Correct Way to do Pond Edging


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I've got a 10' x 15', 45 mil liner, a pump and filter. You guys helped me decide on the liner underlayment, thanks. Plus during that help, I now know that I need the edge of the pond to be higher than the ground around the pond. I wasn't thinking about that, so I'm going to have the edge about 3 - 6" up.

I've got a couple more questions. Since I'm limited with the pond size, what is the minimum distane the liner should overlap the edge? Does it shrink over time?

I wasn't going to add plant shelves around the outside, just have it drop so what steep. I've read the steps may encourage animals to enter and they may collapse over time.

As for the edging, I was planning on using flat rocks. I haven't seen it at either Lowes or HD, but there's a block and supply place that has everything, so that's probably where I'm going. Is there a certain type of rock to use or is it just a personal preference?

After digging the hole, placing the underlayment, placing the liner, do I just lay the rocks right on top of the liner?

Around the rock edging is it safe to use mulch or should I use rounded stone? I'm wondering if the mulch would blow into the pond.

This is the first pond I've ever done, so any advise from experience would be appreciated.
 
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sissy

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It settles in place mine settled at least a few inches around 8 I think .I used cement block to raise my pond and put liner over that and then a few inches out I built a retaining block wall .This way i could hide the excess liner .
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Aside from the input here, I would go to youtube and watch several pond build videos, as everyone will have a different opinion. I think between the two, it will give you a good feel of what should work for your situation.

With our main pond, hubby dug a small shelf specifically for his first course of rocks,

Here's just the whole ...



and here's tight against the house, with rock and mulch ...



 
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sissy - Any photos?

capewind - It's hard to tell from the photos, but it looks like all the hole is below the grade. Wouldn't this allow runoff to flow into the pond? By the way, I love the look of the rocks you used. I assume they're just on the ledge and not all the way down to the bottom. Are the rocks just sitting on the liner and is there anything filling the gaps?
 
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There is some concern with the water coming off the roof, as there are no gutters yet, but there is a pipe in the ground (french drain) that the gutters will eventually be connnected to ... Havent experienced any problems THAT WE KNOW OF however ...

The pond is actually completely ABOVE grade ... bad pics but in a hurry to get out the door ... be back in a bit ...



 

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In case you did not get what others are saying... meaning this is a reapeat.

Dig the hole a bit smaller they your pond size. Set blocks around the edge on stable ground. You can add dirt to the back side of the blocks to stabilize them. Add the liner and cap with rocks.

If you live in an area where it freezes do not allow concrete block, pavers, or bricks to come in direct contact with the water. The soak up the water and turn to rubble when it freezes. Dperry has a good video here on making water proof edging to cover the liner if you want to go that route.
 
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capewind - Thanks, those photos show it better.

HTH - Why would I need to lay a row of blocks around the edge on the ground? This would make the rocks under and on top of the liner. I was planning on placing the underlayment, then the liner, then rocks on top of the liner around the edge. I was going to swale the ground around the pond to avoid any runoff.
 

sissy

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I wish I had build pics but did not have a good camera .I dug my hole and at the top I added one row of concrete block with rebar pounded down in them and packed solid with dirt i wet as I packed it in .No motor after that a foot out i put the retaining wall block .I then installed my liner and started to fill the pond and liner than settled into place .I then back filled with mulch as an insulator between the 2 .Then on top of the block I just bought 2x12 salt treated wood and that is so heavy it does not move .I gave my self a 300 dollar budget and i stayed in that liner I got for 50 dollars as a closeout .I added the second filter and now the rebuild of the other waterfall .Some of the retaining wall block I got off craigslist 50 block for 25 dollars and I had to take them out .The rocks i got free from streams around here and i clean them really good before using .The new oval tank I got 3 of them for 20 dollars and they are heavy rubber .Snow runoff and really heavy down pours are the scariest part .The you never knows can come back to get you .You tube really has lots of great video's and if you look at the side pics of my pond where the rocks are standing on edge you can see the liner hanging over the block wall .The reason I did it is because my property slopes from back to front of the property.You can see the pond up at the left hand corner of the house
 

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HTH

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First know there are several ways to do this.

Let me try again.

When you dig a hole you have two problems.

1st it is generally at ground level and rain water will run in

2nd dirt does not create or hold a sharp edge that most people want

You dig the hole
Ring it with leveled blocks and back fill
Lay the liner
then add the rocks
 
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falconut said:
By the way, I love the look of the rocks you used.
Just the typical rock we have here. Need LOTS more

falconut said:
I assume they're just on the ledge and not all the way down to the bottom. Are the rocks just sitting on the liner and is there anything filling the gaps?
They are just sitting there, but you do want to spend the time to find the ones that fit together best, for stability.
 
