Best Liner for Your Garden Pond (2019 Buyer’s Guide)

garden pond

A vital part of your pond setup, a liner does much more than keep water from flowing into the ground beneath your pond – it’s also responsible for providing a base for plants to root themselves in and fish to explore.

There are a lot of things to think about when choosing a pond liner, especially if you’re starting a pond from scratch.

Today, we’ll take a detailed look at everything you need to consider when choosing the best pond liner for your outdoor aquascape and review five of the best pond liners for any type of fish, weather, and pond size.

Preview
Beckett Corporation Pond Liner Pre Cut PVC, 8 by 10-Feet
Gordon Low Greenseal EPDM Rubber Pond Liner 9' 9'' x 13' 1''
Best Pick
Firestone W56PL451015 EPDM Rubber Pond Liner, 10-Foot Length x 15-Foot Width x 0.045-Inch Thick
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Impermeable Membrane Fish Pond Liners Reinforced HDPE for Garden Pools Landscaping - Raw Materials Plastics - (#1) - 1x Fish Pond Liners
Product
Beckett PVC Liner (Budget Option)
Greenseal Pond Liner
Firestone Liner
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
HDPE Pond Liner
Material
PVC
EDPM
EDPM
Plastic
HDPE
Thickness
0.5mm
2mm
1.1mm
-
0.12mm
Warranty
None
15 Years
25 Years
None
None
Prime
-
-
Preview
Beckett Corporation Pond Liner Pre Cut PVC, 8 by 10-Feet
Product
Beckett PVC Liner (Budget Option)
Material
PVC
Thickness
0.5mm
Warranty
None
Prime
Preview
Gordon Low Greenseal EPDM Rubber Pond Liner 9' 9'' x 13' 1''
Product
Greenseal Pond Liner
Material
EDPM
Thickness
2mm
Warranty
15 Years
Prime
-
Best Pick
Preview
Firestone W56PL451015 EPDM Rubber Pond Liner, 10-Foot Length x 15-Foot Width x 0.045-Inch Thick
Product
Firestone Liner
Material
EDPM
Thickness
1.1mm
Warranty
25 Years
Prime
Preview
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Product
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Material
Plastic
Thickness
-
Warranty
None
Prime
Preview
Impermeable Membrane Fish Pond Liners Reinforced HDPE for Garden Pools Landscaping - Raw Materials Plastics - (#1) - 1x Fish Pond Liners
Product
HDPE Pond Liner
Material
HDPE
Thickness
0.12mm
Warranty
None
Prime
-

What’s the Purpose of a Pond Liner?

The most important function of a pond liner is to keep water from leaking out of your pond. Unless you dig your pond in very clay-rich soil, water will slowly seep out of your pond and into the surrounding ground without a liner.

In turn, you’d be forced to refill your pond every few days or even more frequently, which would be time consuming and cause a major disturbance for your fish.

Even if you do have a clay-rich soil, it is typically worth using a pond liner. Even clay will absorb water, so you’ll still experience a slow leak of water out of your pond.

Beyond sealing in water, pond liners also offer a few advantages for your pond’s plants. Pond liners can serve as substrates for plants to anchor onto, or as a base onto which you can layer additional substrate.

What to Consider Before Buying a Pond Liner

When it comes to choosing a liner for a new or existing pond, you have a lot of choices in style, material, and design.

To help you decide which liner is best for your pond, we’ll take a look the factors that differentiate pond liners and make some styles of liners better for certain ponds.

Flexible vs. Preformed vs. Concrete Floor

The first choice you need to make is whether you want a flexible or preformed liner, or a concrete floor for your pond.

Flexible liners are the simplest and least expensive types of pond liners. In essence, flexible liners are a piece of liner material that can be custom cut to your ponds dimensions and fitted into any shape you desire.

That’s a major advantage if you’re building a pond that integrates with the landscape of your yard or has an unusual shape. Plus, flexible liners can easily be modified later if you want to expand or contract your pond in the future.

However, flexible liners take the most work to get right. You’ll need to be careful about measuring and cutting your liner so that it covers your entire pond with no extra material. If you end up short, you’ll need to either fill in some of your pond or start over.

Preformed liners are the simplest solution for lining your pond. Preformed liners are typically made of a hardened plastic or rubber material, so the shape of the liner is the shape of your pond.

