So you’ve decided to take the plunge and create your own garden pond? It may seem like a daunting task with lots of decisions to make but, if you break it down step by step, it really is a rewarding task. 

Once you have decided on the size of your pond and its location within your garden setting (see our articles on pond shade and sunlight requirements), you will need to consider the options for pond construction.

Best Pond Liner General Information

Best Pond Liner General Information

Types of Pond Construction

As you’d expect, there are several options ranging from concrete ponds, to a pre-formed pond and on to a flexible pond liner. 

The pre-formed ponds are very quick and simple – simply dig a hole of sufficient size to accommodate the pre-formed pond, place it into the hole and back fill all the gaps surrounding the pond. 

Although this method is easy and time efficient, it is a limited option in terms of size and shape. 

If you’re designing something unusual in terms of shape and size and want to create something unique for your own garden, then a pond liner will provide you with that flexibility to create your own unique design. A pond liner is essential in keeping the water level consistent; this is vital for both pond fish and pond plants

Having excavated the soil to house your pond, then your first decision will concern how to render it water tight and you’ll be looking at pond liner options. The pond liner and its underlayment are the very foundations of your garden pond. Using inferior or low grade underlays and liners can result in a leaky pond and costly repairs going forward. Good foundations are vital for your pond; no leakage will mean a brilliant ecosystem for fish and will also attract other animals such as frogs.

Options for Pond Liners

A flexible pond liner usually comes on a roll and is a very popular choice for the hobbyist. You can buy it pre-packaged or off a roll.

What Are Pond Liners Made Of?

Pond liners are made from various materials. Choices include high density polyethylene (known as HDPE) liners, rubber liners such as Butyl, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer liners (EDPM) which is a synthetic rubber, and PVC liners.  EDPM is quite similar in practical terms to the Butyl rubber liners. 

The two most common pond liners are Butyl or PVC. PVC is hardy and remains flexible and resistant to the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.  However, PVC tends to be thinner than Butyl so do take care during the installation process to avoid tiny punctures. 

You will need some type of underlay for your pond liner to protect against pebbles or hard irregular objects. Once the hole has been dug for your pond, we suggest laying a bed of soft sand to provide an appropriate bedding for your pond liner. Some enthusiasts prefer a kind of proprietary underlay or carpeting laid beneath the liner as protection.

Avoiding Excess Creases In Your Pond Liner

We have found that the best way to get your pond liner to ease snuggly into the hole you have created, is to lay the pond liner over the top of the hole and slowly start to fill with water using a hose pipe. Carefully fold the liner in the curves and corners as soon as the pond starts to fill, to ensure a sleek fit

As you do this, the liner will slowly lower itself into the hole under the weight of the water and start to mould itself to the shape of the hole you’ve created. You’ll need to carefully folder the liner at any obvious corner or bends in the pond.

How To Calculate The Quantity Of Pond Liner You Require

Obviously, you need to calculate the amount of pond liner you require. Start by measuring the length, width and depth of your pond at its maximum points. Then add double the depth to both the length and the width and another foot. 

So by way of simple example, if your pond measures 5 foot wide by 8 foot long and 2 foot deep, your calculation will be as follows :

5 + 2 + 2 + 1 multiplied by 8 + 2 + 2 + 1 which equals 10 feet multiplied by 13 feet.

Top 10 Best Pond Liner Reviews

Top 10 Best Pond Liner Reviews

1) Firestone 45mil EPDM Rubber Pond Liner

Firestone 45mil EPDM Rubber Pond Liner 15ft.x20ft.
  • EPDM rubber pre cut and boxed pond liner
  • Flexible for creative designs
  • Environmentally friendly; fish friendly
  • Easy maintenance; lasting beauty
  • Measures 15-feet length by 20-feet width by 0.045-inch thick

This is a larger liner for ponds with dimensions up to 15 x 20 feet. 