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HTH said:
Dig the hole a bit smaller they your pond size. Set blocks around the edge on stable ground. You can add dirt to the back side of the blocks to stabilize them. Add the liner and cap with rocks.
Some difference of opinion here. NOT saying he is wrong, but this will depend on the compacting ability of your soil, drainage/leaching ability, as well as how steep you want your sides. In our situation, we didnt need block.

THAT said, if you look at the last pictures I posted where our pond is clearly built above grade, we DO have a different issue to deal with. Realistically, all we did was make a mound of dirt around the sides, and left a hole in the middle... the dirt hillside NEEDS retaining. Been watching for erosion (so far, so good) ... where you see the underlayment (weed barrier) next to the boulders, in a few weeks, there will be a waterfall/small river, leading to the next pond (will only look connected to the pond above) ... the rest of the hillside will have larger rocks "planted" into the hill side, with hill holding type plants (I want blue rug junipers, but need to see what hubby plans) ...

I am NOT a fan of rocks below the waterline. Hubby did one for a client, and it looks nice (they didnt want to see so much liner), but not something I want. Dont want to risk the fish getting hurt on them, but here's a picture...

 
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I use bond beam block. It's a common type of concrete block.



Makes it easy to get a perfectly level edge all the way around. That allows for the pond to be filled right to the top which is a look I like. Tuck the extra liner inside the block and fill with soil. The result is about 2" of exposed liner. You can plant in the soil right up to the edge to hide the liner or lay some rock on top to cover.

The business about the pond being above the surrounding ground is a good idea to reduce risk of a floating liner. Keep in mine it's the water level in the pond that has to be above the surrounding ground, not just the edge. Block makes it easier to get those tight tolerances right.

There's no reason to have concrete block inside the pond...but if you do don't worry about concrete, water, freezing and rubble. Concrete has been used billions of times in wet/freezing conditions for several hundred years. It performs well.
 
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Waterbug said:


Makes it easy to get a perfectly level edge all the way around.
Excuse me WB, but I have to ask a really stupid question here. I understand/accept that there are a lot of ways to do something, but this statement makes absolutely no sense to me. Blocks would make a more solid top, but to say using blocks will make it easy to make it perfectly level isnt true, or I cant see HOW it would be true. Block or no block, the dirt would need to be LEVEL ... if the dirt wasnt compact and level before laying the blocks, the blocks will settle in time... also, I am curious of the liner going over the block in this manner, if it is possible for water to wick into the inside of the block??? It isnt my intent to say you are wrong, I am just not understanding your statements.

Waterbug said:
That allows for the pond to be filled right to the top which is a look I like. Tuck the extra liner inside the block and fill with soil. The result is about 2" of exposed liner. You can plant in the soil right up to the edge to hide the liner or lay some rock on top to cover.
Our liner isnt exposed at the water level. Specifically, that's why hubby puts a shelf for the first course of rocks. The first course of rock is a minimum of 4" below surface level, so there is NO exposed liner above water level. The liner goes up behind at least two courses of rocks, and then is folded over/hidden between the rocks. I wish I had the knowledge to draw on a program as you do. Will DRAW on paper and snap a picture of what I am talking about .... Im not much of an artist... The "R" in the little boxes represent ROCKS .. Height of rocks above water line is determined by rock choice ... basketballs will give a taller wall to surrounding grade than something thin like flagstones ...

 
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capewind - The picture is great, I can see exactly what you did. I was wondering why you'd want the liner lower that the existing grade. But, by your picture, it's not.
 

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Remember to check your water table and if it has high you may need drains under the pond liner .I would ask around to see if any one has had any issues with it just in case .
 
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That's hubby's work, not mine. I am still learning. There are lots of options of how to do things, that's why I said to look at youtube in addition to the input here, so you could figure out what would work best for your situation.

He will be doing 2 more ponds in the next few weeks ... the one here will be super slow going, as we are still short rocks for the main pond, but the other will be for a client. I'll try to take good pictures. That pond wont be fancy by any means, for lack of better wording it's a budget pond for a very good client, but it will be along the lines of what a homeowner could do. Just these clients are well into their senior years. It's removing a crappy pond someone else did for them, and giving them what they wanted in the first place.
 