When digging the hole for your pond, there’s no need to get the dimensions exactly right – as long as your preformed liner fits, you can back-fill around the liner to finish the installation.

In addition, while preformed liners are more expensive per square foot than flexible liners, they’re still relatively inexpensive. Given that and their simplicity, preformed liners are an excellent choice for first-time pond owners.

The main downside to preformed liners is that you’re limited to the shapes available on the market, which usually are lacking in imagination. Many pond owners find themselves switching to flexible liners as they gain experience so that they can construct a larger, more elaborate pond design.

If you want a pond liner that will last for decades without needing replacement, you should consider a concrete floor. Both preformed and flexible liners need to be replaced every few years, but concrete can last a lifetime without cracking or leaking water.

However, concrete liners have largely fallen out of favor because of their high cost. Pouring concrete is time consuming and difficult to get right, and the concrete mix itself typically costs more than flexible or preformed liners.

While you can hire a professional to build your concrete pond, this service is typically quite expensive.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Materials

If you’re choosing a preformed or flexible liner, you also need to consider what type of material that liner is made out of.

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different liner materials is an important part of choosing the right liner for your pond.

EDPM Liner

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EDPM) is an extremely common material used for flexible pond liners because it is inexpensive and very effective.

EDPM is a rubber-like material that folds easily around corners, helping you to create highly unique pond shapes.

On top of that, sheets of EDPM can be adhered to each other with liner tape, allowing you to cut multiple sheets during the installation process.

That means less worry when measuring cuts, as well as that you can expand your pond later by simply adding another EDPM sheet to your existing liner.

The main downsides to EDPM are that the material is relatively heavy and not all that resistant to punctures compared to other flexible liner materials.

Because of these concerns, ponds lined with EDPM liners typically require an underlay and EDPM sheets can be difficult to ship directly to your house.

PVC Liner

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liners are the least expensive option when it comes to flexible pond liners.

They’re not quite as heavy as EDPM liners and offer slightly more resistance to punctures. Plus, PVC liners are relatively flexible and you can use liner tape to seal together multiple sheets to fit your pond’s shape.

However, there are some important disadvantages to PVC liners that make them relatively rare in ponds. First, PVC liners often contain trace amounts of arsenic and other chemicals that are toxic to fish as a result of the manufacturing process.

Second, PVC is relatively prone to cracking if it’s exposed to colder weather or to direct sunlight, so you’ll want to cover it with at least a foot of soil. If it does crack, the liner will allow water to leak from your pond into the surrounding soil.

Sale

HDPE Liner

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners, also known as reinforced polyethylene liners, are one of the best choices for flexible pond liners.

They offer even better puncture resistance than either EDPM or PVC, while weighing roughly one-third as much and being half as thick. That makes them easy to ship, install, and conform to your pond no matter what shape you’re building.

In addition, HDPE sheets can be welded together with a heat gun, which makes for a more stable joining than liner tape.

Better yet, HDPE liners are strong enough that they typically don’t require you to build an underlay for your pond. You also won’t have to replace your liner once your pond is built – HDPE liners can last up to 40 years if taken care of.

But, the only real downside to HDPE liners is that the material is significantly more expensive than either EDPM or PVC. However, the extra cost is well worth it for experienced pond owners who are moving up from a preformed liner or who plan to keep their pond for decades to come.

Rubber Liner (Butyl Rubber)

Butyl rubber is used in both flexible and preformed liners thanks to the ease with which multiple sheets can be welded together with heat.

Butyl rubber liners are more puncture resistant than EDPM liners and tend to be less expensive than HDPE liners if you are looking for flexible sheets. While butyl rubber doesn’t stretch well, you can weld together additional small sheets to fit any custom pond shape.

Keep in mind that preformed butyl rubber liners typically only come in basic shapes. However, if you know how to heat weld butyl rubber, you can add flexible sheets onto a preformed liner to make a custom liner design.

Fiberglass Liner

Fiberglass is most commonly used in preformed pond liners because of its incredible strength. When using a preformed fiberglass liner, there’s no need to support the liner with surrounding soil.

If you desired, you could even place the fiberglass liner above ground and surround it with dirt fill and rocks to make a raised pond.

Another advantage to the strength of fiberglass is that it is also incredibly durable.