This is also EPDM rubber with a thickness of 45 mil, and comes pre-cut and boxed. EPDM has many advantages over PVC pond liners, and being produced using this material means that it is less likely to form holes and breakages.

The Firestone EPDM Rubber Pond Liner is very flexible and extremely durable; it makes an excellent choice as it’s a heavy duty option with longevity in mind.

It is also an environmentally sound and fish friendly option. Being made with EPDM makes it more resistant to UV light than other liners. Therefore there is less chance that being in continued strong sunlight with cause the breakdown of the material. It still shouldn’t be in full sunlight constantly though.

2) Aquanique Pond Skin Pond Liner

AQUANIQUE Pond Skin Pond Liner, 13 by 20-Feet
  • The 13 x 20 ft. PVC Pond Liner is ideal for large ponds up to 1,200 gallons, approximately 9 x 16 x 1.5 ft.
  • The 14.5-mil PVC Pond Liner is lightweight, ultra-durable, and easy to handle.
  • Our PVC liners are UV and puncture resistant, ensuring many years of continued use.
  • aquanique liners are reinforced with a strong polyester weave placed between the layers of PVC.
  • aquanique Pond Skins Pond Liners have a textured surface to promote positive bacteria growth providing just the right foundation for an environmentally balanced habitat.

This pond liner comes in three different sizes – 7 x 10 feet, 10 x 13 feet and 13 x 20 feet, but the one shown here is the 13 x 20 feet version which is ideal for large ponds with a capacity of up to 1,200 gallons – approximately 9 x 16 x 1.5 feet.

It is a 14.5 mil PVC pond liner, and is lightweight, durable and easy to handle. 

These PVC liners are UV and puncture resistant, and are reinforced with a strong polyester weave between the layers of PVC. This ensures longevity and years of use.

These Aquanique liners have a textured surface to promote the growth of positive and beneficial bacteria which facilitates the creation of a healthy habitat for your fish and any amphibious wildlife which may inhabit your pond.

3) TetraPond PVC Pond Liner 

TetraPond PVC Pond Liner
  • Pond Size:9'Width x 16'Length x18' Depth
  • Safe for Fish
  • Puncture and tear resistant
  • The Package Weight Of The Product Is 36.4 Pounds

Tetra is one of the biggest names in the aquarium industry. They have a brilliant reputation of producing amazing products, from water conditioners to fish food. So you can rest assured that you are getting the same quality with this TetraPond fish pond liner.

There are three different size options available; 7 x 10 feet, 9 x 17 feet, and 14 x 21 feet. Therefore you can choose the correct size for your fish pond. The largest size is suitable for ponds of around 1500 gallons. It is very durable and is puncture resistant, and will conform to the unique shape of your pond.

It is completely safe for fish and plants, but as with all PVC products you shouldn’t have this pond liner in direct sunlight. A partially shaded pond will be absolutely fine, and you won’t get any contamination.

4) TotalPond Pond Skins Pond Liner

TotalPond pond skins Pond Liner, 13 by 20-Feet
  • The 13 x 20 ft. PVC Pond Liner is ideal for large ponds up to 1,200 gallons, approximately 9 x 16 x 1.5 ft.
  • The 14.5-mil PVC Pond Liner is lightweight, ultra-durable, and easy to handle.
  • Our PVC liners are UV and puncture resistant, ensuring many years of continued use.
  • TotalPond liners are reinforced with a strong polyester weave placed between the layers of PVC.
  • TotalPond's pond skins pond liners have a textured surface to promote positive bacteria growth providing just the right foundation for an environmentally balanced habitat.

This is another pond liner that comes in three different sizes – 7 x 10 feet, 10 x 13 feet and 13 x 20 feet, but the one shown here is the 13 x 20 feet version which is ideal for large ponds with a capacity of up to 1,200 gallons – approximately 9 x 16 x 1.5 feet.

