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Inexpensive Pond Liner Ideas Are They Worth It

Inexpensive Pond Liner Ideas Are They Worth It

If you're thinking about installing a new pond in your garden, you may be looking for ways to save on costs. While it may be tempting to cut costs by choosing a lower quality pond liner, this isn't the area you want to skimp on. Aquascape Australia does not recommend using a cheap pond liner substitute.

There’s no shortage of inexpensive pond liner ideas on the market. In today's article, we take a look at a few of the cheap backyard pond ideas for pond liners, and the issues that you could run into by using them.

Polyethylene Pond Liner 

One popular alternative to EPDM pond liners you may encounter on your search is polyethylene pond liners.

While this substitute may seem to be appealing at first due to its cheaper price point than EPDM, it’s important to realise the downsides of using this type of pond liner.

  • Polyethylene pond liners are thin, meaning there is tends to be a higher chance of punctures than with thicker, sturdier materials.
  • Polyethylene pond liners don't tend to last as long as EPDM liners, so you'll likely find yourself having to take your pond apart and swap them for newer materials.

If you use polyethylene as your pond liner, you will likely find yourself digging up your pond to replace the lining sooner (whether due to punctures or general deterioration) than if you'd used an EPDM liner.

PVC Pond Liner

PVC pond liner is another cheap pond liner option. While this type of pond liner can be used for smaller and simpler ponds with fewer features, it doesn't hold up so well when placed in larger or more complex water features.

This type of liner can be easily pierced by sharp rocks or trampling paws. It doesn't fare well with high traffic areas, and as such, shouldn't be used for water features that will be entered into, such as swimming ponds.

PVC pond liners also aren't UV-resistant. This means they can often become brittle, particularly in water features that are exposed to direct sunlight for many hours of the day.


An incredibly affordable alternative to traditional pond liners is the humble tarpaulin. Many people already have one tucked away in their garage for camping or other outdoor activities, so it may seem like an obvious choice.

However, tarpaulin is not the best material for a pond liner. They're not designed to be used as a pond liner, and as such, have a fair few downsides. Aquascape Australia recommends against it being used as a pond liner substitute.

Tarps tend to be water resistant rather than waterproof, so you may find that your pond begins to leak. While you may be looking to cut costs on your water feature build, you should look for other options rather than cutting costs on your pond liner.

What do we recommend?

So, we've covered what not to buy, but what type of pond liner is best? At Aquascape, we recommend using Firestone EPDM pond liners. There are many benefits to using these pond liners in your water feature build. They are:

  • Fish-safe
  • UV-resistant
  • Flexible
  • Highly-durable
  • Backed by a 20-year guarantee

Firestone EPDM are high-quality pond liners that are built to last. They're also highly flexible, allowing for simple installation, even within complex water features. They're fish safe, making them perfect for water features that will be including little swimming friends.

Aquascape Australia stocks both Pondgard and Geogard EPDM membranes in our online store. These pond liners are both specifically designed for pond applications, and can be easily installed with no specialty tools needed.

Where to Save Money

While we don't recommend you cut costs through your pond liner choice, there are a few different ways to reduce your spend when creating your new water feature build.

Limit the Number of Plants

Cutting back on the number of plants you incorporate into your water feature build could see you saving a fair amount of money. You could also choose more affordable plants. Generally, Australian natives tend to be cheaper than exotic varieties. These plants can also be great for attracting native birds and butterflies to your feature.

Limit the number of Rocks

The cost of rocks can add up, especially if you're looking to use large ones. By limiting the number of rocks you use, or using smaller rocks instead you can save money on your water feature design. Different types of rocks have varying price points, so if you're looking to save money, you could opt for less expensive rocks.

Reduce the Size

While it may be tempting to build a large water feature, this will typically cost more money than cheaper alternatives. By reducing the size of your build, you can cut costs without sacrificing quality. By reducing the size of your water feature, you'll be able to easily reduce the amount of pond liner, underlayment, and rocks you need. You may also be able to choose a smaller and cheaper pond pump.

Invest In Your Pond Liner

Building a water feature is a great way to add value to your home, and can provide you with years of enjoyment. However, it's important to remember that a pond is a long-term investment for your garden, and cutting costs on pond liner can lead to a high amount of maintenance and frustration.

There's no substitute for pond liner quality. Purchasing a cheaper liner can mean more leaks and more time spent fixing your pond rather than sitting back and enjoying it. At Aquascape Australia, we recommend Firestone EPDM pond liners due to their durability and reliability.

Those that want to save money on a pond or water feature project should instead consider cutting back on the number of plants or rocks included in the build - you can always add more in later if your budget expands.

Alternatively, you could choose to reduce the size of your overall project. Building a smaller pond is typically more affordable than constructing a large one, and can still make a big impact in your garden.

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