Advice in placing large boulders

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

I was about to give up on finishing my larger pond. The hole has been dug for over a year and have hesitated in proceeding...BUT....

I found a person that I can get about 10 large rocks/boulders of various sizes, and most are pretty big...big enough to need a skid loader to put them in place for me. My idea of a Japanese style look will be more possible could I resist!

I am looking for ideas that will help in placing the stones or boulders...
-Do you make a concrete footer for them to support them? What did you do for yours to add support?

-Do you have an ideas how to protect the liner from getting a tear or hole in while you are placing them? Or to prevent a hole over time with settling? My worst fear is that the stone will come down on it and it will tear or get a hole in the liner...... then what?

-Any ideas that I can be aware of that helps the person who is placing them with the skid loader? Any special ideas used to protect the liner? Any helpful hints?

I want to have many of the them overhanging the pond a bit to protect the fish and also to have a most natural look to it. I plan to go and take photos and measurements so it may reduce the amount of operator time/labor required if I have a plan....also knowing there may be some changes, nonetheless. I will be pouring over books and photos on websites to get some visual ideas on keeping it looking the most natural. I have never been so happy over rocks!
Thank you so much for your input and advice.

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Carpet remnants and house insulation are 2 items I've read about which are used to prevent liner damage in pools. Don't know if this helps, but thrift stores may have carpet remnants. Also your area may have 'recycling' bins at the garbage dumps where I'm sure you could find all sorts of carpet remants.

Columbia, SC(Zone 7b)

Check your local Craigslist or . Put in a Want ad. Folks will give you an old carpet in a minute.

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

So putting carpet remnants under the liner will help prevent damage? Clarifying about the insulation, so you mean the blue foam type? Or the fiberglass type?

Hadn't thought of carpet...the carpet store that I bought my tile for both bathrooms had a dumpster for carpet from their jobs...I know they would give me whatever. But I know from pulling up carpet, that some have staples or you have to make sure there would be no carpet tacks embedded. I could certainly check for this before putting anything behind there.

Do you need a foundation for the really large ones to help support them? I thought about pouring a three to four inch pad out slightly in the perimeter area. It would be under the pond, so it should not have any ability to leach into the water area. Has anyone done anything like this?

I like the carpet idea.

Has anyone developed a leak under a large rock at the edge of their pond?
Thanks so much.

New Hampshire, NH(Zone 5b)

I would also put carpet over the liner under the boulders (for those that you place directly in the water). How big are these boulders (dimensions)? Do you have pics of the pond and the rocks? Is the perimeter of the pond undisturbed earth (less likely to settle)? I'm not sure a 3-4" narrow strip of concrete around the perimeter will hold up under the weight if the boulders are really heavy. I just placed mine directly around the perimeter and don't have any leaks around the edges. But my filters have an overflow so my water level can never get higher than a few inches below the top edge of the pond. My rocks may also not be as large as yours which is why I'm curious about the dimensions.

Kingston, OK(Zone 7a)

On getting used carpet be carefull of carpet tacks and such. Been there

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

Thank you. The footers that I was thinking of building would be several inches in diameter but 3-5 inches thick for additional support.

The land has been settling for over a year, but it is loose in some areas that were around where the smaller pond used to be. The bottom is fairly hard clay, but the upper layers are not as hard as they did bring in additional topsoil while our home was being built, but that is 17 yrs ago.

I also thought about putting in some cinderblock below level to help support the weight.
I plan to go in and take photos and getting the demensions of the rocks to help guide me in planning where the placement may be before the moving day...this may help decrease the time and labor to move them and decrease the movement onto the liner. Once I get them, I will send photos of the pond and the boulders for further advice, if I may. I should be able to accomplish this within a day or two.

As for putting carpet under the rock over the liner...will that effect my water quality if the water comes into contact with the carpet repeatedly?

Thanks for the advice about the tacks in the carpet...I was thinking about that because when I tore up carpet in our house getting it ready to put down tile, there were numerous tacks and staples. I would go over it with a fine toothed comb! Would styrofoam insulation work to avoid this complication?

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

How about using a level concrete stepping stone under the rock for secure support? I think the carpet would deteriorate over time when immersed in water Carpet is excellent UNDER the liner. As I mentioned above, I've seen posts where house insullation was used under the liner for protection from rocks - (pink, fibreglass, comes in rolls). I've battled with secure support as well. I used USB concrete blocks (builing material for houses) under the liner to support my side walls. We have land crabs which eternally burrow through the soil, moving huge amounts upwards. This has impacted the side walls many times till I resorted to the CBS blocks.