Fiberglass won’t crack and leak when exposed to high or low temperatures or to direct sunlight like some plastic and rubber materials will. Fiberglass will even flex slightly if your pond ices over in the winter.

Concrete Floor

Concrete is the material of choice when you want to build a pond that will last for your lifetime and beyond.

Concrete is by far the most durable liner material and has been used successfully for pond building since ancient times. It won’t crack under nearly any weather conditions and is essentially impervious to being punctured.

For that reason, concrete is generally used to construct relatively large or deep ponds for which a lot of liner material is needed.

However, concrete has largely fallen out of favor for most pond builders because it’s far more expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to pour properly than preformed or flexible liner materials.

Type of Pond Liner Based on Weather Conditions

The weather conditions around your home have a big impact on which type of liner material is right for your pond.

While some types of liners are virtually impervious to all temperatures and conditions, other materials will crack or wear down if exposed to inclement weather year after year.

The first thing to think about is how cold your winters get. If you expect to experience sub-zero temperatures that will freeze your pond, you’ll need a pond liner that won’t freeze and crack.

EDPM and HDPE liners are both able to withstand negative temperatures, but PVC and butyl rubber liners can crack in extremely cold temperatures.

If you’re interested in a preformed liner, it’s worth noting that fiberglass liners can expand slightly to accommodate the increase in volume that occurs if the water in your pond freezes.

Another thing to consider is how much sun your pond will see. Exposure to UV light can break down the chemicals in PVC or butyl rubber over time, causing these materials to crack.

While EDPM, HDPE, and fiberglass liners are relatively resistant to UV light, even these materials will wear over time with direct exposure to sunlight. Only concrete is completely impervious to the effects of prolonged exposure to direct UV light.

Aesthetics

When you begin approaching a pond design, aesthetics is likely your foremost consideration. Depending on the look you’d like to achieve with your pond, different types of liner materials can offer varying things.

First, is your pond designed to be dug into the ground or to sit partially or fully above the ground, surrounded by moss, rocks, and sod? If above ground, you’ll almost certainly need a preformed fiberglass pond liner since that is the only material that can support itself without surrounding fill.

For more complex above ground pond designs, you can weld together multiple sheets of butyl rubber liner – but be sure to support this liner design with sod fill.

Second, consider whether visitors will be able to see the bottom of your pond. If the bottom will be visible through the water, HDPE liners offer a more natural-looking bottom since the thinner material contours more closely to the ground than either EDPM or butyl rubber liners.

While concrete does not look “natural,” concrete flooring has its own aesthetic appeal since it produces a smooth pond bottom.

One more thing to think about is whether you would like the option to expand your pond design later.

EDPM and PVC liners can be expanded by taping together multiple sheets with liner tape, while HDPE and butyl rubber liners can be welded together for an expansion. Concrete can be more difficult to bond together, although expanding a concrete pond is possible.

How Complex is Your Pond Design?

The complexity of your pond design is also a major factor in determining which type of pond liner is best for you.

EDPM and HDPE liners offer a slight amount of stretch that can be extremely helpful when trying to fit the liner around a corner. In addition, these materials can be sold in large sheets so that you may not need to weld multiple sheets together for your pond design.

On the other hand, butyl rubber is relatively inflexible and is sold in limited sizes because of manufacturing limitations.

While you can heat weld multiple butyl rubber sheets together to fit a custom design, very complex shapes may be hard to achieve with this material.

Concrete flooring can be used to achieve virtually any design – but the more complex the design, the more experience you’ll need working with concrete.

If you want to make a concrete flooring for a very unusual pond design, it’s worth considering whether you need to hire a professional to help.

Make Sure It’s Not Toxic to Your Fish

If you’re planning to fill your pond with fish, it’s essential that your liner is safe for your fish.

This is one of the major reasons that PVC liners are rarely used – they often contain trace amounts of arsenic and other toxic chemicals that can be lethal to fish.

All of the other common pond liner materials are safe for the majority of fish.

How to Determine the Size of Your Pond Liner

If you’ve decided to opt for a flexible pond liner, you need to calculate how much liner material you’ll need to fit your pond design.

Thankfully, there’s a simple trick for figuring out the right liner sheeting size for basic pond configurations.

Start by finding the widest, longest, and deepest points of your pond design, measured in feet. Double the depth of the pond and add one foot to that number.