It is a 14.5 mil PVC pond liner, and is lightweight, durable and easy to handle. These liners have a textured surface to promote the growth of positive and beneficial bacteria which facilitates the creation of a healthy habitat for both your fish and visiting wildlife. 

5) Beckett Corporation Flexible Pre-Cut PVC Pond Liner

Beckett Corporation Flexible Pre-Cut PVC Pond Liner
  • FLEXIBLE AND EASY TO INSTALL POND LINER: PVC material is light, malleable, puncture resistant, and long-lasting.
  • PROTECT YOUR POND: This liner will help to contain your pond, while also creating a safe and healthy environment for wildlife and plants. Help take care of your water features, pond pumps, filters, and more with the liner in place.
  • IDEAL SIZE: This 12'x17' precut piece is easy to place for any small/medium sized ponds up to 13 ft. x 8 ft. x 1.5 ft. pond. This liner is .5mm/20 mil thick.
  • FISH AND PLANT FRIENDLY: This liner is flexible, easy to install, ice resistant, UV resistant, and safe for fish and plants.
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL USE: Not only is this liner effective for your ponds and other water features, it can be used in different ways. Utilize the liner for raised garden beds, sub-irrigation planters, and other self-watering projects.

This PVC pond liner from Beckett Corporation is perfect for small ponds, koi ponds, water gardens, and fountains. It comes in the following sizes : 8 ft x 10 ft, 12 ft x 10 ft and the one we’re showing here which is 12 ft x 17 ft. 

This liner is pre-cut to the size of 12 ft x 17 ft and will fit any pond up to a size of 13 ft x 8 ft by 1.5 ft.

This PVC liner is lightweight, malleable/pliable, puncture resistant and durable/long lasting and easy to install. 

Ice resistant and UV resistant, this liner will help you create a safe and healthy environment for your fish, wildlife and aquatic plants as the liner is safe for fish and plants.

This item comes with a 15 year guarantee.

6) Actrey 14.5 Mil PVC Pond Liner

Actrey 14.5 Mil PVC Pond Liner
  • 【PROTECT YOUR POND】- This liner will help to contain your pond, while also creating a safe and healthy environment for wildlife and plants. Help take care of your water features, pond pumps, filters, and more with the liner in place.
  • 【SAFE MATERIAL】- Made of good quality PVC, our liner is UV and puncture resistant, can be used for many years; Environmentally friendly, safe for your fish and plant.
  • 【PLIABLE AND FLEXIBLE】- Conforms to a variety of irregular surfaces. Excellent choice for water gardens, fish ponds and backyard waterfalls. This light weight liner is easy to install.
  • 【EASY TO CLEAN 】- This pond liner provides a flat surface for your pond, reducing the soil accumulation. Also can effectively prevent harmful substances in the soil from penetrating into the pond to pollute the water, so that you can clean the pond easily.
  • 【WIDELY USED】- The pond liner is a perfect choice for projects like retention ponds, above and below ground water containment, and for water gardens, fishponds, and backyard waterfalls with gently sloping sides and smooth contours.

This product by ACTREY is a good quality, PVC pond liner which is UV and puncture resistant, ensuring years of use. Importantly, it is very easy to clean.

It is perfect for all fish ponds, no matter if the have water features such as waterfalls. Able to conform to irregular shapes as well as being perfect for flat surfaces, you will find this pond liner will fit any pond shape. The design also reduces soil accumulation and prevents pollution of the water.

The material is environmentally friendly and is safe for fish, wildlife and aquatic plants.

This product comes in three sizes : 7 x 10 feet, 10 x 13 feet and the 13 x 20 feet option that we’ve shown here. This enables you to purchase the size perfect for your fish pond setup.