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There is no one way to do the edge , I'm still trying to finishing a pond i built this spring ,the same pond has 2 different edges both hide the liner
 

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The FIRST thing I said was
"First know there are several ways to do this."
capewind said:
Some difference of opinion here. NOT saying he is wrong, but this will depend on the compacting ability of your soil, drainage/leaching ability, as well as how steep you want your sides. In our situation, we didnt need block.
 
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capewind said:
Excuse me WB, but I have to ask a really stupid question here. I understand/accept that there are a lot of ways to do something, but this statement makes absolutely no sense to me. Blocks would make a more solid top, but to say using blocks will make it easy to make it perfectly level isnt true, or I cant see HOW it would be true. Block or no block, the dirt would need to be LEVEL ... if the dirt wasnt compact and level before laying the blocks, the blocks will settle in time...
I'm not really following your issue, but I can tell you that "using blocks will make it easy to make it perfectly level" wasn't meant to mean for all cases, for all people or that there is no other way to make a pond level. It's an opinion, like every post. So yes, it is indeed easy to make a perfectly level edge using block.
capewind said:
Block or no block, the dirt would need to be LEVEL ... if the dirt wasnt compact and level before laying the blocks, the blocks will settle in time...
Yes, of course. To me if a person digs out a lot of dirt they don't have to, well, that's not easy. Dig the entire pond out just to the depth of one course of block. Undisturbed, exactly the same way a footer has to be dug. Lay the block all the way around on bare, undisturbed soil. Now you some bed material. I use decomposed granite (sometimes called minus granite, rock dust, etc.) but sharp sand can be use, dry mortar mix. Some portland can be mixed with the decomposed granite, sand, to create a weak mortar, which is how we lay patio flagstone here (thick type, not veneer). Use a water level to find the highest block.

Pour a little of the bed material into the block and lift it a little so the material gets under the block, hit the block with a rubber mallet to set. Level that block with a torpedo level (or any level). I like the torpedo because of the window in the top is easier to see the bubble.

Set the water level to that block and repeat for all other blocks.

With just a bit of attention to detail you get a perfectly level collar. I can set an entire collar in less than an hour for even a good size pond once the base has been dug. The dirt doesn't have to be perfectly flat, the bed material makes the smooth flat base. Just don't use play sand or beach sand.

You can also just use loose dirt as long as the bed isn't too thick. A bed of loose soil 1" thick and with the block set with a rubber mallet isn't going to settle enough to matter. We'd be talking 1/16" of an inch max.

I've never had a problem with a single course. Can be stood on without moving. But, sandy soil or a builder just wants less risk multiple courses can be done including all the way below the freeze line if that is a concern. Same exact method for the first course. once that's set and level the additional courses can just be dry laid with the top course bond beam. All voids can be filled and tamped with soil, or the bed material, or concrete, depending how far a person wants to go.
capewind said:
also, I am curious of the liner going over the block in this manner, if it is possible for water to wick into the inside of the block??? It isnt my intent to say you are wrong, I am just not understanding your statements.
In the picture water wouldn't wick. Not sure what you're seeing. Maybe you can draw something? Depending on if and how the liner is later covered could cause wicking, but that doesn't have anything to do with collar method and would be true for any method.


capewind said:
Our liner isnt exposed at the water level. Specifically, that's why hubby puts a shelf for the first course of rocks. The first course of rock is a minimum of 4" below surface level, so there is NO exposed liner above water level. The liner goes up behind at least two courses of rocks, and then is folded over/hidden between the rocks. I wish I had the knowledge to draw on a program as you do. Will DRAW on paper and snap a picture of what I am talking about .... Im not much of an artist... The "R" in the little boxes represent ROCKS .. Height of rocks above water line is determined by rock choice ... basketballs will give a taller wall to surrounding grade than something thin like flagstones ...
That is a standard pond construction method and is used a lot. It works fine, it's fast and results look good.

However, all of the concerns you posted about the block would be just as true when using rock. In both cases you need undisturbed soil and you need a bedding material to level the rocks unless of course you're not too concerned with a level result...but that's true when using block too. Block doesn't have to be made level. I do make it level because I like the look of a full pond. Laying rock is way more time consuming to get the same result as block.

I don't like the rock edge method because it isn't as stable and it's harder to get a level edge for maximum water level.


There are block collar options. This shows a place for water plants.


Another type of plant area.

Rock veneer to cover liner.


Another rock veneer cover. Also shows multiple courses if desired.
 
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HTH said:
The FIRST thing I said was
"First know there are several ways to do this."
You did say that, as have I ... what I was trying to get across is it will depend on his situation and what he wants:)
 

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