Thinking of finally giving your landscape a fresh new look? What can be better than adding a lovely little (or big. Whatever floats your boat) pond teeming with pretty plants and fish, right? But setting up a pond for the first time can be pretty tricky.
Especially if you want to anchor your pond liner to a wooden frame, which is not the most common way of pond liner installation. To attach your pond liner to wood, first lay it over the underlayment, then stretch it evenly before securing it with adhesive. But wait, there’s more.
Come along and I’ll show you how to fix pond liner to the wood properly.
How to fix pond liner to wood: The DIY method
Before I start babbling about how to fix the liner to wood, We need to understand what a pond liner is and what it is used for.
As the name suggests, pond liners are waterproof geosynthetic fabrics meant to prevent water loss. They create a water-tight barrier that keeps the water from seeping through the pond base.
Pond liners are not only great for retaining the water but they also keep the debris out, giving you a clean, beautiful pond. Without a pond liner, you might end up with a swamp instead.
Anyway, like I mentioned, wood is not the most common material for attaching the pond liner. But if your pond has an older design that requires wood to hold loose soil around the margins or if you’ve installed a dock or stacked timbers at the sides for new water features, you’ll have to fix your pond liner to wood.
Now, just because it’s not conventional doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. You can get the task done flawlessly if you choose the right material, follow all of the processes, and know what to do and what not to do.
Choosing the right pond liner
This is the most crucial part. A good pond liner can last for over a decade or two if chosen and installed properly. You need to look out for the right size, price, and material while looking for pond liners of course. But you’ll also need to consider the weather in the area where you’ll install the pond, as well as whether the liner is UV resistant or fish safe.
There are a variety of pond liners made of various materials available on the market right now. The most popular ones are PVC and Rubber pond liners.
PVC pond liners made of the best quality last up to 20 years and can be a good economical choice for a small pond. But they are not always aquatic life safe. They can tear easily and when the water level drops, exposure to the sunlight can make the liner deteriorate.
There are 2 kinds of rubber pond liners. Butyl and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). Butyl is made of natural rubber and seemingly, is the best option for your pond. But they are on the pricier side.
On the other hand, pond liners made of EPDM have nearly equal characteristics as Butyl. EPDM is a newer form of Butyl made of recycled rubber so they are super budget-friendly, all the while being equally durable, tear and UV resistant, fish-friendly, and stretchy.
There are also many options available for the thickness you want for your pond liner. The problem with materials like PVC is they can rip easily. So you do not want to choose one that is on the thinner side. EPDM rubber with a thickness of 45 mils can be the best option for this.
EPDM rubber liners can withstand temperatures ranging from -40 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 to 79 degrees celsius for non-Americans ) and are weatherproof. It is also very flexible so you will have no problem fitting the liner to all the shelves and corners of the pond hole.
Check out my article on the best pond liners review and find the most useful liners for your backyard pond.
Placing the protective underlayment
After choosing the right liner, there’s one more thing you’ll need to do before you attach the pond liner to wood. And that is installing an underlayment.
Underlayment is a thick layer you put before the pond liner, over the soil. It can be anything from commercial underlayments to sand, or old carpets even. It just needs to be rot-proof and at least half an inch thick.
The main job of the underlayment is to provide protection to the pond liner from sharp objects like rock, intrusive roots, or hardened soil at the bottom of the pond. It can add to the longevity of your pond liner and prevent any kind of unwanted, burrowing creatures from entering the pond.
Before laying the underlayment, make sure to pick out all kinds of sharp objects from the ground. Only then, go ahead and put the underlayment over the soil and weigh it down so that it doesn’t move around too much during any sort of ground shift.
I know it adds to the cost but I’ll suggest investing in a good, nontoxic, puncture-resistant underlayment. It certainly will be less expensive than replacing the entire pond liner that has been damaged owing to the lack of protective underlayment.
Installing and Fixing The Pond Liner to Wood
Now we move on to the fun part. Installing the pond liner and attaching it to the wood.
Spread the liner over the pond hole
Get the rolled liner in the middle of the pond. Roll it out along the length of the pond. You can do it on your own or with the help of other people (depending on the size). Next, conform all the corners properly in place by walking on the spread liner.
If you’ve already measured your pond and bought the liner accordingly, then fitting the pond with only one piece of the liner shouldn’t be a problem. But if you fall short halfway, that’s okay too. You can easily join multiple sheets together to cover the entire pond.
Seaming the liner
To seam two sheets together, first put them over a plank or something that’ll provide a flat and smooth surface. You can use scuffing tools to clean the rubber liners but a paper towel and rubbing alcohol (rubbing alcohol evaporates fast and doesn’t retain moisture) would just be fine.