7) Growneer 14.5 Mil PVC Pond Liner for Fish Ponds, Streams Fountains and Water Gardens

Growneer 14.5 Mil PVC Pond Liner for Fish Ponds, Streams Fountains and Water Gardens
  • SAFETY -- This pond liner with smooth surface measuring 7' x 10', is made of PVC material which is safe for your fish and plant life. The auxiliary materials dissolved in the production meet the safety level of food packaging.
  • FLEXIBLE -- The good flexibility makes it easy to fold and bend to your contour / outline of pond's rocks and waterfalls. For finished pond length, width, and depth, the pond liner can be tailored to conform to a variety of irregular surfaces and specific size.
  • DURABLE -- 14.5 mil thickness provides superior durability while maintaining the ability to stretch. It can be exposed to sun, rocks, puncture for ensuring many years of continued use.
  • EASY TO CLEAN -- This pond liner provides a flat surface for your pond, reducing the soil accumulation. It can effectively prevent harmful substances in the soil from penetrating into the pond to pollute the water, so that you can clean the pond easily.
  • WIDELY USED -- The pond liner is a perfect choice for water gardens, fish ponds and backyard waterfalls. It is ideal for ponds of all sizes with steep or gentle sloping sides, tight corners, contours and shelving.

This product is a PVC Pond Liner of 14.5 mil thickness for durability. It doesn’t lose any of its flexibility however; t still maintains its ability to stretch and conform to the shape of your pond.

Available in four sizes; 4 x 7 feet, 7 x 10 feet, 7 x 13 feet and 13 x 20 feet. These four size options should cover all pond sizes, unless of course you are building a big pond indeed!

The PVC material is safe for pond fish and aquatic plants. You won’t get any chemical or microplastic leakage in the soil or water column of your pond. The smooth material makes it easy to clean.

This liner is flexible and easy to fold to the contours of your pond shape, so is good for irregular shapes and designs.

8) PolyGuard Liners PVC 20-Mil Pond Liner

Sale
PolyGuard Liners PVC - 8 ft. x 10 ft. 20-Mil Pond Liner
  • PVC pond liners are the most cost effective versatile and adaptable liners available. Ideal for ponds of all sizes with steep or gentle sloping sides, tight corners, contours and shelving.
  • Pliable and flexible; conforms to a variety of irregular surfaces. Excellent choice for water gardens, fish ponds and backyard waterfalls. This light weight liner is easy to install.
  • Attaches easily to waterfall boxes, weirs and skimmers. Remains flexible and pliable even in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
  • Contains plasticizers which will deteriorate in direct sunlight. For best results use ground cover, rocks or gravel to protect PVC liner from direct UV exposure
  • Completely safe for fish, wildlife and plants. Standard 5-Year Manufacturer's Warranty for defects in manufacture, materials or workmanship.

This is another PVC pond liner which comes in a large range of different sizes.

It is 20 mil thick and consequently offers durability. This is extremely thick, so if you are wanting the reassurance of a thick PVC liner which offers superior protection then this is for you.

However, it is pliable and flexible, so ideal for irregular shapes and contours.

It is lightweight and easy to install. Being easily attached to waterfall boxes and other features make it very simple.

It is completely safe for pond fish, wildlife and aquatic plants. However this PVC liner requires protection from direct UV exposure. In direct sunlight the UV light will cause deterioration of the plastic, which will cause trouble to your pond. Protection from direct sunlight can be in the form of using ground cover planting, rocks and/or gravel. 

There is 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, so you can have peace of mind that this product should last a long time, and that you are covered in the rare instance something does go wrong.

9) TechtongDA Flexible Water Garden Fish Pond Liner

TechtongDA Flexible Water Garden Fish Pond Liner
  • Flexible Water Garden Fish Pond Liner is the perfect way to ensure that your pond is functioning effectively and properly underneath the beautiful foliage and active aquatic life.
  • Install a permanent pond liners that and you can rest easy knowing it will withstand a variety of weather and water conditions.
  • With a permanent pond liner, you can avoid the hassle of regularly replacing this integral part of your pond.
  • Durable HDPE Pond Liners are specially formulated for water gardens.
  • Pond liner is not UV resistant and place away from sharp objects

HDPE pond liners are flexible and durable and will render your pond watertight. This liner by TechtongDA is made with high quality high density PVC, which prevents seepage of your pond water.