The sheet size you need is this number plus the length of your pond by this number plus the width of your pond.

So, if you have a pond that is 6 feet deep by 10 feet long by 8 feet wide:

(6 feet deep x 2) + 1 = 13 feet
13 feet + 10 feet long = 23 feet
13 feet + 8 feet wide = 21 feet

Thus, you need a sheet of liner that is 23 feet long by 21 feet wide to cover your entire pond.

Best Pond Liners Reviewed 2019

Now that you know what to consider when choosing a pond liner, let’s take a look at five of the best liners for any style of pond.

1. Beckett PVC Liner (Budget Option)

This flexible PVC liner from Beckett is perfect for first-time pond builders who want to stay on a tight budget. The liner itself is very inexpensive, especially when compared to similar HDPE or EDPM liners.

The liner is 0.5 mm thick, making it a much thinner option than EDPM liners but thicker than HDPE liners. While Beckett only sells the liner in an 8-foot by 10-foot sheet, multiple sheets can be sealed together easily with liner tape.

In general, arsenic toxicity is a concern with PVC liners. However, since Beckett produces this sheeting with ponds in mind, the company ensures that the PVC is safe for fish and plants.

The main downside to this liner, like all PVC liners, is that it is relatively prone to cracking if exposed to direct sunlight or below-freezing temperatures.

Because of that, Beckett does not offer any warranty on this liner. It’s a good idea to cover your liner with dirt or another substrate to protect the liner and insulate it from changes in water temperature.

Sale

2. Greenseal Pond Liner

This EDPM pond liner is an ideal choice for a wide variety of ponds. It’s stretchy enough to fit custom designs and is relatively inexpensive if you want to create a larger pond.

However, keep in mind that you will want to use an underlay with this liner to prevent stretching and punctures.

The liner is capable of withstanding nearly any weather conditions, including sub-zero temperatures, and is rated to last for up to 30 years.

To back that up, the manufacturer offers a 15-year guarantee against leaks related to faulty manufacturing.

The liner comes in a single, somewhat odd size – 13 feet, 1 inch by 9 feet, 9 inches. However, it’s easy to cut the liner down to a smaller size or to tape multiple sheets together using liner tape.

Keep in mind that like all EDPM liners, this sheeting is very thick at nearly 2 millimeters.

Sale

3. Firestone Liner

This EDPM liner from Firestone comes in a slightly larger size – 10 feet by 15 feet – and at a somewhat lower price than the comparable Greenseal pond liner.

On top of that, Firestone offers a 25-year warranty compared to the 15-year warranty on the Greenseal liner.

Since it’s an EDPM liner, this liner offers much of the same durability as the Greenseal liner. The liner is able to withstand extreme cold and direct UV light. Plus, the liner can be stretched around corners to fit nearly any pond design.

The main difference between this liner and the Greenseal liner is in thickness. Firestone’s liner is only 1.1 mm thick, which makes it lighter but also more prone to punctures. For that reason, it’s even more important to use a sturdy underlay with this liner.

4. Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit (Best for Small Ponds)

This fully featured pond kit from Algreen includes a preformed plastic pond liner, a 200 gallon per hour pond pump with included flow control, two fountain heads, and a light with interchangeable color filters.

The liner itself is large enough to hold 33 gallons of water – enough for small fish and turtles, but far too small to use as a koi pond.

In addition, while the plastic is sturdy enough to use as an above ground pond without supporting fill, the plastic will crack in extreme cold or from prolonged exposure to UV light.

Keep in mind that Algreen doesn’t offer any warranty on the liner or on the pond pump, which is also prone to clogging.

5. HDPE Pond Liner

This HDPE pond liner is designed to be used for virtually any pond thanks to its durability and light weight. Like EDPM liners, this liner is able to withstand extreme cold and direct UV light.

Plus, it’s more puncture resistant than EDPM liners so you don’t necessarily have to use an underlay with this liner. However, keep in mind that there is no manufacturer’s warranty on this liner.

The liner is available in a variety of different size cuts, including 13 x 11 feet, 16 x 11 feet, 16 x 15 feet, and 36 x 30 feet.

If you have a very unique custom pond design, you can heat weld multiple sheets together. All sizes are 0.12 mm thick, making this liner significantly thinner than any EDPM or PVC liner.

