Having a pond in your backyard is one of those additions that really jazzes the place up. You can add fish, wildlife love it, and the sound of running water will relax the most stressed out folks among us.
To make your pond stress-free, you’re going to have to decide what the best pond liner for your backyard oasis is. There are so many different choices out there. Are you going with a preformed hard shell or a flexible pond liner? Once you’ve decided that, what material are you going to choose?
Well, luckily for you, we can help with that. Below you will find our top 5 picks for pond liners on the market today. We’ll cover a range of styles and options so you can choose whatever fits your own future pond. Jazzing up your space is a breeze when you have Backyard Boss on your side.
|Firestone PondGard||Check The Price!|
|TotalPond Pond Liner||Check The Price!|
|Aquascape Rubber Liner||Check The Price!|
|Algreen Avonlea Preformed Pond||Check The Price!|
|Aquascape Patio Pond||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
I remember as a youngster going through a phase of being obsessed with making ponds. Much to my parents dismay, they had glorified puddles all over their yard one day when they got home from work. Needless to say, those puddles didn’t hold water for long.
It was only when we moved to a new house with an old pond that my dad showed me the vital piece of equipment that I had been neglecting — the liner. To me, it looked like a big piece of black plastic. Whether it was an actual pond liner or just an old tarpaulin, I’ll never know. What I do know is that the pond held water and we spent many happy afternoons in its company.
Fast forward to today where the options at your disposal are many and varied. Backyard Boss strives to help you make informed decisions before you buy a product and this is exactly what the following post will do. Come along for the ride and find out what pond liner is best for you.
Best Flexible Liner
Why We Like It: Thick, heavy, and durable. What else do you want from your pond liner? Their highly tear and puncture resistant material is backed by a 20 year guarantee and an expected life span of 75 years. Now that’s longevity. This brand also makes a similar product for roofing material, although using roofing material to line your pond isn’t recommended. There’s an important difference between pond liner and rubber roofing that’s mentioned by the manufacturer.
Who Should Buy It: For those looking for a heavy duty, durable pond liner and are prepared to pay for it, have a look at this product. It’s not cheap, but it also doesn’t skimp on quality and durability. You get what you pay for.
Best For Koi Ponds
Why We Like It: The engineers of this product managed to design a liner that’s 30% lighter than other liners of similar thickness. This makes it a whole lot easier to handle and install. The polyester weave sandwiched between the two layers of PVC ensures that what you lose in weight you don’t lose in quality.
This liner comes in various sizes and has a textured surface to help beneficial bacteria to thrive. This means that your fish will have a healthy environment to thrive in if you decide to include them.
Who Should Buy It: If your pond is a DIY project, you might consider using this liner due to the ease with which you can handle it. A 30% reduction in weight is a big deal when you’re the one dragging it around.
Best For Waterfall / Heavy Duty
Why We Like It: When looking for heavy duty, look at what the pros are using. This liner is 45mm thick, which is a whole lot thicker than most pond liners. This means that if you want a waterfall in your pond, or if you need a heavy duty liner for whatever reason, this is the liner to go for. You’re also going to need the best pond pump to keep that waterfall flowing.
Who Should Buy It: If you want a waterfall in your pond, then you need a liner that will be up to the challenge. You need something heavy duty, just like this pond liner. Backed by a 20 year guarantee, this is the choice for you if you want to forget about pond liners and enjoy your pond for years to come.
Best For Small Ponds
Why We Like It: This small preformed pond is almost a complete pond in a box. All you need to do is dig a hole, drop the shell in, and you have a pond. Although this product is fish safe, it looks a bit small for a fish pond to me. It would be a perfect water source for wild critters and birds in your yard. And I’m sure one or two little fish would find it cosy enough.
Who Should Buy It: If you’re short on space, but you dream of having a pond, then this preformed shell may be just what you need. At 33 gallons, it’s a great starter pond to introduce yourself to the wonderful world of backyard ponds.
Best Preformed / Hard Shell
Why We Like It: A pond on your patio? Why not? This realistic looking product means you can enjoy having a pond without having to dig a hole. Leave the shovel in the shed and enjoy the benefits of a pond without breaking your back. When empty, this pond is lightweight and easy to move around. The fibreglass resin composite material ages like real stone and they have three sizes available to fit your space.
Who Should Buy It: If you want the tranquility of a pond but don’t like the idea of digging a huge hole, here’s a solution for you. This pond can even be installed indoors for added tranquility and ambience.
What Does A Pond Liner Do?
In a nutshell, a pond liner keeps water where you want. It’s an impermeable membrane used to line the bottom and sides of your pond so that the water doesn’t soak away.
Not all ponds need liners. Shallow ponds, for instance, may not need a liner because the water isn’t heavy enough to penetrate the soil. This is especially true if your substrate has high levels of clay or silt, which tend to seal together.
