. It took me three years to get all the rock I needed. Freecycle is big here because of the sizable population. I can see it's being limited in a more rural area. Here's my pond with the overlapped liner sandwich using flagstones. Remember this was with the very cheapest stuff and it took me three years to do it all.

Don't cut the liner until you know what you will doing with the edge cuz you can't glue that stuff back on! ;)

Thumbnail by snapple45
Danville, IN

Must be nice being able to get out and work on your new pond. Here, we've got a half foot of snow on the ground, with more expected tomorrow night!

Anyway, if you don't have access to flat rocks, a very attractive edging can be done with rounded rocks of assorted sizes. I actually prefer this way, and I think it eliminates the danger of creating a "necklace" effect with flat rocks around the pond (Snapple45's pond a beautiful exception!). I'll try to describe this method. I have only one example of a small pond I helped a friend make when we used irregular rocks (photo).

1. Dig a ledge all around the edge of your excavated pond hole, about 8" BELOW the rim (ground) level. This will enable you to position rocks all around the pond, partially in the water, but sticking up out of it. It's also great for setting potted pond plants like water iris, rushes, sedges, and other marginals which don't like deeper water.

2. The liner should wrap over the underwater ledge and extend up and over the rim of the excavation. Be sure to leave at least a foot extending out beyond the rim. As you fill the pond, the liner will settle and "pull" the liner in a little. Don't cut until you are absolutely sure! Actually, I would fill the pond up to the ledge at this point (before setting any rocks) to check how much the liner pulls in, just to be safe. If you don't want to work in the water, just pump it out after checking.

3. Set different sized and shaped rocks on this lower ledge. Then, with this first line of half-submerged rocks in place, you can now arrange a second "row" of rocks, all different sizes behind them. This row will be on the ground level, pretty much covering the extra liner. You can leave pockets for plants, but overall, you'll have a nice irregular border of different sizes and shapes. This really looks more natural, especially if you use some larger ones and even extend the border in places to some "outcroppings". (This is kinda hard to describe, but I hope you get the idea!)

4. You can use river gravel (not crushed, which has sharp edges) to fill in between the rocks along the edge. In my area, this is called "L" gravel or washed river gravel, and looks like large pea gravel. It comes in different sizes, all the way up to fist-sized "cobbles".

5. Plants planted along the edge will quickly spread into the rocks and soften the edges, especially if you use groundcovers like lamium or Creeping Jenny. Also, spreading junipers, cotoneasters, and many rambling perennials work well.

6. When you fill the pond, the water level will look so natural as it fills between the half-submerged rocks on the edge.

I'll try to find more pictures of ponds I've done that show this method. It's much easier to make it look natural, in my opinion.

The small pond in the photo does have some very large and heavy pieces of flat stone along one part. They were an extension of a patio adjacent to the pond. Her grandkids have a place to safely feed the fish and stick their toes in the water.

Thumbnail by HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

This obviously isn't a pond, but a section of a stream we build for a job. It shows mixed flattish and rounded rocks of different sizes along the edges, which is about the same approach I was trying to explain in the last post. Maybe it can give you some ideas.

Thumbnail by HoosierGreen
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

snapple45 I LOVE the pond :)
I also noticed the fish plaque on the wood in the back, very nice.
So I see you have several row of rock on top of eachother. I was thinking just two. Is there a reason you layered it more heavily than that? How far does the rock come up from the surface of the water?
I went out today and LOOKED at the pond. Nothing more than that going on for another month or two. And the mud is horrible. More snow expected. :(
Plus the snow and freeze and thawing has really messed up what I already got done digging, so I will have to spend a good deal of time fixing alot I guess.

