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Which Pond Liner is Best for Your Garden Fish Pond?

Updated on July 27, 2009

A pond liner serves the vital purpose of creating an essential wall between the water in your pond and the dirt in which it is dug. Without this border, you would soon find that where you once had a pond, you now have an air-filled hole! The water would become murky and would likely soon drain out and into the ground. Therefore you could say that a garden pond liner is almost as essential to the existence of the pond as is the water itself.

In this article we’ll give an overview of the various considerations one must make in choosing their liner. This is not rocket science, but it is not second nature either (at least if you have never done it before). Assuming you are going to be putting fish in the pond, even more considerations must be made, especially as relates to safety. Who wants a bunch of dead fish floating around in their front yard?

Fish Pond (c/o DelosJ @
Fish Pond (c/o DelosJ @

Preformed Fish Pond Liners

A preformed pond liner is one that has already been fashioned in a factory somewhere. Whatever shape it comes in, that’s how it’s staying. The benefit of this is that there is a lot less work on your part that you have to do. You just make sure that the hole in your yard is approximately the right size and then drop the preformed liner on down into it.

Of course, this is also the negative aspect of going this route: you are limited in exactly what shape you can build your pond. Especially for those more creative types this turns out to be a bit of a turnoff. Did you want to make your fish pond in the shape of the first letter of your last name? Well good luck finding a manufacturer who makes pond liners in the shape of letters! It’s not going to happen.

Avoid Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

One thing you really should avoid is using a pond liner which will be toxic to your fish. I know they’re just fish, but what is the point of shortening their lives unnecessarily? As stated earlier, none of your neighbors are going to be thrilled at the prospect of living next to the dead fish family!

Beyond the negative health aspects of plastic and PVC liners, they will also break down in structure over time. There are better ways to invest your money long term.

Firestone EPDM Pond Liner: The Best

Believe it or not, Firestone (yes, the tire company) makes pond liners. In fact, they make an EPDM liner which is considered by many to be the best one on the market. It is completely fish safe and has a life of at least 20 years. This may sound very heavy duty but it is in fact the standard. The Firestone pond liner is not the same as roofing EPDM. It contains no algaecides or fire retardants. The 45 mil, and not the 60 mil variety, is all you will need for a typical residential garden pond. I would expect to pay about $0.45 per square foot.


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