Have you ever looked at beautiful pictures of crystal clear ponds in a gardening magazine, or seen an amazing water feature in your neighbor’s backyard? If you’re reading this article, it’s safe to say that it inspired you to create your own pond. However, before you buy a weed razer, a pond vacuum, an aerator pump, and your favorite fish, one item is crucial to the whole installation process. Let’s talk about pond liners!

Both natural and human-made ponds experience a water loss. A pond liner is an impermeable membrane you’re going to use to minimize that loss, as it helps with liquid retention. If you’re new to this topic, choosing a liner for the pond of your dreams may be quite challenging, and the vast number of options available on the market can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry! Here’s everything you need to know when you’re looking for the right pond liner:

Consider Your Options

If you want to have a beautiful pond in your garden, you can choose between these two types of liners:

Preformed Pond Liner (Shell)

Shell liners are made from plastic in a preformed mold, which gives them a specific shape. If you’re installing your first pond and trying to see how things will turn out, it might be the best option.

Preformed pond liners have their advantages and drawbacks. Good quality plastic used to manufacture these liners makes them strong, durable, and puncture-resistant. What’s more, they’re simple to install, and they’re ideal if you want to have a smaller water feature. Before installing it, you’ll see the exact shape you’re going to have, and it’s not going to change. If you want to keep things simple, this one’s the right for you. You should also pay less for the installation and the liner itself.

However, keep in mind that preformed liners have some disadvantages, too. The number of designs is limited, and most retailers are going to present similar models. Shell liners are also not the right choice if you want to have a big pond. Then again, if you’re going to have a larger water feature lined with a hard shell, it may be difficult to transport and deliver. Preformed liners also have a limited number of planting shelves. These are crucial if you want to grow some aquatic plants – and most likely, you will. The majority of hard shell liners have only one or two shelves. Thus, making a “natural” pond will be impossible.

Typical Pond Liner (Flexible)

Flexible pond liners are made from a soft, elastic material that can be rolled or folded up. As such, they give you almost endless design possibilities, allowing you to come up with a pond of your dreams. Professionals and serious pond enthusiasts prefer flexible pond liners over hard shell ones due to their freedom of choice.

Just like preformed pond liners, flexible liners have both advantages and disadvantages. First, let’s take a look at what makes them so popular, besides limitless design possibilities.

Flexible pond liners are easier to transport, as they can be simply rolled up so they won’t take much space. Pond enthusiasts also use them to create large ponds by joining the pieces together. Typical liners are also adaptable – you can easily create as many plant shelves as you need and adjust the liner to the type of terrain you work with. If you aim for a naturally-looking, larger pond, a flexible liner might be the best for you.

On the other hand, flexible liners are very heavy. Even though they fold easily, the membrane has to be strong enough to prevent leaking. As such, low-quality liners may not serve their function well, and if they’re installed incorrectly, the damage can be irreversible. The installation process itself is more complicated than in the case of hard shell liners. Experts also recommend installing them with an underlayment material to prevent punctures and permeability.

Think of Other Factors

Now you know what the most popular types of pond liners are. Before you make your decision, consider taking into account the following aspects:

  • Low permeability. That’s the primary purpose of the whole venture! Choose a pond liner made from a material that’s difficult to penetrate, as specified by producers.
  • Durability. Unless a pond is your short-term project, you should choose a liner that will last for years and have a strong structure, able to support large amounts of water. It also has to withstand various environmental conditions.
  • Terrain. The site where you want to install your pond dictates the conditions. If the terrain is difficult, hard to work with, and there’s a possibility of running into pipes or other construction items, flexible liners will be better. However, if the ground is more plastic and you don’t have to dig that deep, a preformed liner will do.
  • Price. Unfortunately, with pond liners, you pay for what you get. Here, what’s crucial is the quality of your liner’s material. The ones on the cheaper side may contain toxic chemicals, which can be harmful to your fish, plants, and the environment. Additionally, smaller liners and their installation usually generate lower costs.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, choosing the best pond liner is not an easy task. If you want to make the right decision, there are many factors that you have to take into consideration. However, now you know what should be your main focus and what your options are. Good luck with the installation! Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful garden pond very soon.