HoosierGreen Your photos are AWESOME, thank you SO much!
I think that will help me alot, at least gives me HOPE lol
Yes the first photo is alot like I was thinking, just wasn't sure how to do it. The rocks in the photo are similar to what we get around here, just irregular chunky rocks, sometimes with fossils or neat patterns or whatever, but NOT flat at all. Are hard to 'fit' together to look nice. I like the idea of setting them under the water line and then another row on top. I also LOVED the idea of the flat area to come up to the edge. I could probably purchase a few by the pound like Snapple said and do that without having to buy for the whole thing. I see what you mean about the 'necklace' effect. My pond is irregular shaped, but I do think one could end up with that if the pond were more round shaped.

about junipers,,, I bought one once that was supposed to be a 'japanese' dwdarf or something small. Yeah, right. It took over like a weed and within 4 years, I had to hand saw the suckers out of there!
Creeping Phlox is another plant that is pretty and fills in nice around rocky areas, but it too can almost be invasive if you are not careful and hard to get out. Seems it takes over quickly. I also found that it is great at harboring pests!

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

It's hard to explain the rock levels, because they change as you move around the pond. The pond is not a "stand alone". It is integrated into the larger garden. One one side is a large flagstone patio with benches. The lip of the patio overhangs the water by about 2". On the other side a flagstone path leads right through a mixed conifer garden to a small widened out flagstone area where folks can watch the fish.

Thumbnail by snapple45
Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

HG - I've never seen a more beautiful and realistic stream ever done. Your work is incredible.

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

dh and I were looking at your pictures and we thought maybe your whole yard was planted up. ? any grass? I love the idea of not having grass. Thought about doing that for our front yard, it's not too big, but too chicken to do it, plus it slopes some and not sure about water run-off-think it might wash out too much.
Just gorgeous!
Love the evergreens. The star is cute too on the house. Shoot, I think I will just vacation at your place lol

I see what you mean about the different levels, that is a neat idea too. I did something sort of like that in my back yard with the pond I put in two years ago.
I put in as PART of the raised bed. So one side is 'up' higher and when you are actually standing in the bed on the other side, it is only one stone from the ground. was a ton of work, I have trouble keeping it level as the ground shifts alot though, don't like that. I guess someday may dig really dig, pour a footer and mortar the rows together. But that is a project for dh, not something I could do really. And I don't see dh itching to get on it lol

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I was thinking about all the little crevices that would be along the liner edge if I did the method like above with the chunky rocks. I think that would be heaven for mosquitos.
I wonder if I could put minnows in the pond? I think they would over winter and such. I could probably pick up a couple dozen at the bait shop for a few dollars.
The goldfish would be too large to get into those spots.

Danville, IN

FrillyLily: Glad the photos were a help. You really can't go wrong if you just remember to mix sizes and shapes as you go to avoid the necklace effect. It's quite fun actually. Definitely be sure to put some minnows in the pond to control mosquito larvae. Most pet shops sell a type of little minnow fish which are meant to be mosquito controls. Or you can use bait minnows, but they get larger.

Snapple: Thank you for the compliment. The stream is 35' long and ends in a "pondless" gravel area. Here's a photo of the waterfall at the head of the stream.

Thumbnail by HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

Here's where the stream ends, going into the collection pit. This reservoir is about 4' x 4' x 5' deep and has lots of curled up large diameter drain pipe (the black corrugated stuff), then filled in with large L gravel. Of course, the pump is down there too, in a special barrel made out of a drainage pit barrel w/lid pierced with dozens of holes.

Thumbnail by HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

And, here's a shot of the pretty much the whole stream. It worked out very nicely, along the client's deck and patio. This shot shows the plantings, about a week after completion. Of course, the plants will grow to "soften" the hard look of all the rock and gravel.

Thumbnail by HoosierGreen
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

LOL you're hired :)

Phoenix, AZ

I made a small shelf that goes around the pond, piled rocks on it so they are half submerged. Kept piling rocks up and over the berm. I have plants all around the pond. DON'T CUT THE LINER.

Thumbnail by Fish_knees
Phoenix, AZ

Betty on her throne

Thumbnail by Fish_knees
springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

how nice!

OK, ok I won't cut the liner. !

Athens, PA

Fish_Knees -

Love your impatiens! Can you tell me how you have them in there between the rocks? Are they in pots in between the rocks or are they planted directly between the rocks? I have tried to get that type of affect with impatiens only to have them rot.

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