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I want to put a small pond on my layout but I'm not sure which is better and EASIER - a pre-formed plastic pond insert or to use a pond liner? Any thoughts?
 

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A pre-formed insert has the advantage that you can see what size & shape it is when you buy it. The down-side is that you have to dig just the right shape hole (or dig extra and fill around the liner). You are also limited to when you can find for sale. A liner will be a little more work to install, since you have to be a tad bit more careful not to go poking holes in it. On the other hand, whatever hole you dig is always the perfect shape! Also, you can decide exactly what shape you want.
 

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I started off with a 100 gallon plastic tub pond liner. Not near big enough for anything. The pump was located inside the pond tub, so that left little room for anything else, like fish or plants. I now have a 1500 gallon pond with an EPDM liner. I think you can have a nice pond with either method, but I would stress think bigger than 100 gallons.

Another thought ... getting the pre-formed pond level was a real bear. It was warped slightly, so no matter what I did, I had a low spot somewhere along an edge. Don't be afraid of pond liners. It is really easy to do.
 
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So when you use a liner, do you just dig the hole and lay the liner in the hole? Or, do you have to have some kind of base sand or something spread out in the hole under the liner?
 

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You need to cushion the liner. Old carpet is great for that. Sand will work on the bottom part. There are LOTS of web sites with instructions on how to put in a pond and tell you which materials work well...and which don't.
 

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Posted By Ed Harvey on 04/06/2008 12:56 PM
I want to put a small pond on my layout but I'm not sure which is better and EASIER - a pre-formed plastic pond insert or to use a pond liner? Any thoughts?

Neither! The cheapest and maybe most realistic method is to "hand slap" your own concrete into any shape you desire. Use a "chicken wire" frame for steep vertical sides as necessary.
You can texture it using crinkled aluminum foil pressed into the setting concrete. Alternatively, when the concrete dries, apply a "thinned" layer of mortar/mason's mix on top and texture that.
You can also add dye to the concrete/mortar so the color goes all through. Alternatively, if you want to leave water in it (or have fish), paint it with a coat of "Drylock" which makes the masonry impervious to water. You can add color layers of ordinary house paint on top of that. If your masonry cracks, you can use "Drylock hydraulic cement" to fix the cracks (can even apply it underwater!)
All of our lakes, rivers, and even ridgelines have been done this way with good results.

 

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Posted By toddalin on 04/06/2008 3:32 PM

Posted By Ed Harvey on 04/06/2008 12:56 PM I want to put a small pond on my layout but I'm not sure which is better and EASIER - a pre-formed plastic pond insert or to use a pond liner? Any thoughts?

Neither! The cheapest and maybe most realistic method is to "hand slap" your own concrete into any shape you desire. Use a "chicken wire" frame for steep vertical sides as necessary. You can texture it using crinkled aluminum foil pressed into the setting concrete. Alternatively, when the concrete dries, apply a "thinned" layer of mortar/mason's mix on top and texture that. You can also add dye to the concrete/mortar so the color goes all through. Alternatively, if you want to leave water in it (or have fish), paint it with a coat of "Drylock" which makes the masonry impervious to water. You can add color layers of ordinary house paint on top of that. If your masonry cracks, you can use "Drylock hydraulic cement" to fix the cracks (can even apply it underwater!) All of our lakes, rivers, and even ridgelines have been done this way with good results.




Great suggestion. I will consider this method for my Phase III model RR line.  As always, the garden model RR construction methods brought forward here on MLS are excellent.
 

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Well, I don't live in So. Calf. like Todd and it freezes pretty hard here in the N.E. Hoosierland.

Ric Golding had a great idea that was a smidge too late for my pond but worked great for the stream/river/gorge that I wanted. Sandbags!!!



Lets see if this works....

 

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Hi ED,
I can only respond to using the preformed pond linner. Mine has been out 3 Iowa winters now and holding up well. I put a floating heater in it this year and left the fish out all winter. No ice at all this winter and all the fish survived the winter. I never fed the fish all winter and as of today 4/06/08 they have not been fed yet. Will wait till it warms up. One tip, don't tamp the dirt TOOOO HARD when filling in around the liner as it may raise part of the liner and give you a high spot. That happened to me but I left it [the part that sticks out on the right side of the pond in the picture] as I didn't want to dig out the pond. I did use a liner to make the water fall. Had a pile of dirt and cut steps into the dirt about the size of the rocks I was using, layed the liner down ran a water line to the top and added the rocks. Check with all the places that sell ponds and get the one you like best. Mine is 24" deep.
I'm sure either way will give you a nice pond.



 

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If you are going to make a cement pond, it WILL eventually crack and leak a bit. Any cementitious coating will crack also. You either need a thick rubber liner (hard to follow complex curves but inexpensive) or coat the inside with a rubberized coating (which I have done with my 2 fountains at my house. The stuff I used lasted 8 years in the sun and water, and just needs a refresher coat now. The stuff is Herco Rubber Pond Coating (google it for the closest place to get it)... It's the only stuff I have ever seen that lasts... it's really liquid rubber, and it is completely non-toxic to fish. You just paint it on.

Absolutely the best stuff for a cement pond.

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By blackburn49 on 04/06/2008 4:26 PM
Posted By toddalin on 04/06/2008 3:32 PM

Posted By Ed Harvey on 04/06/2008 12:56 PM I want to put a small pond on my layout but I'm not sure which is better and EASIER - a pre-formed plastic pond insert or to use a pond liner? Any thoughts?

