Pond Liner Installation Tips

There are many ways you can make and enjoy your pond, however there are a few considerations you should always make whether you pond is large or small:

General Pond Safety Considerations

  • Always check with your local council on any regulations that may be in place. There may be restrictions on the maximum depth etc.
  • Always check that there are no pipes underneath where you want to dig! Like the ad says - Dial before you dig.

General Pond Location Considerations

As with anything to do with real-estate, its all about location, location, location. So when deciding where to put your pond, consider these factors;

  • The area should ideally receive at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, as this is best for flowers and plants.
  • Ponds under a tree(s) will collect leaves easily, adding organic matter to the pond and driving algae growth. Some trees are also poisonous to ponds. Trees do provide shade to aquatic life though, so if you do want trees next to your pond, make sure you choose carefully.
  • Tree root systems can also have the potential to damage pond liners.
  • Avoid designs that allow water to drain into your pond directly, and avoid positioning a pond in drainage paths.
  • There is nothing wrong with connecting your pond as part of your rainwater system.
  • When water drains out of your pond, make sure it drains away from your house.

General Pond Preparation Considerations

  • You have the choice of a preformed fibre-glass or plastic pond, or digging it yourself and using a liner. Preformed pond can be much easier and quicker to install, but you will be limited to certain sizes and shapes. A pond liner means you create your own pond, so while it takes a little longer to install, it gives you the freedom to make almost any shape you want.
  • When using a pond liner, the material is manufactured in rolls of 2 or 3 metres wide and is seam welded to create wider pieces. This is normal and the joins are very strong
  • Use a hose to mark out your pond area. Hoses are good as they are easy to move around but won't blow away with the wind.
  • Make sure to smooth and prepare the ground properly before installing the pond liner. The ground should be free from rocks and other sharp objects.
  • When putting the pond liner in place, make sure you take your shoes off, as this can damaged the liner.
  • We also recommend that you protect the liner by laying down some sand (usually at least 50 mm thick), concrete (not normally recommended but can be used to make features), fibre-matting or a geotextile fabric underlay.
  • A pond liner can be made out of a number of materials including:
    1. Butyl Rubber and EPDM - relatively expensive but are very flexible, long lasting and mostly fish friendly.
    2. LLDPE - has excellent UV resistance, is fish friendly and flexible albeit not as flexible as Butyl or EPDM.
    3. PVC - usually the cheapest to buy, but not generally fish friendly and usually doesn't have good long term UV resistance.

    When choosing a material, consider the temperature range where you will install, and how long you intend to have the pond for. EPDM is a great choice, but you don't need a liner that will last 30 years if you are renting! And likewise don't use PVC if you are making an aquatic pond such as a koi pond.

  • Further Reading

    The Western Australian Government's Department of Agriculture and The Department of Fisheries have put together a joint guideline for garden ponds that give excellent general advice in setting up and maintaining a healthy garden pond. Their pdf can be downloaded here

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