Many pond builders have started out in the water garden industry by building ponds the easy way, by using a rubber liner, biofalls, and a sump pump. Many of these landscapers were not informed of what to expect in terms of durability and the longevity of these building materials. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of the pond liners only warranty this material against factory defects. A few years down the road and a few water features under their belts, and the bad news starts trickling in from perplexed or downright irate customers, complaining of losing water from their ponds. There are a myriad of reasons:

-- Improper sealing of liner seams;
-- Holes in the liner caused by the weight of the boulders sitting on the surface stretching the liner;
-- Holes created by burrowing animals (gophers, ground squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, groundhogs)
-- Holes created by children with sharp toys or objects like sticks, lawn darts etc.;
-- Holes created by the sharp claws of dogs, raccoons, hooves of deer, moose etc.;
-- Holes made by roots of trees and plants like rhododendrons;
-- Leaking around drains, piping and skimmers.

There are many of these pond builders who have tried to solve the leak problems to satisfy their clients, but have done so at a very high financial cost. After 15 years of pond liner construction in Southern California, these liner short falls are showing up on a regular basis. The problem is so prevalent that many realtors are asking their clients to remove the liner pond from their yard and fill the hole before they will list the house since the liner ponds are such a great liability and litigation risk for the realtor, bank and seller of the home.

I would highly recommend to any contractor who is constructing ponds with liners, that they should make it very clear to the client prior to signing a contract that there are certain liabilities associated with this type of construction. You should let your clients know in advance that a liner has limitations, and then explain in detail what those limitations are. You should also let the customer know that for approximately 20% more, you can construct their pond and waterfall out of concrete and rebar which would increase their pond's lifespan by decades. Because many pond builders only know how to construct a pond using a rubber liner, they do not make concrete and rebar an option for the client. This fact alone can create a serious customer relations problem in the future, when the customer finds this fact out on their own, especially after a couple of minor leaks.

If the customer is told about all of the potential issues with maintenance and upkeep associated with liners and compares this to the peace of mind, lack of maintenance and upkeep, and the overall longevity and the equity added to their real estate, they will most likely opt for reinforced concrete construction for the extra 20% in cost. The author has constructed well over 2,000 reinforced concrete ponds and waterfalls over the past 30 years and has never encountered a crack or leak of any kind.

There are a number of other issues associated with liner ponds, such as the use of submersible pumps and the lack of bottom suction drains, that also create a serious issue with water circulation within the pond and higher maintenance costs associated with the inefficiency of a sump pump's energy consumption. Many liner pond installers avoid cutting the liner to install bottom suction drains since they can become a source for a leak. Unless water is drawn from the bottom of the pond, there can be areas that do not receive adequate circulation. Consequently, it will lead to stagnant water and algae problems.

When used in the proper applications, pond liners can become an asset rather than a liability for the simple fact that they do cost less than concrete construction and are quick and easy to install. So for situations where the pond is needed for a short period of time, a liner pond is the perfect solution.

Author's Bio: 

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, Master Waterfall Builder, architect, engineer, freelance writer, author, designer & builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in CA (30 years). Author of Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual was $49.00 in bookstores, and for a limited time only $14.95 available as a downloadable e-book. Also "The Ultimate Training Course" has been reduced from $149 to only $39.95. Invented the AquaFill electronic water level control system for ponds, pools, fountains & spas.