This HDPE pond liner is designed to be used for virtually any pond thanks to its durability and light weight. Like EDPM liners, this liner is able to withstand extreme cold and direct UV light.

Plus, it’s more puncture resistant than EDPM liners so you don’t necessarily have to use an underlay with this liner. However, keep in mind that there is no manufacturer’s warranty on this liner.

The liner is available in a variety of different size cuts, including 13 x 11 feet, 16 x 11 feet, 16 x 15 feet, and 36 x 30 feet.

If you have a very unique custom pond design, you can heat weld multiple sheets together. All sizes are 0.12 mm thick, making this liner significantly thinner than any EDPM or PVC liner.

Use Underlay

Using an underlay beneath your pond liner can help protect your liner from punctures and keep it from stretching out from the weight of water over time.

Using an underlay is particularly important if you’re using EDPM liners, since these lack the puncture resistance of HDPE liners.

An underlay is simply a polypropylene sheet that you install beneath your liner.

Since the underlay is simply to protect your liner rather than to keep water from leaking out of your pond, you can lay multiple sheets of underlay without sealing them together. That means that underlay is extremely simple and fast to install when you’re building your pond.

Sale

Which Pond Liner is Best?

At the end of the day, the best pond liner for your pond depends on the aesthetic you want to achieve, the design of your pond, and the weather conditions around your home.

The Greenseal and Firestone EDPM liners as well as the HDPE pond liner are versatile solutions for nearly any pond, although you’ll need to use an underlay if you opt for either of the EDPM liners.

For pond builders on a tight budget, the Beckett PVC liner is an inexpensive choice – just beware that it is the least durable of the liners we reviewed.

Finally, the Algreen pond kit is a good solution for people who simply want a small preformed pond without the trouble of designing and building a pond from scratch.

Preview
Beckett Corporation Pond Liner Pre Cut PVC, 8 by 10-Feet
Gordon Low Greenseal EPDM Rubber Pond Liner 9' 9'' x 13' 1''
Best Pick
Firestone W56PL451015 EPDM Rubber Pond Liner, 10-Foot Length x 15-Foot Width x 0.045-Inch Thick
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Impermeable Membrane Fish Pond Liners Reinforced HDPE for Garden Pools Landscaping - Raw Materials Plastics - (#1) - 1x Fish Pond Liners
Product
Beckett PVC Liner (Budget Option)
Greenseal Pond Liner
Firestone Liner
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
HDPE Pond Liner
Material
PVC
EDPM
EDPM
Plastic
HDPE
Thickness
0.5mm
2mm
1.1mm
-
0.12mm
Warranty
None
15 Years
25 Years
None
None
Prime
-
-
Preview
Beckett Corporation Pond Liner Pre Cut PVC, 8 by 10-Feet
Product
Beckett PVC Liner (Budget Option)
Material
PVC
Thickness
0.5mm
Warranty
None
Prime
Preview
Gordon Low Greenseal EPDM Rubber Pond Liner 9' 9'' x 13' 1''
Product
Greenseal Pond Liner
Material
EDPM
Thickness
2mm
Warranty
15 Years
Prime
-
Best Pick
Preview
Firestone W56PL451015 EPDM Rubber Pond Liner, 10-Foot Length x 15-Foot Width x 0.045-Inch Thick
Product
Firestone Liner
Material
EDPM
Thickness
1.1mm
Warranty
25 Years
Prime
Preview
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Product
Algreen 91914 Avonlea Pond Kit
Material
Plastic
Thickness
-
Warranty
None
Prime
Preview
Impermeable Membrane Fish Pond Liners Reinforced HDPE for Garden Pools Landscaping - Raw Materials Plastics - (#1) - 1x Fish Pond Liners
Product
HDPE Pond Liner
Material
HDPE
Thickness
0.12mm
Warranty
None
Prime
-

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In this guide, I'll walk you through the process of choosing your liner based on your needs, and review the best pond liners availble today. #modestfish #pond #aqaurium #garden
Read on this article, we’ll share some tips, how to cycle your tank with the nitrogen cycle process that can helps avoid your fish’s waste releases ammonia into the water. #modestfish #aquarium #cleaning

Christopher Adams

Hey there, my name is Christopher and I'm the creator and editor of this site. I've owned successful aquariums for the past 23 years. My mission is to educate, inform, and entertain on everything that's fish.

Last update on 2019-08-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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