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

I also hope to dry stack all around the ledge to below the water level...unless there is a boulder there. I guess that will give them some additional support, as well. I appreciate the idea for putting a flat wed stepping stone under, for another supportive Thank you.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Carpet can rot, smell really badly once it gets wet and stays wet and breed some nasty bacteria. Pond liner underlayment isn't that expensive and it will not rot or tear. The link is just for information. You can buy the stuff anywhere. The other advantage is that it's not bulky like carpet and conforms more easily to curves and corners.

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

Thank you for all your ideas. It is so appreciated. Thank you for the link...I know so many people have done carpet and it is under the liner, but I did run into info that recommends the underlayment...

I did not get to the measurements and photos. I think I will close the thread, as I have some other projects that need attention prior to constructing the pond...but if I can't do it right, I would rather wait until I can put my full attention to it again. Thank you all.

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

I'm enlarging my pond so have my nose in 'How To' books. I came across some interesing info re pondliners/underlays which I thought you may find interesting: The Complete Pond Builder:
Always use some form of protection or underlay between a flexible liner and the pond excavation....has advocated the use of layers of newspaper to an inch thickness.....years later in re-excavating a pond, the newspaper underlay had deteriorated into a powdery form called 'gley'....notes the example of a fluid poured poured into dry flour - the liquid is repelled. The application of this principle in flexible liner construction means that small pluncture holes in the liner do not result in water losses as the water is repelled by the powder-degraded form of newspaper on the excavation side of the liner......Special synthetic fabric underlays or geo-thermal textiles are also available. These products are strong enough to protect the linder from potential punctures caused by sharp rocks working their way up through the soil.
A new development is EPDM sheeting with the underlay bonded to it. .......
Where large rocks or concrete blocks are placed on top of the liner, it may be wise to supply a layer of the protective fabric on top of the liner too......
Indoor-outdoor carpet used as an underlay should be slashed, to prevent collected water from lifting the liner.....
Newspaper or cardboard can also be used as a liner underlay.

Lake George, MN(Zone 3a)

An excellent "pad" for your large boulders can be found at a farm supply store. There is a heavy rubber pad, about 4' by 4', that is used on the floor of horse stalls. It is about an inch thick, if you feel you need more, then just add another pad until you have the thickness you want. Since this goes over the liner and is rubber, no problem with water pollution. I used this in one of my water features. I have a large flat bottomed boulder that I had drilled for a foaming fountain. I put down the pad and placed solid square concrete cubes at strategic points on the pad. I then had the pre-bored boulder lowered on to the cubes. This left me with room under the boulder to snake my water supply hose under and up into the boulder. I put a foaming nozzle just below level of bored opening in top of rock. The water level of the pond is above the base of the boulder. You can paint water proof black paint on support cubes. Since liner, pad and cubes are all black, you have the illusion of a rock jutting from bottom of an indefinite depth pond. The pond is only about 8 square ft in size. Boulder is not centered. MOST important!!! Make sure boulder is solidly positioned on cubes. Do every test imaginable, BEFORE you get your arm under there to position the feeder hose.

Columbia, SC(Zone 7b)

Wow, Zorba, can you post a picture?

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

zorba, I'd love to see photos of your foaming rock, should you have any handy. Excellent ideas re rock support. Due to cleanup after a house construction, I was lucky to find a huge rock during my evening stroll - rolled it home on our handy dolly, thanks to my DH!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I was at our farm supply store today and found these like REALLY thick, heavy rubber rugs, mats whatever you call them. They were like $20 each and probably 2x3 feet or so.
They were called stall mats, I think.
they also had a thick truck liner that would work. All were black too.

Akron, PA(Zone 6b)

I would also love to see zorba's water feature...sounds really neat!

These are all really good ideas, but so far, I think I would like to check out the stall mats. I had given up the idea of the pond and then I am now back to putting it back onto the schedule...I won't put you through my back and forth decision making...I will just post after it is done. I will put off the water fall until next year. I passed on the really large rocks already, so if I see another offer after the fact, I may add them afterwards. The large hole with weeds does nothing to the rest of the landscape...

Good idea with the newpaper idea and how it breaks down...newpaper does get a bit slimy when wet, so I would think this possible...

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