Time for pond v2

I've posted about my pond troubles a few times this year, and I've determined that I need to do something drastic.

This thing is a mess right now, something I don't want to even look at. When in good shape it's probably the most enjoyable part of my garden, but right now...


I got to the point a couple of weeks ago (before vacation) when I seriously considered just filling the whole thing in. Luckily it's winter so no action could be taken, and I've come up with another plan.

First though, let's review the issues here.

Number one is the liner. Now that raccoons have ripped it in a couple of places near the edge, the water level is too low:

To fix this I'll need to redo the entire edge, moving all of the rocks, leveling things. A lot of work.

Second, the sides of the hole* are too slanted (not vertical enough), I left a "ledge" around a portion of the bottom, and my idea of having a shallow "beach" area turned out to be a terrible one.

This low spot lets too much debris into the pond, especially since...

...it's on the uphill side. Heavy spring rains drain right into the pond, carrying so much mud.

Definitely contributed to my water quality issues this year.

The pond is also a bit larger than I can handle. Getting the netting over it in the autumn is much more of a challenge than it should be. This year I had to skip it due to busy schedule...

...which has almost definitely killed the fish. I'm sad about that, but there was a lot of stress and danger coming in their future (especially if I decided to fill the pond in!)

So I've come up with a new plan. It involves a lot of work, but should be a long-lasting solution. It involves removing the rubber liner, and replacing it with a plastic stock tank!

Something like this:

There are many choices in the 8' (2.4m) diameter size (about 600 gallons), including colors like green or dark grey. A few 9' (2.7m) options are available too (1000 gallons), but that may be too big. Heck, 8' may be too big to get into my back garden, and there are other considerations too, like cost.

I think this will be my best option though. More durable than the liner by far, smaller (the current pond is about 10'x12', but not uniform depth), and it will have an edge of uniform height that will keep the hill runoff out.

Good thing I have a couple of months before I can do anything -- gives me time to think it through more.

*Here's a photo of the original hole just before the liner went in if you want to see what's happening under there.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be welcome!


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outlawgardener  – (January 23, 2017 at 9:09 AM)  

I've wondered about using other things as pond liners but have never tried it myself.

Renee  – (January 23, 2017 at 9:57 PM)  

That does sound like a lot of work, but it should be really nice at the end? My parents installed a multi-depth pool liner years ago, and it held up at least until we moved. Sorry about the fish :(

Lisa  – (January 24, 2017 at 5:54 AM)  

The biggest issue with preformed liners of any kind is they have to be absolutely stable and allow for zero settling, or you will have cracking issues later. That's nearly impossible in a climate that has freezing and thawing. A deep bed of sand will sometimes do the trick, but then you can have level problems. Some people use galvanized steel stock tanks, which are also kind of cool looking, but there is question about keeping fish in those due to leeching of metal in the water. Mostly those are designed as plants only - but you know what a tub of water with no fish in the Midwest means - hello mosquito nursery! All in all an EPDM liner is so much more forgiving.

What if you re-use your current liner, reduce the size a bit, build up the low edge (which is also allowing wildlife into your pond unobstructed) and rock it to protect the liner from damage in the future? Did you use 45 mil liner? I'm still puzzled why raccoons would rip at it. Could that actually be deer hoof damage?

Alan  – (January 24, 2017 at 4:15 PM)  

Lisa: good points! I was thinking that plastic stock tanks would be sturdy enough not to crack no matter what, but unless I can find somebody who has done this in a cold climate without issue, it's worth a second thought. Perhaps reusing the existing liner IS the best idea. A few more months to consider... Thank you!

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