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frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Posted by kraftymom_WA z6centWA (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 7, 05 at 14:47

I dug out a 6' by 8' pond, 1 foot deep, in my backyard and would love to finish it this month but the budget is tight! Any ideas on what I can use for inexpensive pond liner? The local hardware store sells it by the foot but it will be almost $100. I called a few roofing places to buy a scrap of EDPM but noone had any. I was wondering if a strong tarp would work?
I found a pump/fountain on ebay for under $20, that was a $50 savings from Home Depot, plus more gal per hour!
And for the finishing touch, flat rocks and pond plants...where can I find these inexpensively? Is it legal to dig a few water plants from wild streams/creeks?
if I purchase, which to choose that spread/grow quickly?!
I looked over on the ponds forum but they seem to do their ponds up right, and I just want a happy little puddle, on the cheap! to share with the wildlife...thanks for any help you offer!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I had a tiny pond for 1 summer. Used a tarp (I think it was just a regular blue one). It did hold some water but it leaked. Not very pretty either. ;) There may be some stronger tarps out there though...

Great job finding the fountain! Good deal.

As for finding pond plants...you could contact your Dept. of Natural Resources. Some plants are NOT to be taken from local streams and creeks. (But, honestly, I did sneak one or two cattails into my pond without checking) tsk tsk tsk on me. ;)

BTW, nothin wrong with just wantin a "happy little puddle". I loved my puddle the summer I had it!


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Don't know laws for your zone but the suggestion to contact DNR is an excellent one. Many people around here don't even realize that the just the possession of water hyacinth in your yard can cost you a $500 fine. Some plants shouldn't be taken because they are protected and others because of the threat that they pose as they spread.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Last year I used 2 layers of black plastic painters tarp from home depot,It held all summer with no leaks I dont know if it made it through the winter yet.My pond is also in a area that doesn't get a ton of sun so it may break down faster if it was in a sunny place. But I only spent $5 so if it needs redone no big deal!And as far as water plants go. I bought 2 water lettuce and 2 water hyacins they looked very lonely for awhile but by mid-june I was giving them away to anyone that would take em they were like zuccinni!!


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I have heard that you can use an old waterbed liner. Most people or Thrift storres can't give them away so they throw them in the trash . Do you have a Freecycle in your area ? Just write a wanted post and you'll have more liners than you can ever use ! If you are not familiar with Freecycle just go to their site- it ends with the FC name plus .org- if you know what I mean !


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Last summer our local supermarkets were selling a small rigid plastic kids pool for 5-6 dollars. 3-1/2 to 4 ft diameter, Maybe 10" deep. I tried to buy one but it wouldnt fit into the door of my tiny car. I expect they will be offered again this summer. Seems to be a tradition around here. It did have cartoon ducks and fish on the bottom, but you could cover that with a bit of gravel. I want one for my mallard duck visitors to play in. I thought it would be hilarious to see them swimming in circles. Made in USA too


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

A couple years ago, either here or in the ponds forum, someone posted a link to a page describing how to build a pond on the cheap. They used a "silo cap" bought from a farm supply store as a liner.
I no longer have the link as this was before my great computer meltdown. If you ask in the ponds forum, you'll probably get many posts telling you what a bad idea they think this is, but you might also get the link from someone who thought it was interesting and bookmarked it. It won't hurt to ask??


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants? !!!!

Duh....Google always has the answer, I should have checked there first....
try this...

Here is a link that might be useful: cheap pond


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

  • Posted by nomadh 10-11/so cal (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 26, 05 at 22:30

My pond liner is 45 mils and shouls last 20+ years. How long will these pond liners last? I'm looking to build another but I dont want to redo it every 2 or 3 years


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I don't know about pond liners, but I built a pond from a Rubbermaid storage container. It's about 12" wide, 18" long, and 20" or more deep. It was after Halloween, it had a black and orange top, so it was on clearance. This is the first year I have it so I'll see if I get any frogs in it.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Our first pond used the bottom of an above-ground swimming pool-- the kind that is only a few feet tall and about 10' across. The sides were rigid, and had to be discarded when they began to break down, but the bottom was flexible and still in good shape. We used it for several years before eventually replacing it with something studier.
I would also recommend feeder goldfish. They cost next-to-nothing, and will grow fat and sassy, and keep the mosquito wrigglers away.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Ok, I know this is an old thread, but wanted to add something to it. I think using a pool, waterbed liner would work great. Even a tarp. We used pond liner, but got a great deal on it. BUT what we do to all our ponds is cover them with about an inch or so of concrete. That way we don't have to worry about leaks and it makes cleaning SO MUCH EASIER!!! This is our 3rd pond (my FIL helped us with all of them and he has made 7 ponds at all their homes--3 with concrete)and I have to say I love the concrete the best. As far as rocks, we had a ton in our back yard and we were giving a plat of flagstone from DH's boss. So we really lucked out. If there is any construction going on around you and they are doing any digging, you could stop by and see if they have any rocks they want to get rid of. I know here in GA they will sometimes "clean" the dirt and you can get the rocks.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

