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I’d like to build a pond but my soil doesn’t hold water. What types of liners are there? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: I’d like to build a pond but my soil doesn’t hold water. What types of liners are there?

Q: I’d like to build a pond but my soil doesn’t hold water. What types of liners are there?

Jasper- Colrain, MA

A: If you have a natural- or clay bottom pond that doesn’t hold much – if any – water, a pond liner may be your only leak-proof option. But before we outline the different types of liners you can use, let’s first discuss what’s currently in your pond.

Many ponds will contain some water. If your pond is more than 25 percent full and you want to install a liner, we recommend you either drain the pond before laying the liner or plan to put two feet or more sand or soil on top of the liner once its installed.

If your pond is less than 25 percent full, you have several liner options, which we’ve outlined below.

Liner Types

Two types of liners are used in pond and reservoir applications: poly vinyl chloride (PVC) and reinforced polyethylene (RPE).

  • PVC is widely used in irrigation reservoirs, detention ponds and golf course ponds. PVC liner is very flexible and cost effective. When installing this type of liner, we recommend your pond’s slope to be 3:1 for cover soil to stay in place, and we suggest you cover the liner with 12 inches of sand or clean soil to protect it from degrading in the sun.
  • RPE is widely used for more durable applications for water activities or in areas that get a lot of wildlife visitors, like agriculture ponds, irrigation reservoirs and golf course ponds. As with the PVC, we suggest you cover the liner with one foot of sand or clean soil where liner could be exposed to sunlight.

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) liners are mainly used in small water gardens. The synthetic rubber isn’t durable enough to handle large applications like your half-acre pond. Stick with PVC or RPE instead.

Liner Thickness

In addition to coming in different material types, liners come in different thicknesses. PVC comes in 20 and 30 millimeter thicknesses; RPE comes in 30, 36 and 45 millimeter thicknesses. The higher the number, the more durable and puncture-resistant the liner.

If you have livestock, deer or other wildlife coming in the pond, you’ll need at least a 30 millimeter PVC or RPE liner to withstand those hooves and claws.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

When you’re ready to order your liner, get the measurements of your pond, including its length, width and maximum depth. Plug those numbers into an online calculator, and you’ll find out what size liner you require.

Pond Talk: What are some tips you can share with readers for installing a large pond liner?

Eliminate The Guess Work - Pond Logic(r) ClearPAC(r) PLUS

What type of soil is best for construction for an earth bottom pond? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Why type of soil is best for construction an earth bottom pond?

What type of soil is best for construction an earth bottom pond? Sarah – Charlotte, NC

Getting To the Bottom of Your Pond

If you are planning to dig an earth bottom pond in your yard this season, you may want to do a little leg work to find out what types of soil are found in your area before you break ground. You won’t need to go into specifics but your pond’s chances of success will depend on the dirt you dig up.

When digging your pond, it is common to pull up earth made of sand, silt or clay as well as many other components. If you built your home on land that was previously used for farming you would probably see a substantial layer of a fine, dark, nutrient rich soil. If you live in the southwest you may commonly find your property consists of mostly sand. It is important that you know the make up of your land because each type of dirt has its own unique characteristics and some hold water better than others. If you dig your pond in sand for example it will not be able to hold water. You really want to try to dig your pond in clay to ensure maximum water retention.

So how do you get the scoop on the local dirt? You can check with your city hall, or some local builders in your area, as they have at one point or another been involved with some type of digging in the area. If you can not find valid input or you want to double check for yourself, start digging in your yard. If you find that your yard consists of just about everything but clay, you have another option. Depending on the size of your pond you can purchase pond liner to hold the contents of your prospective pond. For smaller ponds you can purchase 45mil EPDM Liner. If you plan on digging a pond that 5,000 square feet and over then you are better suited with a 20mil PVC Liner which has a higher durability and comes in larger sections. If you’re in the market for a large pond liner it is best to call one of our pond techs to help give you an accurate estimate of the size you would need.

Pond Talk: Have you ever had trouble holding water in your pond?

Make your pond hold water with pond liner.

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Put It On The Patch

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? Cindy – Kirtland, NM

This Blog Has A Lot of Holes

Having a leak in your Pond Liner can be frustrating at best, but not being able to locate the source of the water loss can be maddening. While repairing a leak in your pond is never your ideal way to spend time at your water garden, knowing how to locate and stop your leaks can change an extremely bothersome job into a relatively smooth process.

Now You See It … Now You Don’t

It is normal to experience some water loss in your pond throughout the season. This is due to evaporation. In areas with warmer climates it is not uncommon to lose a couple of inches of water each week. While evaporation is a natural process it can still be annoying at times as it will require you to add water to your pond to maintain your normal water level. Installing an Auto Fill Valve in your skimmer will keep ensure your pond is always at your desired water level without you having to go out and physically fill it. For those of you who experience small water loss like this during your warmer seasons, feel free to let out a sigh of relief, there will be no leak hunting for you today.

