How to Build a Pond using a Liner

Every garden should have a pond, a haven for wildlife and tranquil place to relax. This guide will help you construct a pond using liner giving you more flexibility on size and shape than a preformed pond will.

Created by David Coton on Thursday, 26th of June, 2014.
Updated on Tuesday, 10th of January, 2017.


A pond built using liner.

They are straightforward to install but, as with any pond, the location should be away from hedges and trees so that leaves do not fall into the water. These will break down in the pond causing future problems.

You will also make sure that there is some shade during the day, as too much sunlight will cause problems such as green water suspended algae and blanket weed. 

Read Andy Hobson's guide to pond blanket weed to find out more.

Prepare the Hole

Have a plan in mind of what you want to achieve and outline the desired shape with rope or sand. Then you can start digging. I say to always start from the middle and work outwards, this gives you stronger sides.

Create shelves at different depths to accommodate various types of aquatic plants, perhaps very shallow at 2 inches, then 5 inches and wide enough to hold containers, and 18 inches. Overall depth should be at least 2ft, and over 3ft if you want to keep fish. If you plan to keep Koi in the future then a depth of 4ft or more is advised.

The hole must be level so use a spirit level balanced on a block of wood to check all around the sides. 

Remove any obvious sharp stones or tree roots and then line the hole with either rot resistant protective underlay that can be purchased from at the same time as your liner. This will protect the liner from stones, rocks and root penetration.

Previously people would have suggested using old carpet as underlay however I wouldn't suggest this as the adhesives used in carpets will react with the liner.

Choose the Liner

There are different types of pond liner available which have their advantages and disadvantages: 

PVC liner can be bought as different sized sheets or alternatively off a roll with various widths and is priced per square foot. PVC liner is lighter making it easier to work with and it will be cheaper to purchase, the downside is that the UV from the sun and winter can make it deteriorate faster than rubber liner.

Rubber pond liner is longer lasting and comes with a lifetime guarantee. It can be bought off the roll also and is priced per square foot just like PVC. Rubber will be more expensive and it's heavier but it is more flexible is not affected by the sun or winter as much.

Our range of liners are also available in larger sizes if required, we also offer box welded liners which prevents creasing.

It might sound obvious but make sure that the liner you purchase is the correct size for the pond you are building. Measure the length, width and depth of the pond. Then, double the depth and add the length and width. Now add two feet for overlapping the pond edge. This will give you the correct size.

If possible warm the liner in sunlight to make it more flexible and shape it into the hole, try to keep wrinkles to a minimum and add a little water to help settle it into place.

Fill and Edge     

Slowly fill with water making sure the liner doesn’t stretch. When full, trim off any excess liner above the water line. 

Then use mortar to fix patio stones or similar around the pond edge to keep the liner in place. Remember that many features will need electrical and hose connections, so allow space for these while adding edging materials.

Introduce plants and let any filters and other water features run for at least two weeks, perhaps a month, before adding fish.

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