It is thick whilst retaining pliability and flexibility, so you can manipulate it into the contours of your pond. This is very useful if you pond has awkward corners or angles; sometimes through no fault of your own this can happen!

With both acid and alkali resistance, and also heat and cold resistance this fish pond liner is able to withstand all water conditions.

However this product is not UV resistant, so should be protected from direct sunlight, and should also be protected from sharp objects.

10) Anjon Lifeguard 45 Mil EPDM Pond Liner

Anjon Lifeguard 45 Mil EPDM Pond Liner
  • Anjon Manufacturing's EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner is marketed in hundreds of pond kits, and installed in thousands of water features, worldwide. Professionals trust their reputation to LifeGuard Pond Liner!
  • Durable and Puncture Resistant! LifeGuard Pond Liner is extremely versatile and is used in a wide variety of applications, including: Pondless Waterfalls, Skimmers and Waterfalls, Retention and Koi Ponds, and Fish Hatcheries.
  • Resists UV deterioration and contains no plasticizers which become brittle and cause cracks and splits. LifeGuard Pond Liner is virtually indestructible; unaffected by hydrocarbons, mildew, rot, and freeze-thaw cycles!
  • LifeGuard Pond Liner is Certified by Guardian Systems, Inc. and easily attaches to filtering waterfalls and skimmers. Readily accepts pipe and hose penetration without leaks, and can be easily seamed.
  • Anjon Manufacturing's EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner comes with a Standard 25-Year Manufacturer's Warranty; but, when properly installed with UnderGuard Underlayment Nonwoven Geotextile, Anjon Manufacturing's EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner is warrantied for LIFE! UnderGuard Underlayment NOT INCLUDED! Ships Ground Package.

Some pond enthusiasts prefer the idea of EPDM over PVC for liner material. 

This product is durable and puncture resistant. This LifeGuard Pond Liner is extremely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of applications, including: pondless waterfalls, skimmers and Koi Ponds..

This product resists the deteriorating effects of UV, and contains no plasticizers which become brittle and cause cracks and splits. LifeGuard Pond Liner is extremely hardy and virtually indestructible; unaffected by hydrocarbons, mildew, rot, and freeze-thaw cycles.

The manufacturer recommends that their underlay is used with this liner to protect it and enhance its performance.

Anjon Manufacturing’s EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner comes with a Standard 25-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty; but, when properly installed with UnderGuard Underlayment Nonwoven Geotextile, Anjon Manufacturing’s EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner is warrantied for life.

The UnderGuard Underlayment is not included in the price, and we have evaluated it below.

Using An Underlay Beneath Pond Liners

Some experts recommend the application of a sand layer as the first step after having dug out the hole for the garden pond. 

This will level off the ground to a large extent, filling in any obvious holes and uneven areas of the pond base.

It is then recommended to lay an underlayment for the pond. This is to protect your pond liner.

Although the pond liners we recommend are strong and puncture resistant, using an appropriate underlay will definitely enhance the liner’s performance and longevity.

Top 3 Best Pond Liner Underlayments

1) UnderGuard Geotextile Underlayment

UnderGuard 10 ft. x 20 ft Geotextile Underlayment
  • High tensile-strength nonwoven polypropylene fabric is easy to use
  • Enhances soil stability and controls erosion while providing a stable and lasting foundation for water features, retaining walls, trenches, and planting projects
  • Needle punched nonwoven polypropylene geotextile fabric with a random, three-dimensional pore structure and a uniform, felt-like consistency. Superior drainage characteristics versus woven geotextile fabric
  • Virtually indestructible; unaffected by hydrocarbons, mildew, rot, & freeze-thaw cycles while diffusing gas and fluid build up
  • Made in the USA & backed by a 20-Year Limited Manufacturers’ Warranty! Made from UV and chemical resistant 100% virgin polypropylene & is 100% recyclable

This underlay is made from high tensile strength non-woven polypropylene fabric.

