So you are planning to build a pond in your garden but you need a little advice on which is the best flexible pond liner to use.
It’s a big project building a garden pond, you work out where it should be sited and you want to start digging.
But before you even start digging you have to have a plan on how to hold all the water in your pond when you fill it, this is were a flexible pond liner comes into it’s own.
A pond liner is a waterproof material that has one job, to keep the water in your pond, without a liner the water would just seep away into the ground.
A flexible pond liner gives you the freedom to build a pond any size, shape and depth, this allows you to tailor make the pond of your dreams without having to compromise.
Over the year’s technology has advanced and the flexible pond liner is now the preferred choice of many pond builders and owners.
Types of material used for pond liners.
There are a lot of pond liners available on the market, they vary in price and quality, but are they all up to the job.
LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) pond liner.
These are usually the cheapest pond liners to buy, but they do have a lot going for them.
LDPE liners are made up of very tightly woven fibres sandwiched between layers of UV resistant coatings which not only strengthens the liner but gives long-term outdoor use.
They are very flexible and lightweight, perfect for getting into corners and tricky shapes, but they do not stretch.
The LDPE liner is tear proof so if you get a small puncture it’s not going to get any bigger and cause major problems in the future.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pond liner.
These are usually a little bit more expensive than the LPDE pond liners to buy, there’re a good option for the small to medium-sized ponds if you are on a budget.
PVC pond liners are typically about 0.5mm thick, this makes them flexible and easy to mould to the shape of the pond, great if you have tight corners and shelves to cover.
Although PVC liners are a little stretchy the downside is there’re not tearproof and can be hard to repair if punctured. If they are punctured the hole could get larger as it tears open.
EPDM Rubber (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) pond liner.
For a long time rubber pond liners have been the choice for pond builders, both commercial and back garden hobbyist.
EPDM is a synthetic alternative to Butyl liners, it has the same if not better characteristics but a lot cheaper.
Even though they are cheaper than Butyl, EPDM liners are not the cheapest pond liner to buy, but the quality speaks for itself.
Being 1mm thick they are made to last, this type of liner is more puncture resistant but being heavier they are harder to get into position and getting into all the areas of your pond.
If you are unlucky and get a puncture thats not a problem, EDPM is easy to repair, it’s just like fixing a puncture on a bikes inner tube.
Butyl pond liner.
Butyl pond liners have been used for building ponds for over 40 years, but they are the most expensive pond liner to buy.
Being 0.75mm thick they are a bit easier to fit than the EPDM liners and being stretchy they are less prone to punctures because they will stretch before they break.
Butyl liners can be fabricated into a variety of sized sheets, it can also be shaped into box-welded pond liners for vertically shaped designs.
A selection of the best flexible pond liners to buy.
Oase Alfafol PVC pond liner.
The Oase Alfafol PVC Liner is made from thick PVC in either 0.5mm or 1mm thick, the 0.5mm thickness comes with a 30-year guarantee, and 1mm thickness comes with a lifetime guarantee as long it’s used with the Polyfibrelay or Permalay underlay.
This flexible PVC liner is easy to work with making it ideal to shape it to your pond, perfect if you have tight corners or shelves.
It can be welded or bonded, a repair kit is available if you need to do a small repair.
It’s rot-proof with a smooth finish for easy cleaning, it’s also UV stabalised for longer life.
Flexiliner LDPE pond liner.
The Flexiliner LDPE pond liner is good value for money compared to other pond liners.
The tightly woven construction give it a tear proof property that makes it almost impossible to tear.
The Flexiliner LDPE is light to work with and highly flexible that makes it easy to fold into difficult corners and mould to the shape of your pond.
A good value liner that has become the pond liner of choice for many pond builders.
PondKraft Polyex pond liner.
PondKraft Polyex Pond Liners have been developed over 20 years exlusively for Bradshaws, improving on the original pond liner fabric to produce this a top quality liner for your pond.
They have a woven inner core that is sandwiched between two outer layers, the outer layers are rot resistant and UV stabilised.
Very strong and flexible, so fitting into complex ponds and getting into corners should be a simple job.
Unusually the liner has a reversible finish in either black or brown and comes in a huge range of pre-cut sizes.
Available with a 25 year guarantee or a lifetime guarantee and you get free underlay if you opt for the lifetime guarantee.