Next, we’re gonna coat them with primer to set off the chemical bonds. Now take some double-sided butyl adhesive pond liner joining tape and join the two sheets together. You can also use a pond liner cover strip just for extra protection so there’s no chance of any leak but that’s not necessary.
Allow the liner to stretch
While spreading the liner over the pond liner, make sure to leave enough room for the liner to extend past the pond’s top, which we’ll temporarily secure with boulders or other heavy objects to keep from sliding. it should be around a foot to a foot and a half away from the pond’s edge.
To let the liner stretch out nice and evenly, add some water to the bottom of your pond. This should be done before securing the liner with adhesive because that will allow you to move around the weights as necessary.
Secure the liner to wood
Now, Apply the adhesive spray to both the wood and the lining (You can now find adhesive especially made for pond liners that stick to all kinds of surfaces in the market). Allow for a couple of minutes for the spray to settle.
Apply pressure to the liner as it is placed over the wood, matching the sticky sides together. You can do this by pressing down on it, with the help of a rolling tool or just reapplying the rocks you used previously.
You can also use attachment bars that hold the liner taut over the wood by suspending it by the edges of the material. This will ensure extra support and even after years of exposure, the liner will not slip or move.
After securing the pond liner to wood, trim away the excess liner and start working on how you want to decorate the edges to hide the liner. If you notice the liner not settling in properly the first time, that’s okay. Because it usually takes some time before the water weighs the liner down properly in place.
And we’re done! Go on and fill up your pond with water, plants, and your beautiful pets to get your dream pond.
How to hide pond liners
- To get that natural look on your pond, you can use natural elements like rocks and ornamental plants, and grass.
- Make a tiny ledge around the border of the pond and place a layer of square or rectangular-shaped rocks around the shelf to hold the liner in place to disguise the liner. You can add the border rocks like flagstones on top of the shelf rocks after they’re in place.
- Build a beach that leads to the deeper parts of the pond using gravel and small rocks. This will attract frogs and birds as it’ll be easier for them to get in and out.
- Using bog plants, flowering ground cover and grass also attracts wildlife like dragonflies to the pond.
Not only does hiding the pond liners make the pond aesthetically pleasing, doing so also lessens the exposure of the liner to the elements and things that possibly can harm them.
Just be careful while putting the rocks or other ornamental objects so as not to rip the liner. But if you do notice a small tear on the liner it can be mended easily.
Speaking of mending, let’s take a look at what maintenance the pond liner needs.
Pond Liner Maintenance
Pond liners require almost no maintenance at all. You don’t even need to clean it because it lets useful algae and bacteria grow on it that promotes a healthy ecosystem. If you buy a cheap PVC liner it may cause excess algae growth. But most of the time if you notice something’s off about your pond, it might be caused by some other factors and not pond liners.
If you notice small holes in the liner, don’t panic. It’s easily fixable with the help of some liner adhesive and tape. Empty the pond, clean and prime the liner around the hole, apply the adhesive, and then put the repair patch and tape and it’s fixed! Didn’t think it’d be that easy, did you? But you’ll need to act fast though before the hole gets any bigger.
Also, to protect the liner around the edge from the claws of birds, raccoons, or other animals, you can put a mesh over it.
Precautions for pond liner
Now that we know all the how-tos and the dos, take a peek at what the don’ts for pond liners are.
- Do not use untreated wood. Untreated wood will eventually rot and weather with the water. So they’ll make a pretty unstable anchor for your liner.
- Don’t forget to aerate the pond. The pond liner can be damaged by freezing, and ice can cause rips and tears. To keep the pond from freezing over, include some aeration features. Proper aeration will help regulate the oxygen level in the pond by constantly churning and keeping the water flowing, inhibiting any ice formation. Lack of aeration will also result in a lack of oxygen for your fish to breathe in.
- Not buying a large enough liner. The pond liner needs to extend well over the top of the pond. It’s better to cut the excess part after anchoring than cutting the liner beforehand and ending up with no room for anchoring. Also, it’s best to use factory welded liners but if you have to join the liners yourself, remember you need to do it precisely to avoid any leakage in the future.
- Failure to secure the edge of the liner. If the overlap is insufficient, the liner won’t attach properly. You’ll end up with an exposed and leaking pond. The weight of the water may even cause the already tight liner to stretch and tear.
- Not using any underlayment. I know I’ve already talked about it but not using any sort of underlayment can seem like a fine proposition. But it’s not. Underlayments are the only things that stay between your liner and the exposed soil. So, if you want your liner to last longer, invest in a good underlayment.
So, et voilà! Now we know all about how to fix pond liner to wood and all the dos and don’ts.
If you want to get the most out of your pond liner, make sure to choose the right material, install and maintain it properly and you’ll get the gorgeous pond of your dream in return.