Common Pond Liner Problems And How To Fix Them

Posted on: 7 April 2016


When you install a water feature in your yard, your pond liner is the most essential part of making your pond a success. When your pond liner encounters trouble, you can experience leaks, low water levels, or even the destruction of the structural integrity of your water feature. You can stop common pond liner problems by properly installing the liner and noticing potential trouble before it progresses to something bigger. Here are some of the common problems and how they are normally prevented. 

Swampy Surroundings

If your pond is constantly low on water and the edges and banks of the pond seem marshy, you are most likely dealing with a water wicking situation. This occurs when soil and plants are covering the pond liner. The roots of the plant and the moisture absorbing nature of soil (especially soil with plant matter and woody bits) will wick moisture from the pond edge and send it slowly out of the pond to the surrounding yard. To fix this problem, carefully clear your pond liner of any and all soil and plants. Instead, cover the liner with rocks. Large rocks are good for a defined border, while smaller rocks can give a more casual look. If you must have plants, put them in pots or plant them outside the pond liner area. 

Sagging Liner

Over time, the liner can start to stretch and sag, leaving pockets of water that might not filter properly or creating unsightly ripples in the pond surface. If the liner sags from the perimeter border, water can splash underneath the liner, which leads to bubbling beneath the pond and slow erosion of the supporting soil. The best way to prevent a sagging liner is to check the pond perimeter regularly. If you use rocks to keep the liner edge in place, remove the rocks and tug the liner tight every few months, especially when filling the pond after winterization (the weight of snow can stretch or sag the pond liner).

If you have a more sophisticated edge system, release the liner from the pond edging and re-stretch it. To prevent sagging in the future, be sure all portions of the liner are properly weighed on level ground before the ground slopes down into the pond pool.


Pond liner is pretty strong stuff. Quality liner will be quite thick and difficult to cut, except with a sharp construction knife like a box cutter. However, with exposure to years of sun and water, punctures can happen, and they should be taken care of as soon as you notice them. They can, unfortunately, be hard to find. The first symptom is water loss, including bubbling under the liner and the need to consistently top the pond up. With a leak, you will lose water until the water level drops below the hole. Then, patching the hole is a simple process. You can use a patch kit that is used for things like swimming pools or inflatable toys. 

Water Under The Liner

Water under the liner happens, as noted above, with leaks or sags, but if there is no evidence of either, what's causing the problem? Usually, it's a grading concern. Does your yard slope away from the pond? If it doesn't, rainwater can flow between the soil and the liner and pool underneath it. This will slowly ruin the structural integrity of your pond shape and can increase the chances of a liner puncture. If your groundwater is high, you might need to install a dry well, weeping tile, or another system to direct groundwater away from the pond to prevent the water bubble during rainy periods. 

For more information and options, talk with businesses that supply pond liners or visit websites like