Protect Your Expensive Pond Liner!

Even The Smallest Puncture Can Wreck Havoc In Your Garden Pond

Pond Liners: Don’t Install Liner Until The Underlayment Has Been Laid

Simply put, the underlayment serves as an important protective barrier for your pond liner. An underlayment is installed after you’ve dug out your pond and before you lay the liner. Its primary purpose is to prevent any punctures that may occur from rough or rocky ground, or even errant tree roots. It should also allow the ground to breathe from underneath.

If You Wish To Use Recycled (FREE) Materials

Many options are available to those of us who are DIY water garden hobbyists. Recycled materials that have been used with success range from very thick padding made from newspapers, carpet, or carpet padding.

NOTE: Make sure to remove all staples from carpet or carpet padding. These staples can cause punctures pond liners.

Some people use sand on the pond’s bottom, and then use the above mentioned materials for the walls. No matter what material you decide to use, make sure to thickly pad the pond walls and bottom. Don’t neglect this important piece of advice. Remember … you are utilizing the underlayment as a barrier against anything in the ground that might cause a tear or puncture to your (expensive) pond liner.

I got a very ample supply of used (and free) carpet padding from a local carpet installation company. They were happy to allow me to take what I needed. I lined my pond with one thickness. A word of caution: don’t stab your fingers with rusted, very sharp carpet staples that are sticking out of used padding!

I could have used newspaper instead by raiding the recycling bin at our local dump, but opted for the carpet padding. To be honest, it probably is much easier to line the vertical walls of your pond with rather stiff pieces of carpet or padding, rather than many sections of newspaper.

Geotextile Fabric

Professional installers and many hobbyists will use a special non-woven fabric for pond liner underlayment. This fabric is referred to as “geotextile”. Basically, this means it is a permeable fabric which is meant to be used in association with soil.

To my knowledge, this pond underlayment fabric comes in two widths, and a maximum of 300ft in length per roll. However, most places only carry the 15ft width. Geotextile fabric is lightweight, affordable and readily available.

How to Place The Underlayment

Don’t Be Skimpy With It and Make Sure To Overlap Any Seams

Installing the Underlayment

No matter what you choose to use for your pond liner’s protection, make sure you use enough underlayment so that when you lay your liner, it will NOT come into contact with the ground. Make sure to overlap pieces where needed. You do not have to worry about seaming or connecting of the underlayment. Just make sure there is no soil showing wherever the liner is going to be placed.

Don’t Worry About Underlayment For A Stream Bed

Most professionals rarely install underlayment in a stream bed. This is because most streams are very shallow. The stream itself does not put a lot of pressure on the liner like the hundreds or thousands of gallons of water in the pond does, or the weight of tons of stone installed around the pond.

Without this kind of pressure on the liner, the chance of preventing gases from escaping from the earth or having rough soil puncturing our stream liner is, for the most part eliminated. But it’s up to you whether or not you feel it wise to use an underlayment in your stream bed.

That’s about all there is to know about protecting pond liners. I hope this information has convinced you to NOT SKIP this most important garden pond building step.


  1. Braden Bills says:

    I’m trying to come up with a good way to get a pond put in my back yard. It makes sense that I would want to have a pond liner! That would keep the water from flowing out. I’ll make sure that I take good care of it!

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