Setting the Rock Edge
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72722 - Manuel Calurano - Conversation
between a nightingale and a frog.mp3
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times:  The ENTIRE
PERIMETER of your pond needs to be level with the finished water
line.  That means FLAT, not sloped.  It doesn't matter if you're
using flat rocks, round rocks, bricks, blocks, or pickles.  None of it
will set in place for very long on a slope.  And besides, that's why
they make, and you bought, flexible pond liner!

To recap, you should have about 1' to 1½' of extra pond liner
around the entire perimeter of your pond.  If you're using round
rocks, use the biggest ones here and set them along the inside
edge of the pond, right up to the water line, trying to find rocks
that fit together nicely.  If the rocks are big enough, you can even
lap them over the edge of the pond so they stick out over the
water a little bit.  
Once you have several rocks set in place, bend the liner up
behind the inside rock and set another large rock on the
liner on the outside of the pond edge to hold it in place.  
Think of it like a rock sandwich, with liner in the middle.  
This liner lip, or edge, or whatever you want to call it will
keep the water in the pond and the surrounding dirt and
mulch out.  

When you have the big rocks set in place, you should have
liner showing between the rocks set along the inside edge of
the pond and the rocks set around the outside boarder.  Use
smaller rocks to cover this liner edge and you'll never see it.

You may, in some cases, have additional liner in some spots
around the perimeter of your pond.  After all, the liner is
square (or rectangular) and more than likely your pond is not.
If you want to, you can cut this extra liner off once the
rock boarder is in place, or you can fold it up under itself
and cover it with dirt, mulch or more rocks.  I personally
like to leave as much extra liner around the edges of ponds
as possible, so I rarely cut it back unless there's a massive
because you never know . . . . .  You never know if the
owner is going to want to widen the pond, for example.  If
you initially dug your pond too shallow and want to go back
and make it deeper, you can do it if you have enough
left-over liner hiding around the perimeter under the
rocks.  Some people I have installed ponds for decide that
they want to put in a bog garden utilizing the extra liner on
one corner of the pond.  If you haven't cut off and
disposed of this liner, you can add a bog garden - no
problem.  No seams to deal with and everybody's happy.
If you are setting flat rocks around the entire perimeter of
your pond, instead of using the big rocks first, use the
smaller.  Flat rock typically comes in two sizes:  Wall stone
(for building decorative retaining walls), and Steppers
(guess what they're used for).  Use the wall stone first,
making sure the front edge, or the edge along the inside of
the pond, all fits together nicely.  It doesn't matter if the
back edges of these rocks look nice or fit like puzzle pieces
because they're going to be covered with another layer of
rocks.

When you have the first layer of rocks in place, lap the liner
up and over these rocks (like you're folding it back into the
pond).  Now backfill against the liner up to the top of the
rocks and stomp it in place.  Make sure that the backfilled
dirt is well compacted and level.  Then flip the liner back
over the compacted dirt and install your stepper rocks on
top of the exposed liner, overlapping the first layer.
If you can't get your soil adequately compacted, you may need to set a row of wall stone sized rock behind the first row,
bending the liner up in between to get the desired "sandwich" effect.  The important thing is that you create a barrier edge
with the liner to keep the water in your pond and any surrounding dirt out.  Make sure that when you install your steppers on
top of these wall stones to cover the liner, the top stones aren't "tippy", as you're going to be walking on these and don't want
to take an unexpected plunge into the pond!
Write me at:  pondgal@gridcom.net
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