Easy to use, it provides a stable, long lasting foundation for garden ponds and water features.

2) Beckett Corporation Pre-Cut Pond Liner Underlayment

Beckett Corporation 6 Foot by 12 Foot Pre-Cut Pond Liner Underlayment, Black
  • PROTECT YOUR LINER: The underlay protects the pond liner from being punctured by rocks or other debris, as well as damage from rodents.
  • IMPROVE LONGEVITY OF POND: Utilizing this pond underlayment adds another layer of support guaranteed to keep your pond liner in place and in tact for longer.
  • POLYPROPYLENE MATERIAL: Sturdy yet flexible cloth is easy to place within your pond area. Adds an additional layer of support for your outdoor water feature.
  • SIZE: This 6'x12' precut piece is easy to place for any small pond. Covers up to 72 sq ft

A good quality underlay provides important protection to your pond liner.

Helps to prevent puncture damage by rocks and debris, and increases the longevity of your pond liner.

This product is made from a Polypropylene material, which is sturdy and flexible.

It is easy to bend and form to the shape of your pond design.

This underlay comes pre-cut as a 6 foot by 12 foot size, but you can buy it in multiples to fit larger ponds.

3) Anjon Lifeguard 45-Mil EPDM Pond Liner and Underlayment Combo

Anjon Lifeguard 45-Mil EPDM Pond Liner and Underlayment Combo
  • Anjon Manufacturing's EPDM LifeGuard Pond Liner is marketed in hundreds of pond kits, and installed...
  • Durable and Puncture Resistant! LifeGuard Pond Liner is extremely versatile and is used in a wide...
  • Resists UV deterioration and contains no plasticizers which become brittle and cause cracks and...
  • LifeGuard Pond Liner is Certified by Guardian Systems, Inc. and easily attaches to filtering...
  • 74 lbs. Ships Ground Package

This pond liner and underlayment combo by Anjon Lifeguard is brilliant if you don’t want the hassle of purchasing a separate underlayment and liner. There is a lot of back and forth involved, whereas you can simply purchase both!

Both underlay and liner are brilliant quality. The underlay protects the pond liner from rocks and other sharp objects.

It is lightweight and easy to lay down.

Should you clean a best pond liner?

best pond liners

Even when pond water is perfectly clear due to excellent filtration systems and UV system, the pond liner can still turn green from algae growth.

Many pond enthusiasts try to eliminate this by increasing the strength of their UV. However, the UV only eradicates algae that is floating within the water itself as it flows under the UV light. 

Algae growth on the pond liner is both natural and inevitable. Allow your fish to graze on this algae by regulating their feeding regime to encourage this habit.

Additionally, the algae growth on the pond liner provides a home for beneficial bacteria, which is a natural biological filter.

Therefore, it really isn’t necessary to scrub the algae of a pond liner once you have established a good pond environment.

Conclusion

When creating your own garden pond, if you have decided not to use a pre-formed pond but rather to create your own design, then you need to carefully select a pond liner with appropriate underlayment.

A good quality underlay will protect your pond liner and increase the service you get from it. It will help to prevent leaks and increase the longevity of your pond liner. 

There are many types of pond liner on the market, and we have reviewed EPDM, HDPE and PVC liners and a selection of good quality underlayments. 

Together with a good filtration system  to establish and maintain a healthy environment for your fish and aquatic plants, your pond liner should provide years of service.

About the author

Authority Aquarium Staff

Authority Aquarium Staff writers are experts and aquarium enthusiasts, our in-house marine biologist fact checks all our content and reviews to bring you the best advice for your aquarium health.

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