Pictured left are all the components you will need to install the EasyPro
Bottom Drain. They consist of 3" flex PVC, a 4" x 3" rubber reducing screws
you will need to screw the "O" ring to the drain basin. You will also need
silicone sealant, a flat-head and a Philips- head screw driver, and a drill.
The bottom of the pond should be sloped to the center where the bottom
drain will be installed. You want the bottom drain at the lowest point in your
pond. When the pond is up and running, the slope of the bottom of the
pond towards the bottom drain will help pull in debris using gravity and water
flow. Dig a pit for the bottom drain basin so that the top edge of the drain
basin is level with the bottom of the pond floor.
You can always backfill around it later to level it up. Next, dig a trench for the flex pipe
across the bottom of the pond and up the side to where the skimmer box will be set. The dirt
from all this digging does not need to be removed from the pond, as you will need it to backfill
against the drain basin and cover the flex pipe. Any excess dirt can be smoothed up the slope
of the pond bottom. If you dug your first plant shelf 8" - 10" below the finished waterline, you
can dig the trench to end at that level and be on target.
Put the bottom drain basin and flex pipe together by runing a bead of silicone around inside of
the 4" of the 3" x 4" rubber coupling and slide the coupling onto the bottom drain basin. Run
your finger around the inside of the coupling to remove any excess silicone and tighten the
coupling down onto the basin with the flat-head screw driver.
Next, run a bead of silicone around the inside of the 3" end of the rubber coupling and slide
an end of the flex pipe into the coupling. Keep in mind that although this is "flex pipe", at a 3"
diameter, it's not all that flexible, so before you tighten down the rubber coupling, be sure
the natural bend of the flex pipe curves up from the bottom drain basin.
Set the bottom drain basin into the pit you have dug for it,
with the flex pipe running up the trench in the side of the
pond. If the bottom drain doesn't set level in the hole no
matter how hard you try to stomp it in place, remove the
Once you have the dirt around the bottom drain basin
and flex pipe packed firmly in place, remove the cinder
block and insert the support tube. The support tube will
stay in place as you set the geotextile underlayment and
liner and having it poking up will not damage anything.
Having it there will also remind you where the the
bottom drain is once everything is covered with liner so
you don't step in it. Not that that's ever happened to ME!
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basin and dig a little extra dirt from around the area where the coupling goes. The coupling
needs more width and depth than the rest of the flex pipe, and often times to get the basin
to set level you will need to take out a little more dirt in this area. Once you have the basin
where you want it and reasonably level, place a cinder block on it to keep it in place. You
can of course stand on the basin to keep it in place while you backfill against it, but unless
you've done this before, it's easier to just set a cinder block on it. Now stomp the dirt in
around the bottom drain basin, right up to the edge, cover the flex pipe and stomp the dirt
Now you're ready to do the unthinkable. Cut a hole in the bottom of your
pond liner!! EEEEK! Take a deep breath and follow my lead. Cut around
the support tube and make a hole large enough to fit your hand through,
but not large enough to expose any of the basin edge. Slide your hand
under the liner and cut away all the underlayment so that none of it
touches the basin lip when the liner is pressed back into place. If any of the
underlayment laps over onto the edge of the bottom drain basin, you will
not get a water-tight seal on the basin and all the water will drain out of
your pond. Bummer. Once you are sure no underlayment is touching the
top rim of the bottom drain basin, reach your hand under there and clean
the top of the basin edge with a wet paper towel and then dry it
completely. Add a thick, wiggly bead of silicone around the entire flat edge
of the bottom drain basin, smooth it out with your finger, and press the
liner in place, making sure there are no folds and the liner lays completely
At this point, we are only "pre-setting" the liner, meaning it doesn't have to be folded and fitted into every nook and cranny.
It IS, however, vitally important that you pre-set the liner with care because you don't want to end up with not enough liner on
one side of the pond once you have a hole cut in the bottom of the liner. That would be a BIG problem! First, unroll your
underlayment and set it in the pond. Work your way from the bottom of the pond UP. Standing in the bottom of the pond on
the underlayment you will be able to make sure you have an adequate amount of underlayment to cover each plant shelf, up
the vertical, and still have enough left over at the top edge around the boarder.
Next, unroll your liner next to the pond. If your liner only fits one direction because your pond is longer than it is wide, now is
the time to find that out. Remember, liner looks bigger when it's laid out on a flat surface, so measure it to see which direction
it goes before you put it in the pond. Also, 45 mil rubber fish-safe pond liner has the PondGuard logo stamped on one side of
the liner. I always like to put this side down, as even though the writing isn't very obvious, I've never met a person who wants
to look at it in their finished pond.
