Koi Pond Liners vs. Professional Construction

Why is there so much talk about pond liners? Which ones are UV protected, or stronger, or last longer? I am by no means an expert on liner technology, nor have I ever used them in my 26 years of designing and building waterfalls. If youre a liner guy disciple, Im sure youre thinking, Oh no, here he goes. To tell the truth, I have been minding by own business for over two decades, just watching, reading and listening to all the experts.

Ive listened to how pond liners are simple to install, and pond liners are inexpensive compared to concrete and steel, and pond liners are quick to install. Or pond liners last for 50 years, pond liners bring higher profits to pond construction and waterfall construction, and liners dont contaminate the water with alkali as does concrete construction. Yes, Ive almost sold myself on listening to the facts of the experts. Well, not quite, due to a few facts of my own. So, a pond liner is guaranteed for 40 to 50 years? I would have to agree with that, as long as you leave it in its box the whole time. Too bad a liner manufacturers warranty doesnt include damage from gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, rats or mice. Or tree, plant and weed roots. Or from stretching and punctures in the liner due to heavy rocks and other sharp objects. Startling fact: a puncture only the size of a pin hole can cause a pond to lose one drip per second, or 5 gallons in just 24 hours. Thats a pin hole, not a hole made by a pair of buck teeth on a burrowing mammal. Imagine along with me for a minute. You have spent $350 on a pond design and then $8,000 of your hard-earned money for a pond and waterfall. This water feature is impressive. They dug a big hole, piled up some dirt at one end, draped a large rubber liner over the whole thing, and placed giant boulders all around the fish pond and on the dirt mound. Smaller rocks fill in between the boulder and additional rocks cover the liner in the pond. Now, its two years later and youve just come home from a two-week vacation to find the pond half empty (or half full, if youre a positive person).

There must be a leak! How did this happen? Where is it? No problem, you think, I remember the salesmans pitch: If you should ever get a leak, just clean off the area around the hole, dry it off, and using the directions enclosed in the patching kit, apply this patching material. But theres only one problem: Where is the leak? or leaks? How do I find them? And if I do find them, and Im successful in patching them up, whats to keep it from leaking again? Okay, Im going to snap my fingers and youll wake up. Snap! Surprise! That was only a mental exercise with a happy ending. It wasnt real! Or was it? Yes, it was. The short story you just heard was true. One out of every eight projects we do involves replacing the leaky liner for an angry fish pond/leaky liner owner. Why am I finally speaking up now, after 26 years and well over 1,900 waterfalls and fish ponds? Because Im angry, too! Not at the liner guy who sells the pond liners, but at his disciples around the country who are bragging how much money they make in just one or two days. Im not upset at the fact that they make in two days what takes me six to seven days to make in constructing my fish ponds of rebar and 3000 psi concrete.