What a great thread!
I have been thinking about using pieces of an inflatable pool I bought last year. It is one of those that have a couple of blow up rings and a little pump. It was stored rather hastily last year and well, the chickens discovered it and have been using it for all kinds of recreational activities and hen parties. Therefore, I believe it may have developed a couple of leaks since last year, lol.
Anyhow, my questions are:
If I were to cut away the sides and use only the blue bottom part to line the pool and I install it all snug and secure, could I use the pump that came with it to circulate the water???
If I put a few little fish in there, how would I keep them from being washed up, out and away by our torrential midwestern thunderstorms?
Ideas anyone?
Deb


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

You can get plants over on the aquatic plant exchange and Lowes just had a clearance rack of 4.99 plants for .25.

Pat


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

OK, I also live in WA, but the far west side. As for a liner; join freecycle and look for waterbed liners. It won't last forever but will work.

As far as rock. You can get them in one of our many Nat. Forests. They allows a car trunkfull with no problem. I do collect there often.

As for plants; you can collect for pesonal use on public lands. Nat. Forest and DNR. WA DNR has many areas open to the public.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

See if you have a local pond club in your area, or make friends with someone who has a pond. After a season or two, ponders start throwing away plants by the bucketful and most are more than happy to share!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Backyard Gardens


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

My hubby and I are the king and queen of doing things on the cheap. I've just discovered this forum and I think I'm gonna LOVE it. As for the pond.....we dug a fairly large pond, about 24'x20' three years ago. We used an old above ground pool liner, and because it was blue, we covered it with a black swimming pool cover...like a black tarp. A few strategically placed rocks on the bottom holds everything down nicely. We bought a regular sump pump from Lowes, the smallest one they sell, and it is hundreds cheaper than a "pond pump" and moves like 1500 gph. It is submerged in a black milk crate that is lined with the blue furnace filter stuff you buy by the sheet at Lowes. We used a piece of water hose piped up through an old pitcher pump as our water feature. The pond is stocked with feeder goldfish, about $1 per dozen. The pump is on a timer so it does not run 24/7 b/c those sump pumps aren't for continuous use, but it runs when I'm home in the evenings and all weekend long, and I've not had any trouble yet. I clean out the filter material by spraying it off with the hose about once weekly. I'm sure more serious ponders would cringe to read about my set-up, and I'm sure I've broken all kinds of rules doing it the way we did. But we have a $3000 pond for under $100, its been up and running for three years, nothing leaks, the fish are happy, so what more could a person ask for?
As for plants....I have some aquatics that I purchased, but I also have potted up some regular garden plants that do well potted in 1 gal pots with about 1-2" of water covering them. They include: daylilies (the old orange type), canna, obedient plants, and chameleon plant. You can buy any of these cheap. As a matter of fact, I'm sure someone would be glad to give you some orange daylilies or obedient plants.
I also made a small "frog pond" at my back entrance by burying a rubbermaid container I covered with a piece of left-over black tarp. A frog has lived in it for two years now.
Rocks were easy for me b/c an uncle in Va. happened to have several crates in his back yard. We brought them home in batches, a few at the time. I also picked up a few small rocks from a construction site. They used big ones and all the small ones were left in the pile and just stacked up in a corner. You might be able to look around and find similar circumstances. But you don't have to line your pond with rocks. You can use bricks, gravel or pebbles, or just plant to the very edge. Email me if you'd like. I would be happy to share some plants for postage, if your interested.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I had and enormous pond area; concrete lined but filled in. Previous ownders didn't have time to mess with it. Dug out, used 6 mil liner last year. Did Ok til german shepherd took baths in it and screwed up liner - lost ALL the water in two days. Concrete leaked. Soooo hubby and daughter bought me a rubberized half-barrel WITH fountain included from wally world. Can fit above bround, in ground alone, or in side whisky barrel. Put mine alone in the ground and it is great hit! Too small for dog, fountain gurgles all day and is home to frogs and dragonflies. Hubby and daughter ( I think they bought it for themselves, the stinkers) hang around it all the time! Cost $50. Hubby is frugal to say the least, but says for maintenance and ease it is the best 50 bucks he's spent in his life. THAT's saying something!!


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Check with pool companies.They throw away the liners from pools they repair. They will let you get whatever you want. I got two HUGE pool liners from them this year.