Work the liner into the pond slowly, starting at the end farthest from the waterfall and pulling the liner along it's edge into the
pond gradually, trying not to pull the underlayment in along with it. (You'll really start appreciating those plant shelves right
about now!) When you get the liner pulled all the way across to the far side of the pond, go around all the edges, picking up
each edge and moving any excess liner into the pond, leaving yourself a foot to a foot and a half of liner to work with later
around the top edge of the pond. You may end up with more, but for now, make sure you have enough on all sides. You will be
working any excess liner from the bottom of the pond up as you did with the underlayment and any excess liner will be worked
to the far side of the pond where the waterfall will be going. Jump back into the bottom and smooth the liner out, starting at
the bottom drain (which you have marked with the support tube). When you get to the first vertical side, stand right next to
the side on the liner and pull the liner up onto the plant shelf above. Work your way around the pond this way, going up a
level every time around. Eventually, the water will hold the liner in place, but for now, the weight of you standing on the
liner will be enough to work it up out of the pond and ensure that you have it set in there with enough to have extra along all
NOTE: We want any excess liner to end up at the waterfall end of the pond to work up the waterfall when we get to that
point. I will explain this more in detail later, but for now, just trust me and do it.
You will now need your drill, Philips-head screw driver, a utility knife, and the large "O" ring and screws provided in the bottom
Hey, don't wimp out and stop now just because it's 120 degrees at the bottom of that black rubber pit! We want to get this
done before the silicone sets up!!
Select a drill bit that is slightly smaller in diameter than the screws provided. Now comes the tricky part. In most cases, your
drill bit is going to be longer than the space between the lip of the basin and the bottom of the basin itself. Take your finger
and slide it under the lip of the bottom drain basin and feel how far it is to the basin itself. We DO NOT want to drill through
the basin, so be very careful with your drill! Set the "O" ring on top of the liner and line it up carefully with the inside edge of
the drain basin beneath. The top of the "O" ring will have little indentations where the holes are to be drilled to set your
screws. You can stand or kneal on the "O" ring to keep it in place while you're drilling and setting the screws. Start by first
drilling a hole in the "O" ring where it is marked with an indentation, and down through the lip of the bottom drain basin,
making sure to NOT drill through the basin itself. Screw it down by hand on opposite sides, first drilling, then setting the screw
in each hole as you go as shown, all the way around the "O" ring.
The silicone will need very little time to set up enough for you to start filling your pond, so
take a bit of time to get any folds out of the bottom of the pond liner and then go grab the
garden hose. The bottom basin will fill up first, then the water will creep out across the
liner. Water is very heavy (8 pounds per gallon), so if you have any nasty folds on the bottom
of the pond, now is the time to get them out. Once you have more than 2" of water on the
liner, it will be too heavy to move. Only fill your pond to the first plant shelf, or if you have
a REALLY deep pond with no plant shelves, fill it with about a foot of water or up to a level
that you have marked. Then go get yourself something cold to drink and sit down and relax
for a while! Let the pond sit overnight to make sure the seal on the bottom drain is good.
Once all the screws are installed, carefully cut the excess liner away from the inside of the drain
opening with a sharp utility knife and remove any excess silicone. Never cut the liner with your
hand behind it for support.
If there's any dirt or shavings from the drill bit in the basin, scoop them out and slide the nub of
the bottom drain lid onto the support tube. If the nub is too big for the support tube, take the
tube out and cut an "X" across the top at the end of the tube with a hacksaw, down about an
inch. This will give you enough play to get the nub into the support tube while still maintaining
the tube's integrity. This bottom drain is very sturdy, and you can stand on the lid once it's on
the support tube without hurting anything.
People (men) often ask me why I don't use a drill with a Philips-head bit in it to tighten down the
screws. The reason is that you are drilling through and setting screws in plastic, and a drill with a
Philips-head bit would easily strip out the hole and make the screw next to useless. Tightening
the screws down by hand is a little more work, but it's the right way to do it.
If you wake up the next morning, and the pond is empty, you have a leak in the bottom
drain. There are tricks to finding leaks in ponds, and the first trick of the trade is to
eliminate the possibilities of where the leak is. Every time you cut a hole in your liner or fire
up a pump, fill 'er up and let your pond set overnight. If the bottom drain is sealed
correctly, we can move on to setting the liner and skimmer box. If not, we need to re-do it
before we move on, but at least we know where the leak is!