Not having a pond liner is risky though. Besides keeping the water where you want it, they have other benefits too. They help to prevent soil and other debris from entering your pond from the substrate. This means your pond stays cleaner for longer and you’ll have less of a fight against murky water. It also helps to have the best pond filter for your situation to keep your water clean.
Many pond liners have a textured surface which is a great place for beneficial bacteria to grow and thrive. This leaves you with a balanced ecosystem in your pond which is healthy for fish and plants alike.
For these reasons, only materials that meet certain criteria will work as a pond liner. It goes without saying that it needs to be waterproof. Other than that, it needs to be durable, somewhat puncture resistant and contain no toxic chemicals because this will poison your fish and plants alike.
I’ve seen some strange suggestions on the depths of the internet suggesting old carpet as a pond liner. Don’t do this. Carpet isn’t waterproof, it’s not easily repairable, and the microplastics used to manufacture most carpets won’t be good for the wildlife in your pond. That’s if you even get it to hold water in the first place.
Preformed vs Flexible Pond Liners
Preformed pond liners, also called hard shell liners, are a preformed mould usually made from plastic. They are highly puncture resistant and the shape of the pond is decided for you.
They seem to lend themselves to smaller ponds or first time pond enthusiasts. This might be because they are easier to install than their flexible counterparts. They have their drawbacks though.
The hole that they are installed in has to be the exact same shape of the shell. Any gaps or air pockets behind the shell will lead to problems. It will be a weak point in your pond and will likely crack under the weight of the water.
They are also tricky, and potentially expensive, to transport due to their irregular shape and bulky size. Customizing the shape of your preformed pond is not easily done and for the most part you’re at the mercy of the pond designer’s whims.
Flexible pond liners come in large, heavy rolls. They are most often made from a blend of synthetic rubbers, known as EPDM, or PVC. You roll it out and line the bottom of your future pond with this flexible membrane.
Since it comes in a large roll of various sizes, your pond can be whatever shape or size your heart desires. You can even join this stuff together if you have a huge pond that needs lining. It’s easier to transport than preformed shells, but they are still heavy pieces of equipment.
With all that being said, there are some cons to flexible pond liners. Due to their flexible nature, they are susceptible to punctures and tears; especially during installation. This means adding a layer of soft underlay material underneath the liner is necessary in order to ensure a hole-free pond.
How To Choose The Best Pond Liner For Your Backyard
If you’re looking for a quick, small, hassle-free pond, then a preformed shell could be just what you need. Remember that this isn’t recommended for larger ponds. For first time pond owners, it can be convenient to just go to the hardware store and come back with a pond.
You can have a preformed pond on your patio, or even indoors if you’re that way inclined. If you’re going this route, make sure that the shell is made of a very strong material such as fibreglass, resin, or a composite of the two.
Using a plastic hard shell as a free-standing pond is risky in my book. Plastic can be brittle, especially if exposed to UV rays for any length of time. Add the weight of water to that equation, and you have a flood waiting to happen.
Preformed ponds made from hard plastic will crack if not installed correctly. This is why preformed shells aren’t recommended for larger ponds because the weight of all that water could crack the plastic and your pond will spring a leak.
If you’re planning to build a large pond, then a flexible pond liner is the best choice for you. It will take some extra work to install, but that extra time upfront will save you time and money in the long run.
Flexible liners are made from a material called EPDM. This is a durable blend of rubbers that is also used for roofing material. Some liners are made out of PVC to reduce the weight and bulkiness of the material. There is talk of PVC being inferior in quality and performance compared to EPDM, but this argument hasn’t reached a conclusion yet.
With a flexible liner you also have the freedom to choose whatever shape and size pond you can dream of. So if you have a particular corner of your yard that requires a custom shaped pond, a flexible liner is the way to go.
It’s also worth noting that flexible liners can be patched if you notice a pinhole leak somewhere. Preformed shells, depending on the material, are not so easily patched.
How We Picked
Material: A pond liner is only as strong as the material with which it’s made. Most of the liners above are made from industry leading EPDM. The only PVC option we included has polyester reinforcements. The preformed options are made from sturdy, rigid materials.
Plant/Fish safe: Ponds can be an amazing hub of life in your backyard. Only if your liner is non-toxic, that is. All the liners above are certified plant and fish safe.
Size: Not all ponds are made equal. We included a range of sizes above, as well as products that come in a bunch of different sizes. That way you’re sure to find what you need.
After All’s Said And Done
Our top pick is none other than the Firestone PondGard. This 45mm thick EPDM liner is so durable it might even outlast you! With a life expectancy of 75 years, peace of mind comes free with your purchase. This product is an industry leader for a reason.
45 mm EPDM is the choice for pond professionals and contractors alike thanks to its durability and ease of installation. Add to that the fish friendly characteristics of this liner and you have all you need for a pond that will last decades.