How to Make a Pond Liner

If you have been thinking about building a pond on your property, but are uncomfortable about spending hundreds of dollars for a solid or PVC pond liner, there is an economical alternative. With some prep work, a heavy-duty black tarp can hold water and perform the job of a pond liner just as effectively as the expensive types.

Make a Pond Liner

Begin by digging out the area where your pond will be located. The size of the tarp that you will need to purchase will depend greatly on the size of the hole that you dig. For instance, if you dig out a small pond area that is approximately 36 inches wide, 48 inches in length and 24 inches deep, a typical 10-by-10-foot tarp should be sufficient.

Smooth out the hole that will soon be your pond, using your hands and ensuring that there are no sharp rocks in the area that will poke a hole in your liner. Pull out any roots that may potentially tear the tarp as well.

Lay the tarp over the pond area and gently tuck the midsection of the tarp down into the hole to line it. Smooth out the tarp as much as possible, leaving a slight overhang at the top of the pond. If the tarp overhangs the top too much, use sharp scissors to cut away the excess.

Place stones around the edge of the pond. These stones will not only hold the tarp in place, but they will also camouflage it. Allowing some of the stones to overhang the inside of the pond will give it a more natural look.

Fill your new pond tarp with water and add your pump or other aerator system. You may even want to add a decorative waterfall when you are placing your rocks over the tarp.

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Heavy-duty black tarp
  • Scissors
  • Stones
  • Foliage


  • Adding some foliage around the pond will also help to conceal the tarp, rendering it almost undetectable. Check the pond liner regularly to make sure there are no holes or leaks. If there are, the pond will need to be drained and the tarp replaced.


  • Do not place rocks or stones on the inside of the pond. Even a stone that you think is smooth may have rough surfaces that will eventually wear through the tarp.

About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.

Photo Credits

  • http://www.sxc.hu/index.phtml