PondKraft Polyex Pond Liners are exlusive to bradshawsdirect.co.uk you can see the prices of the 25 year gurantee liners here and the lifetime guarantee liners with free underlay here theres also a good selection on amazon.co.uk
Firestone EPDM Pond Liner.
At 1mm thick, this is the thickest pond liner we’ve looked at, made from EPDM rubber it’s puncture resistant and stronger than Butyl.
It’s less flexible than most other liners and can be a bit more cumbersome to fit, but with a bit of manipulating you can get a good fit.
Although it only has a 20-year limited manufacturer warranty their life expectancy is about 75 years.
The Firestone EPDM pond liner is the one to choose if your budget will allow, it’s a heavy-duty liner that you can rely on for years to come.
If you buy a Firestone pond liner from pondkeeper you can get a 1/2 price fleece.
You can check out the sizes and prices at pondkeeper.co.uk
Butyl pond liner.
Butyl rubber pond liners have always had the reputation for being the best pond liners available.
These liners are 0.75 thick which makes them a bit more flexible than EPDM which should be easier to mold to your garden pond.
They are made from genuine Swedish Butyl, that makes them strong, stretchy and highly resistant to punctures.
A lifetime guarantee is offered if installed with Polyfibrelay or Permalay underlay.
They have lost out a bit to EPDM liners over the years because of the price differance, but they are still a top quality pool liner.
Can be bought in pre-cut sizes or can be custom-made, just put your size into the boxes and it works out the price and the price gets cheaper the more you buy.
Check out the prices on bradshawsdirect.co.uk
How to calculate how much pond liner you will need.
When calculating how much pond liner you will need for your garden pond there are two ways to work it out.
The first way is to dig out the pond first and take accurate measurements.
The second way is to work out on paper how big your pond is going to be and use these measurements to work out how much liner to buy.
If you are doing it this way you should consider buying more than you think you will need just incase you end up digging a bigger pond than you thought.
Both ways work with a little bit of maths, all you need is the length, width and depth of the pond to calculate the size of the liner required.
These calculations can be done in metres or feet and inches.
To work out the length: take the length of the pond and add the depth of the pond x 2, you then add an overlap x 2 (allow 1mtr/3ft for an overlap), so if you had a 4 metre pond which is 1 metre deep the calculations would look like this: 4 + 2 (2 x the depth) = 6 + 2 (2 x the overlap) = A total length required of 8mtrs.
To work out the width you do the same calculation as the length: so if the width was 3mtrs the calculations would look like this: 3 + 2 =5 + 2 = 7. So a 4 x 3 x 1 metres deep pond would need a pond liner size of 8 metres x 7 metres.
Do you need an underlay for pond liners.
For extra protection we strongly recommend using an underlay underneath your pond liner.
It helps to prevent small stones or or sharp items in the soil puncturing the liner and helps with root penetration.
If you are lining your pond with rocks and gravel an underlay should be placed over the liner to protect it before placing the rocks and gravel into the pond.
The amount of underlay you would need to buy is the same as the amount of liner you buy.
pondkeeper.co.uk have two underlays to choose from depending on your budget. One is a best quality and the other is a basic quality.
Pond liner buying guide.
So if you have decided to build a garden pond you need to get the basics right, getting the liner right is very important, get this right and you will enjoy years of enjoyment not trouble.
When looking for a pond liner you want something that is light and flexible but also tough and durable.
You have done all the hard work of digging out the pond. now you need a liner that you can shape into the hole you have dug.
A flexible pond liners is the perfect material to get the shape you want for your main pond as well as other water features like waterfalls and streams.
To protect the pond liner from stones and roots you should always use an underlay.
Durability is an important factor when choosing a pond liner and most are tough enough to last for many years without a problem.
The majority of liners are UV stabalised but check when buying to make sure.
It’s worth buying a little more liner than you think you need, its easy to cut to size if you have too much but its harder to add extra liner if it’s too small.
Preparation of the ground is so important when installing a liner, remove all sharp stones and debris before adding an underlay and then the liner, manipulate it into all the corners and shelves to get as near as you can a smooth neat finish.
All the liners we have talked about in this article are flexible but some are easier to install than others and some are stronger than others.
Which one you choose is down to you and your budget, but our favourite would be the EPDM rubber liner, it’s strong, durable and thick, it is a bit heavy and a little harder to fit, but worth the extra effort to have peace of mind for years to come.