Neither! The cheapest and maybe most realistic method is to "hand slap" your own concrete into any shape you desire. Use a "chicken wire" frame for steep vertical sides as necessary. You can texture it using crinkled aluminum foil pressed into the setting concrete. Alternatively, when the concrete dries, apply a "thinned" layer of mortar/mason's mix on top and texture that. You can also add dye to the concrete/mortar so the color goes all through. Alternatively, if you want to leave water in it (or have fish), paint it with a coat of "Drylock" which makes the masonry impervious to water. You can add color layers of ordinary house paint on top of that. If your masonry cracks, you can use "Drylock hydraulic cement" to fix the cracks (can even apply it underwater!) All of our lakes, rivers, and even ridgelines have been done this way with good results.




Great suggestion. I will consider this method for my Phase III model RR line.  As always, the garden model RR construction methods brought forward here on MLS are excellent.








Additionally, if you're building a large pond, consider construction with gunite over rebar. It's very fast if you use a commercial gunite applicator. Build in provisions for bottom drains, plumbing, and skimmers before applying the gunite.

With any concrete product spraying a rubberized overcoat is something to consider as well.

Mark
 

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45 mil rubber roofing from a roofing co. You can buy scraps cheap. Pre forms are a pain besides you have to dig a hole either way.
 

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I have stubbornly tried preformed liners three different times and never been happy with the results -- understatement.
It's impossible to dig an exact hole for them and if you dig oversize and backfill the soil around it is loose, then if water gets underneath the pond (say...it rains) it will lift it up and float it up nice high and ugly as sin.

If not concrete, rubber sheet liners are the way to go.
 

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why not use both...? I had planned on running water out of a high "rock" and down a creek bed (all lined with somekind of liner) and ending up in the pre-formed pond I already have. Basically using the pond to catch and re-pump back to the natural spring beginning.?.? Just measured about 144'. I assume I need to do this 1st before any other landscaping eh? I hope to bribe Ric into coming down and schooling me on it. :)
 

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I can say that I have not had any problem with rain raising my preformed pond liner up out of the ground or frost heave .
 

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Posted By Biblegrove RR on 04/08/2008 7:13 PM
why not use both...? I had planned on running water out of a high "rock" and down a creek bed (all lined with somekind of liner) and ending up in the pre-formed pond I already have. Basically using the pond to catch and re-pump back to the natural spring beginning.?.? Just measured about 144'. I assume I need to do this 1st before any other landscaping eh? I hope to bribe Ric into coming down and schooling me on it. :)" border=0>




Just keep in mind that to feed a stream 144 feet long, you are going to need a pretty large reservoir of water to fill the stream. Pre-formed ponds are usually pretty small. You may drain your pond trying to get the stream started, then add water to fill it back up. However, if and when the pump stops, you will now flood your pond, unless you install a check valve in the feed pipe to keep it from draining back into the pond.
 

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Posted By Biblegrove RR on 04/08/2008 7:13 PM
why not use both...? I had planned on running water out of a high "rock" and down a creek bed (all lined with somekind of liner) and ending up in the pre-formed pond I already have. Basically using the pond to catch and re-pump back to the natural spring beginning.?.? Just measured about 144'. I assume I need to do this 1st before any other landscaping eh? I hope to bribe Ric into coming down and schooling me on it. :)" border=0>" border=0>" border=0>

Be careful when planning this length of run. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif"
Your lake would typically need to be able to contain most of its own volume as well as what water is in the river and piping. Otherwise, when you shut off the pump your river and piping will drain down to the lake and overflow it. On the other hand, if you leave enough space to accomodate this "river water," your lake will look pretty empty once the pump comes on and moves the water to the river.
Just something to consider beforhand. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif"
Edit:
Oops! I see that Del is on top of this too.
 

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I never considered this guys.../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif thanks. I do have a well and the water is freeeeeeee. :D The pipe will only be like 20 foot long, the river will be a huge loop. I have planned a mainline to the basement (storage) that will follow the river. Problems.... Like I said I measured out about 140 foot loop but it runs dwn a pretty steep hill. I figure at 3% grade I can only drop about 4.5 foot max. I need to make every bit of 10 foot! I could go into the basement higher up the window but not sure how. I sure wish I could post some pics!
 

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We get very little heaving here. But I used 45 Mil Liner and cover the stream with cement to look more realistic with imbeded rocks.Problem was it changed the Ph of the water some which is higher here anyhow.I put some deep pockets in the stream so the mosquito fish could live there.Has worked out fine for 6 yrs. now.
The problem I have heard about roofing rubber is it is treated with mildew resistant chemicals that can effect the fish. I also have a large preformed I have'nt used in yrs. It was a pain to dig out just right and backfill properly, but if you have lots of time ! I would backfill some then hose it down to settle the dirt and backfill more, etc.
 

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If you use a pre formed pond you can pin it down with rebar but not through the pond of course! If you do not pin it down it will float up....If you use a liner it is best to limit the surface area and go deeper if you want fish. I think the guide is five to ten gallons per one inch of fish length. If you have a large surface area exposed to the sun you will have a time with algae. Another way to avoid that is to have the surface covered in plants.

To the person building the 144' stream you could bury a plastic barrel with the inlet about 1" below your pond surface. That way it could pump the barrel out and not effect your pond level over the inch difference and when the water made it back to the pond it would overflow in the barrel. There is ways to build a quiet overflow as to eliminate the suction sounds (google durso standpipes).

Good Luck.
 
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