There’s nothing more calming than the tranquil sound of water trickling from a water feature and I can’t think of a better way to great guests to the house than having one right by the front door!Now that Spring is here, it’s a great time to start thinking about adding some curb appeal by installing a pond. Ready-made ponds are a great convenience. Here’s one we installed on one side of our front walkway. Head on over to the full tutorial with the lowdown on how we did it!
It is a simple and straightforward task to add a ridgid liner to the garden, but there are other considerations when the liner is going to be up against the edge of a walkway (as ours was). We ran into several challenges and I’ll show you how we resolved them.
But first, if you are installing a liner anywhere else in the garden, here are the general instructions. However, if you want to install a liner that will be intersecting with a walkway (like ours did), skip down to “Walkway Challenges”.
We started with a small kidney shaped pre-formed ridgid liner. It was very easy to install with a few simple tools and supplies (shovel, garden hose, sand, scoop, level). We placed the liner where we wanted it and then, using a hose, we marked out the outline of the shape (you can use marking paint or sand to mark also). We carefully measured the depth needed and also the depth and placement of any shelves we would also need to dig out (we have one shelf in our pond).
We dug out a hole to the shape and depth we measured and checked to make sure it was level once the liner was placed into the hole. Then we pulled it out again and added a few inches of sand to the bottom of the hole. This will help nestle the liner into the ground and keep it level. Keep adding sand until the liner stays steady without any rocking motion. It’s a good idea to tamp the sand down over the dirt on the bottom so the liner is seated securely. Continue to put the liner back in and check for level as you build up the sand. Making sure the pond is level is the most important step because water won’t stay securely inside the liner, where it belongs, if it’s tilted at all.
Once you’re satisfied with the fit, start to fill the liner with water from a garden hose and continue to make sure the liner is sitting level as it fills. If you notice any puckers in the liner, you’ll need to backfill with some of the dirt you removed to fill any air pockets (you can also use some sand). This is especially important underneath any shelves as you don’t want the liner to buckle under the pressure of the water – the liner needs solid support, both underneath and all around the sides!
When the liner is filled about halfway with water, backfill around all the edges with sand. We used a plastic hand trowel to direct the sand where we wanted it. A deep dustpan works well for this purpose too – place it away from the gap between the side wall and the liner (under the lip), then brush the sand into the gap to fill up the sides and secure it all around the edges.
We purchased some flagstone to hide the edges and finish it off (a few pictures follow in the next section).
When we first installed our liner it was with the recognition that one day we would be installing new paving stones. We actually ended up doubling our work because of that; we had to re-support the pond when we updated the walkway. This is how the walkway looked before we installed the new pavers. As you can see the liner is level and sits on top of the stone slab.
To dress is up, we bought natural flagstone and placed it all around the edges of the liner to hide it.
Be sure to buy different thicknesses so you’re able to stack it up to different levels since you’ll have higher gaps in the back and side than the front where it meets up with the walkway!
Here’s how the pond looked before we updated the walkway with new pavers. It looked quaint, but there was still lots of room for improvement; we knew we could do even better!
Notice that the stone around the edge looks a little skimpy? That’s because we didn’t buy enough initially. It’s sometimes hard to judge how much you’ll need until you’ve got the stone on site! Oh well, just be prepared to take another trip back to the stone yard.
When we finally got around to updating the old stone on the walkway from concrete slabs to pavers (before and after shown below) we wanted to be able to easily pull the liner out of the hole so we could power wash it each Spring and then put it back, ready to fill with clean water.
B4 and after of walkway and pond
Easy upkeep and maintenance is always an important factor to us. Our biggest challenge was figuring out how to remove the liner without disturbing the base underneath our pavers and having it all crumble into the pond each time we lifted it out.
My husband and I put our heads together and came up with a brilliant idea using some concrete blocks, construction adhesive and some metal edging that we had left over from installing our walkway. Once you read through the detailed instructions on my blog, it will all make sense!
Since our liner was already installed as outlined above, our first step was to set up string lines so we could determine the finished level of the walkway and where we needed to place concrete blocks to fall just under the lip of the liner. Then we dry fit the concrete blocks around the front edge of the pond where it was going to intersect the walkway. We needed to stack the blocks two-high in order to get the height we needed. We kept taking the liner out and putting it back in as we dry fit the stones to ensure it would sit level once the stones were in place. You might have to add some sand into the bottom of the hole at this point to make sure the liner nestles properly.
The finished pond 🙂
The process will look like a mess in the interim, but stick with me here and you will end up with a pond similar to the one above!I should mention that we ran electrical to the pond (rated and weather protected for outdoor use) so we could install a pump. If you don’t have circulating water, your beautiful pond will just be a breeding ground for mosquitos!
To finish off the vignette, I also built the trellis shown below.
Final exclamation mark on our pond project!
Of course, once we got started we couldn’t stop at just the front door. We overhauled our backyard too!
Head on over to Birdz of a Feather for the full tutorial (and pictures) on how to complete the water feature shown today. For other home and garden projects, follow me on Birdz of a Feather and right here on Hometalk.
If you stay tuned, I’ll have an upcoming post on how to create another soothing water feature – this time, for the backyard (sneak peak blow) 🙂
Are you ready to attempt a water feature in your own garden?
Stay tuned for my next water feature project!