how to choose the right pond liner?

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Choose the right pond liner for your project is a crucial decision which will dictate how easy/difficult it will be to create the correct effect.

how to choose the right pond liner

For most purposes a flexible liner of one sort or another is ideal, although there are situations where a rigid liner may be more appropriate. The natural look of the pond pictured above was created using a flexible PVC liner.

Points to consider when choosing the right pond liner:

Cost
Shape
Effect
Conditions
Lifetime.
Flexible liners.

These are by far the most popular choice for most small to medium/ large ponds. They are generally:

– Cheap
– Widely available
– Easily transported
– Suitable for any shape pond
– Easy to install
– Wide choice of types and prices
– Need no maintenance
Are easily ‘hidden’

These are all important points which combine to make this the most popular choice in most cases. There are many different proprietary names but the liners can be classified, for simplicity into three main classes:

Standard polypropylene
This is generally black, very flexible and about 0.5 mm. thick and usually guaranteed for 20 years. Although prices vary this pond liner is widely available on the Internet at around £2.00 per square meter. (approx 11 square feet).

Deluxe polypropylene
This is usually black and about 0.75 mm. thick. It often carries a lifetime guarantee and represents a compromise between the cheapest polypropylene liner and the more robust and expensive butty rubber pond liners. It can be found at around £3 per square meter.

Butty Rubber
This pond liner is generally black and about 1 mm. thick. It carries a lifetime guarantee and maintains flexibility and ease of installation while providing a strong and robust pond liner with very good damage resistance. It can be found at around £4 per square meter.

If price is not a major consideration then obviously rubber is the best choice. However I have installed a great many of each quality of flexible liner and have encountered no problems with any of them. An important consideration is that, as you are almost certainly going to try to hide the liner and that all will fulfill the same function i.e. keep the water in the pond, any extra expenditure may not be justified. During installation the more robust ones are less likely to be damaged, although with careful preparation this should never happen. The more robust flexible liners are also more damage resistant during routine pond maintenance.

Rigid liners
Although under most conditions a flexible liner is an ideal choice a rigid liner may sometimes be more suitable. Rigid varieties are:
– Ideal for nice or non DIY person.
– Simple to install.
– Easy to clean.
– Many sizes, shapes and colors.
– Extremely robust and leak or damage resistant.
– Good for raised ponds.

Rigid liners of appreciable size are, however, extremely expensive compared to a similar sized flexible alternative. Flexible does not only mean flexible in the physical sense of the word, they are also flexible with respect to water garden design, shape and size of pond, location and required effect or feel. They are certainly the ideal solution for an informal or wildlife water feature.