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water hyacinth protected?

I don't believe water hyacinth is protected that way.. it's considered a nuisance in most waterways because of it's speading habit.. sure you meant water hy.?

I think we all know that many plants are protected, but snagging a few anachris, and parrot feather from a mucky pond is something I'm sure all of us have done..

A couple of weeks ago, I took some Cow lily (very rampant ) a couple of crayfish, and a few tadpoles from a friends pond in upstate NY... Love that crayfish!

pat
at the Jersey shore

Pat


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

As a sub liner to protect the liner itself from rocks, etc., check with carpet companies. They often have large pieces that can be put into the hole first to protect the liner better and more easily than sand. They are usually only too happy to have someone haul the old pieces away.

Not original idea--borrowed from a professional pond builder from east Tennessee.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Water hyacinths' are extremely invasive IN areas where they don't have a freeze...thus continue to multiply. Florida for example. The fines are quite expensive for having them. In Montana (where I am) they are OK. Probably anything below a zone 7 or 8, but I'm sure you can google a list of states where they are illegal. An inexpensive plant is watercress from the grocery store...just throw it in and it will be happy:)


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Great ideas on cheap liners, but even though I AM cheap I did pay for a liner. I purchased one from Bend Tarp and Liner, I think it was about 1/2 the price of a EPDM liner and about 25% as heavy.

I installed the liner myself in my large pond in 15 minutes. It was amazing how light and strong this liner is.

As for underlayment I did use old carpet from a carpet stores dumpster. They said take all I need.

I think cheap is great but I wanted this to last considering how much work it was to dig by hand.

My next step is getting rocks which are not availaible free here and are very expensive. Add a pump and filter (I'll make the filter)


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Plant that makes a statement that I got for free was an Umbrella Palm...It was growing next to my AC unit in a very dry spot...I read online that some one had one in their pond so I tried it...the thing grew like crazy and as the stalks would fall over from the sides I would either trim them off or if I let them touch the water would sprout a new totally upright plant with no pot...


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I know this is an old post, but I find myself reading on old posts frequently, so....

The cheap pond site mentioned earlier was very helpful for me when I decided to try my luck with a small pond. We've rented for the last ten years and just bought a house, so the first thing I wanted to do was dig out a pond and make the place mine. (I'd have tried out flower beds and such, but I make plants cry and wilt when I'm near them.) Not only am I broke, but I'm a broke tight wad. I tried the trash bags, no! The shower curtain painted black worked for a day or two and looked pretty bad. I found a sturdier black curtain, a very thick black tarp, and painting plastic sheets. Unforunately, none of these worked. They leaked the water slowly. After all the money I put into cheap alternative liners, I finally bought the real thing. Ebay is the money grubber's best friend. I got it at half the cost. I also got the pump super cheap and extra tubing. (Yay Ebay)!

I used one of my daughters old comforters to pad the liner (and all attempts). Mine is in a slight downhill slope, so I made sure to mound the soil around the edges and the water naturally runs around and away from the pond.

As for the rock, new building sites will have some natural rock from the ground excavations that you can have. For prettier rock, new builds that are completed will usually give you any rock left over from the job. Rock is also fairly cheap from the local crusher. The dollar stores sometimes sell fabricated stones very cheaply, especially at the end of summer. Or, side of the road, country scrounging. I've done all :)(Make sure to slant your waterfall rocks down slightly or integrate some of the liner inside the fall to prevent water loss).