Learn To Locate Your Leaks

Alliteration aside, if you are losing more than a few inches a water from your pond in a short time span it is time to sniff out these leaks and seal them up. The best way to find the source of your water loss is to start with the obvious as it may save you the time and trouble of moving the rocks in your pond, or worse, pulling up your plumbing.

Look For Low Edges or Overspill: Inspect the edges of your pond, waterfall, and stream bed. Make sure there is no water spilling over the edges of these areas and if you have tight turns in your stream make sure the water able to follow the curve without splashing out. Check for damp areas or pooling water outside of the pond for indications of such leaks. If the water level exceeds the level of your pond liner you will want to adjust the level of the overflow drain in your skimmer to maintain a shallower water body. If you are losing water from the falls or stream bed re-arrange the rocks to remove obstructions and create gentler curves.

Shut Down Your Pump: If your search for the obvious turns out uneventful it is time to check the pond area itself. Shut down your pumps and turn off your auto fill valve if you have one. If you experience significant water loss from the pond then you have now successfully narrowed the search for the leak. If you have fish in your pond you will want to run an alternate form of Aeration while your system is shut down as the process can take a day or two. If the leak is in the side of the pond liner the water level will drop to the height of the cut in your liner and stop. If the leak is in the bottom of the pond the pond will eventually empty out so make sure you are periodically checking in on your project.

Inspect Your Skimmer and Plumbing: If the water is successfully being held in the pond with the pump off the leak my be in the Skimmer Box or the plumbing itself. Inspect the skimmer box and try to locate a crack or hole. Inspect and tighten the fittings going from the skimmer box or pump to the Waterfall Box. Follow the tubing path and look for any water dampness in the ground. If there is, there’s a good chance coupler fittings are loose or you have a leak in the tubing.

Got Milk?

For the areas that make sense, you can use milk or Pond Shade and an eye dropper to visually track the flow of the water leaving the pond. Go along the edges of the pond and apply drops to pinpoint the area of the pond where your pond water is making its great escape. Move any rocks or plants in that area and get ready to show this leak whose boss.

Does Your Pond Need To Quit Leaking? Put It On The Patch.

Once you have located the cut in your pond liner clean off any dirt or debris from the general area. If the hole is a small cut or puncture you can use Underwater Pond Sealer to cover the area and stop the leak. You do not have to drain the pond to use this type of sealant as it will cure underwater, just make sure that you apply the product in a bead and do not press it flat. You can use the Underwater Pond Sealer to patch holes in your waterfall box and skimmer as well. For holes up to 5” you can also purchase a Patch Kit. These kits will come with an adhesive patch that attaches directly to your liner after you have cleaned it and made sure it is dry. If you have opened the flood gates and put a puncture larger than 5” in the pond you can purchase additional Pond Liner and some Seam Tape to repair the damage. The use of seam tape will also require you to clean and dry the areas of liner surrounding the hole. After applying Seam Tape, we recommend using Cover Tape to ensure the leak is secure. Regardless of which type of repair you use you will want to overlap the cut, tear, or hole by at least 1” to ensure an adequate seal.

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your water garden? How did you go about fixing it?

Underwater Pond Sealer - Works wet or dry!

Lining Your Pond with a Pond Liner – Pond & Lake Q & A

20 mil PVC Liner Installation in Fenton, MI

Q: I built a home a few years ago and in the process we needed a large amount of fill dirt. Under the recommendation of my builder we decided to dig a pond for the fill dirt. I was told by my excavator that it would take several months for my pond to fill. It is now 3-years later and I have no water! Over the last several years I have tried lining my pond with blue clay and bentonite with no success. I know you sell liners. Will they work for a ½ acre pond? – Rick of Illinois

A: Yes. A pond liner is the only way you can guarantee to have a leak proof seal.

If you would like to explore the possibility of a liner, then you will need to gather a few pieces of information so we can best help you:

1) Existing Water – Many ponds retain some water. We do not recommend lining a pond that contains more than 25% of its fill capacity for any extended period of time. Unless you plan to put at least 2’ of soil on top of the liner or make provisions to drain the water from under the liner.

2) Measure Your Pond – This is best accomplished by using a flexible tape measure (available at Home Depot / Lowes). Stretch the measuring tape from water line to water line allowing the tape to contour to the pond’s bottom. In general, we recommend adding an additional 5′ to 10’ to this number to make up for the liner settling and the anchoring trench.

3) Give us a call 866-766-3435 or click here to visit our website for more information.

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