What kind of liner works the best?

Toston, MT(Zone 4a)

I am planning on building a pond this spring (if it ever gets here) and was hoping some of you would like to share your knowledge / experience with me.
I'm short on funds, so if you know a rough extimate on cost, that would be much appreciated too!
I would like to know everything. From what kind of liner, to the best pump, design, everything!

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

Thats a big question....

Can you answer some questions first?

Do you imagine the pond as formal/informal/natural?
How large do you imagine the pond being?
Do you imagine a waterfall/stream/etc?
How much maintenance time can/will you provide?
Will the pond have fish only / plants only / both?
What kind of soil do you have?
Who will be digging the hole?


Toston, MT(Zone 4a)

Ok, lets see....
I imagine a natural looking pond, apx. 6 feet by 8 feet, a slow trickling waterfall, I will make the time to do the necessary maintenance. I would love some fish, but am not sure how to winter them, and definitely plants. The soil is sandy.

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)


Lets take example 1; 6 'X 8' X 3' deep. that equals 144 cu ft or about 860 gallons.
Assuming that the sides will be close to vertical. Which is harder to do with sandy soil.
The minimum liner size you would need is 13 x 15. the precut liner sold at most supply places , is in 5 foot increments. That mean you would purchase a 15 X 15 foot liner.

Example 2; 6 'X 8' X 2' deep. that equals 96 cu ft or about 585 gallons.
The minimum liner size you would need is 11 x 13. Since you have to round up in 5 foot increments,, you still need a 15 X 15 liner. Thatís 225 sq. ft. of liner.

deeper is usually better if you ever plan on having fish and you have a fence and you have no small children around. Your state and local government may have laws about maximum depth possibly dependent on whether you have a fence and how high the fence is. You'll just have to decide on this one.

I did a quick search on the net for a 15' X 15' piece of 45 mil EDPM liner and found it at $120 - $150 + shipping ( usually UPS). If you look hard you can find it for less. Maybe someone on the forum has a cheaper source. I got mine at a local store and saved the shipping.

You will also need something to serve as underlayment, to protect your liner from being punctured. The pond supply places sell underlayment, but you can use old carpet, a thick layer of newspaper, old blankets, etc. I used sand , and old newspaper.

Next you will need some way of edging the pond. I used rock,( not cheap in my area). Some people use wood ( like garden planks), bricks, retaining block, etc. The point is you need to make the edge of the pond blend in with surrounding area and hide the liner.

So, the cheapest method would be to buy the liner, collect lots of newspaper for underlayment, collect your own rocks for the edging.

I'll cover pumps and plumbing in another post.


Understand that other ponders will take exception with some or all of what I have posted. We all have a better way.....or can find it cheaper. No one else answered you and I hate when I ask a question and get no answers.

Toston, MT(Zone 4a)

I too hate when I ask a question and no one answers. So I thank you very much!!
I have a lot to think about, and ponder. You brought up a very good point about small children. Although the pond is going to be in the garden, with a fence and gate around it, I do have a toddler. I'm now thinking that mabe for right now, I should check into a very shallow (lots of rocks) waterfall and stream instead of a pond. It'll still attract birds and the like, but I won't have to worry about my daughter drowning in it. Since we have plenty of rock, that's not an expense, and something shallow wouldn't be as pricey. Any ideas as to a plan on this new idea?
Again, Thank you SO MUCH for helping my out!!

Crofton, MD(Zone 7a)

Heidi, Thats sounds like a better plan if you have a little one around. The concept will still be about the same. throw you garden hose down and arrange it into an outline you like. Then take measurements. say 4 X 6 as an example, Then if you decides to made it 6 inches deep, the formula for questimating the liner size is
length = (length + 1 + (2 X depth)
width = ( width + 1 + (2 X depth)

length = 4 + 1 + (2 X .5) = 6
width = 6 + 1 + (2 X .5) = 8.

You'll need some extra liner for the stream and the waterfall.


Toston, MT(Zone 4a)

The more I think of it, the more I like this new idea.
Thanks for the outline, you have helped tremendously.

Falconer, NY(Zone 6a)

Heidi, if your just starting out and your not sure about the way to go, check out the pre-formed pond kits. Check out the closest Sams club or Wal-mart, i work at a Sams Club, we sell a kit that u get a 125 gal pond with a smaller 60gal with a spillway on it, comes with pump,filter and 2 different fountain heads in it all for 109.98. All u do is dig the hole and add water, fish and plants are up to you. I did mine last year and i love it. If i had a bigger yard i would do more. Keep your eyes open for a new coming soon to Sams Clubs, its called a stone pond. and comes with the smaller one comes with a waterfalls. (made to look like you have done a ton of stone work around it.) Selling for around 139. Comes with pump and filters too. Lowes also sells the pre formed ponds and all the accessories you need.

Toston, MT(Zone 4a)

Connie, those prices sound very resonable.
Mabe in a few years, I will invest in one of those.
Right now, I'm focusing on a small water fall and stream.
I have a toddler that I have to be aware of, and I'm not one for taking chances. Although the area that the waterfall/stream is going to be in is fenced, I just don't want to have to worry about my daughter falling in.
My main goal is to attract frogs, toads, birds, butterflies, ect. to the area. What more could a person ask for than to have a beautiful garden with all of natures wonders in it!
Thanks for the info.

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