As for the plants and the fish, round one didn't make it. I'll get back to you after rounds three, four, and five!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I build ponds for cash.
Im going to give you some free pointers !
I like the right liners, but Im sure that the waterbed ideas and stuff of that nature work wellfor smaller ponds.
When you build a pond dig the hole, dig it a few inches deeper than you want the pond to be. Line that with sand, atleast a couple of inches.
That is the greatest liner in the world. It molds to shape, doesnt have sharp anything that will puncture the liner... SAND and for most areas its cheap to free to get some.
Carpet pads may provide some preotection but I cant see it working well as it would leave so many pockets of air to let things work in from the bottom and ruin the liner.
If you want it to last a life time consider pouring cement over the top of the liner. Iv done several this way, that cement over a liner ? leaks are rare.
If it doesnt look like yuo want it to, you can paint it.
They make a special paint that you can have tinted in about any color you like, that is like a liquid rubber.
The liner, the cement, the paint, all make a sturdy pond.
I wont get into the plants and stuff as everyone likes different stuff and state laws regulatte alot of plants that while I can have here you may not be allowed there and vice versa.
As for fish, I tossed some feeder gold fish (Rosey Barbs and basic gold fish) in the pond, after 5 years they were nearly the size of Koy.
The roseys died off, and never got bigger than about 2 inches anyways and would of been fish food, probaly some were.
Crayfish, atleast here are classified wierd.
They are a game fish, if you have a fishing license you can catch and keep as many as you can haul. But none can be removed from thew water they were caught at alive. A single live crawdad in your stash will get you some serious trouble.
I dont knwo about anyone elses location, but if I were you, I would look into local laws. Here in Utah, the abatment council will come take a lok at your pond, test water, a few times over about a month. If you can keep it up to standards you can get free misquito fish from them in an effort to control the population of the blood suckers.
As to rocks...
Building ponds is fun for me, alot of work but something I enjoy. Im much better at that than I am at typing, I promise you.
If I were looking for rocks in an area that didnt have them, or had them only at great cost, Id google, or hop my butt on over to the hypertufa forum.
If you use tha method to build yuor rocks and waterfalls remeber its a slow process to finish it and use it with fish.
Your using cemement, its very alkalie and leeches into your water. The same goes for using a concrete liner for the pool.
Think about swimming pools, all that plaster all that crap, thats why the required PH factor for humans to swim in a pool. Its the same with fish in a pond. You sue that and you need to control the PH.
You can add acid, or yuo can use it with no fish for a year or so and let it naturally stop screwing stuff up for you.
Personally, with a few water changes (Not a good idea for a large pond, but OK for smaller ones) I can get the ph stable and fine for fish. Add the acid, run it for a few days, change the water, start over. after 2 or 3 changes over a month of time, but a water test kit, check the water PH, wait a week adn check it again to make sure its not climbing.
If yuor in a bigger hurry, you can but a water test kit and water maint. kit and add the acid on a regular basis and test daily to keep the PH in a decent shape for fish.
All of this stuff is discussed, as well as how to make the mix, and how to build the rocks on the hypertufa forum, and numerous websites you can find from google.
Ther are alot of recipes for the mud, none are wrong, just give a different texture at the end.
Also look into "skins" a latex skin of rock textures that you press onto the hypertufa rock before its set to give it that rock texture. While its green you can carve it and add more definition.
I like to run my pips for the pumps, set a base, then spray foam up onto a basic shape for the entire fall. after 24 hours I carve and sand and use my dremil to get teh look I want and cover it in a mesh and mud it and work it from there. You can get some really great effects with a bit of practice.
I would start small, making rocks and boulders to be used outside before making an entire waterfall.
Hope this post helps someone to do it right and save some money and heartache.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

You can get pool liners, rocks, all kinds of building materials free on craigslist. Just choose your nearest city and watch the free column everyday for what you want. It will probably show up.

I enjoy this forum, since frugal must have been my middle name in a past life. :~)

Here is a link that might be useful: craigslist


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I love this thread! I have always dreamed of having my own pond, but tossed it aside thinking that I could never ever afford one.

This thread has given me hope and I might just try and do that.

grvtykllr, your tips are excellent and thank you for sharing.

I'm going to remember the sand, silo cap and cement! No doubt about it, this is something I can actually do AND I just happen to have three bags of cement left over from the previous owner of my house, so I'm already half way there. :D


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I made a nice little pond from the old satellite dish. 8' across and about two feet deep made a good size for goldfish and frogs.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

Here's another frugal idea -- some years back, I wanted a little pond in our atrium. I bought a child's wading pool, dug a hole for it, and lined in in black construction plastic. After surrounding it by rocks, it worked great for a koi pond. The koi thrived, and new owners inherited them when we sold the house. It didn't cost much to make. By lining it in plastic, it covered the kiddy stuff and it really looked like a pond.

There is also black plastic available from nursery suppliers that has a UV guarantee -- I don't recall what it was, as it's been a long time since I've looked at the catalogs.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

These are all great ideas for small garden ponds! If you havae the land and clay soil, you don't need a liner. Many folks are moving to mud ponds for koi now but you need the right soil.

One plant that is great in ponds is watercress. Just buy a cut bunch of it at the grocerty store and root the pieces in water. Then put them, bare root, in the shallow areas of the pond or stuck in a pot of something else. It's a perennial too and just comes back after the winter looking even better than before. It will cover the sides and has a little white flower.


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

  • Posted by pubily z5 Cent. IL. (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 28, 08 at 13:27

We have an irregularly shaped pond...basically 20 x 30' and 2-3' deep. We were shocked by pond liner prices and eventually hit on the idea of using a ground cloth for above ground pools. It has worked fine. Found it online at above ground pool site.

Good luck


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RE: frugal ideas for pond liner, rocks, plants?

I am going to be using a tarp because the liners are so expensive and i cant afford one since im 13, you can get the pump/filter/plants really cheap on craigslist, just make sure it works, hope it helped


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