Does a pond hole have to be perfect before underlay and liner installation?


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Perfect as in completely smooth and level on all sides. My 7x7 ft diameter circle pond hole has a lot of rocks and junk in it. I can definitely level out the bottom with sand but the sides of the hole is the main problem. There are so many voids and open pockets from all the rocks that were removed and is impossible to level out smoothly. Do I really have to smooth out the sides or will I be ok? If not, how do I go about this? It's almost like swiss cheese.
 
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If your rubber doesn't go in these voids your fabric better be strong enough to hold the rubber out of it and there pressures. If the rubber spans over the void . In time if it starts to stretch it could easily rip and tear. As to the rocks are tge sharp are they round do they break apart just touching them . Some pictures are beyond helpful at this point .
The simple answer is yes it should be smooth or fabrics or carpet thick enough to protect the rubber


Bottom not being level shelves at different heights matters little especially if you don't plan on putting rock in the pond
 
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What could I do about the sides then? They are full of holes and very uneven. I already bought sand for the bottom so that is taken care of but I don’t know what to do about the sides of the hole...
 
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Depending on how big, perhaps expanding foam insulation? A "U" shaped loop of coat-hanger (wire or plastic), driven into the sides of the void to give the foam something to hang-on to...just thinking out-loud, I'll show myself out....
 
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Can you post a photo? It might help if we could see what you're working with.
 
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Take some photos and add them to this post itsvery easy to do
 
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I would pull any rocks that are sharp. Then go to the dirt you dig out, fill a bucket, make mud, and use that to fill any hole bigger than you feel comfortable leaving. Use an old colander to sift rock out of the dirt before making it into mud.
I would make small batches and treat it like filling holes in walls, grab a handful of mud, slap it in the hole till it just slightly over filled, then use the side of my hand to smooth it. For big holes, you may need to fill it in layers if it tries just seeping out.
 

addy1

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What could I do about the sides then? They are full of holes and very uneven.
Mine was like that, we have a lot of shale, every piece moved made another one show up, a hole , a bump, a rock sticking out etc
Very ragged sides and bottom.

I bought some cheap carpet padding and used it.
 
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Ah - that's a good kind @addy1 - some kind of padding that would fill those voids. Unless they are just really too big, then I'd go with @JamieB 's approach. Or maybe a combo.

Pictures will definitely help!
 
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Yea sorry by the time you guys asked for the pics I already had my underlay and liner ‘put in’. I didn’t finish it yet though, I just simply placed them in the hole because it is going to rain heavy today and I don’t want to have to deal with a puddling hole again. I did do Jamie’s method though, I gathered some smooth soil and just slapped it in as much voids as I can. Still not perfect though but it never is going to be. Here’s what I have so far. A little overkill on the size I think
A07CA231-29FA-4E2E-89E5-8147DC59CC0B.jpeg
 
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Overkill is good, it means you have a bit of room to expand or adjust to correct for overflows/ leaks.
 
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You have a lot of liner there. Why don't you make your pond a bit bigger?
It's always good to have extra liner, but that looks like a lot extra.
Oh, don't cut any excess liner, just conceal it. You never know if you will need it and if you cut it short, that's a problem. Fold the excess and cover it with stones, soil, or whatever.
A lot of us that get into this hobby started out small and eventually went with a bigger pond.
 
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I was thinking that too so I don’t waste the money I spent on the liners that big of size. How many feet overlap do you think is needed for this with a depth of 22-24 inches?
 
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When I built mine the sides weren't perfectly smooth. My soil is mostly rock and clay with some old roots from long dead trees. Since we can't see what you're working with I can only say the small divots and rock holes in mine I just filled in what I could and used good geotextile underlayment and haven't had any issues since filling the pond a month or so ago. I was careful to remove sharp roots and rocks so there wasn't anything too pointy in there though.
 

addy1

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I was thinking that too so I don’t waste the money I spent on the liners that big of size. How many feet overlap do you think is needed for this with a depth of 22-24 inches?
My pond is 5.5 feet deep at its deepest, I have maybe 6 inches or less liner as overlap. Which worked for me. No settling as my dirt is mainly rock.
You want enough overlap for any settling that might occur. But you don't need as much overlap as you have. I would dig out a side or sides and make a bigger pond. Also dig a shallow shelf all around the pond for rocks to lay on which covers the edge liner beautifully.

1605180388195.jpeg
 
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I would definitely get my money's worth out of that liner. While everyone says "don't cut off the excess in case you need it later" concealing SEVERA FEET of extra liner is going to be impossible. Most of our liner - when we were done trimming - was less than 18 inches around the entire pond, and even that was challenging to conceal in some spots. Just remember you can always cut more off, but you can't put it back once you've cut it off!

With the amount of excess material that you have, if you don't decide to dig bigger, I would position the liner so you have to majority of the excess along one side, so when you trim you're left with a few big, useable pieces instead of a bunch of strips. We way oversized our liner too, but by being smart with the trimming we were able to use two big pieces for other projects and I traded a few other good sized pieces with a local pond store - they used it on a project for a stream bed and I got a piece of hose that I needed.
 
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Thanks everyone for feedback. I decided to expand my pond a little and perhaps also create some shelves for my marginal plants to grow in. One question is, do the liners have to be placed on the shelf and you put soil on it? Or do you put the liners over the shelf and then above on the edge and just cut off the liner on the shelf?
 
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Look at @addy1's drawing above. You want your liner to come up and out of the pond and behind the edging rock. You then fold the liner down behind the back of the rock and fill behind it with soil to conceal it. Like a sandwich with rock on one side, dirt on the other and liner in the middle.

You don't need dirt for marginals - they can grow in gravel or even just the water if you anchor them with rocks until they get started.
 
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The shelf’s should be covered in liner. If it’s below the water line, it’s covered in liner. The purpose of liner is to maintain water in the pond. It looks like you have about 3 ft extra to each side. I would dig a deep spot in the center to allow mulm ( fish waste) to settle, and allow a place for fish to hide or for very bad winters. I would also dig a shelf about a foot deep, foot wide all along the sides, then a small shallow shelf about 4 inches deep for rocks to rest on to hide the liner.
 
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addy1

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One question is, do the liners have to be placed on the shelf and you put soil on it? Or do you put the liners over the shelf and then above on the edge and just cut off the liner on the shelf?
See the black line in the picture that is how the liner should be placed up and out of the pond. It makes a beautiful edge for your pond, no liner showing when done.
 

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