Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cheap and Easy, Natural Pond Liner

One of the first things we noticed when considering whether to buy the home we are now in, was the waterfall/pond in the backyard. Ever since I had a blast catching tadpoles in a childhood friend's backyard stream, I wanted some water feature for my kids to enjoy. This pond was not a naturally occurring water feature, but still it was exciting. What wasn't exciting was that it did NOT look natural. The "black tarp look" made it an eyesore, and although we enjoyed the sound of the running water, we knew we had to give this waterfall/pond a facelift. Solution: Rock on a Roll. 

Rock on a Roll is an awesome product that was designed by Minnesota based landscaping company, Aquatica Water Gardens. They saw a need when helping their customers with their ponds, and thankfully created a product that solved that need, which they now share with everyone else. Updating or building ponds can be labor intensive and expensive, but Rock on a Roll takes most of the effort and high price out of the equation. 

Let me share how cheap and simple this pond liner cover truly is...

(This is NOT a paid advertisement. Instead it is just one happy customer wanting to share a cheap & easy DIY solution) 

A little while ago, my hubby and I woke up one morning to see that our pond had lost 5"  of water overnight. We thought for sure there was a leak and called out a pond repair person to have a look. After looking things over he in essence said our pond was not professional looking (i.e. ugly), and if we hired his company to make the pond and waterfall super awesome, it would cost us $20,000+. Of course I would love to have all of the amazing features he would make our new waterfall and pond have, but we do not have $20k for unnecessary things. So I researched and researched what was the best and most affordable way to make our waterfall and pond fit into it's natural surroundings.

Since pouring cement was not advisable over the pond liner, and buying lots of rocks and placing them over the liner was tricky and expensive, I felt like I was at a loss for options. Then one day I was reading through pond owner forums and someone said something to the effect, "Someone just needs to invent a pond liner that looks like rocks!" Little did they know that someone already did.

When I came across the Rock on a Roll website, I was skeptical. Even though there are TON of customer's pictures showcasing what the product did for their outdoor water feature, as well as other outside uses, I still wondered if it really was as easy to use as they all said. I also wondered if it felt like rock or looked like rock. I started corresponding with the company's owner and found him to be extremely personable and helpful. He was quick to respond, and answered all of my questions. I ordered the Cobblestone color because it would match our landscaping the best, but with three different stone colors to choose from, and only $40 for a 3ft x8ft roll, I think anyone will be able to find something they will be happy with. What made me feel even safer in taking this leap of faith was that shipping was cheap, and return shipping was FREE if I ordered too much or I didn't like the product.

So enough of the chit chat, let me show you some before and after pictures:


 With so much of the surrounding landscape being hues of brown, seeing shiny black was not ok.


In the waterfall areas there are some creases that I am not a huge fan of. I strongly believe this is due to user error, and if I had emptied out the water and really worked the Rock on a Roll well, these creases would be minimized.

I know that there are so many better looking ponds and waterfalls out there that have been done by professionals, and I am almost 100% sure that ours was a DIY creation from a prior homeowner; however, this Rock on a Roll liner feels and looks like rock, and is malleable, durable, and let our water feature blend more naturally into it's surroundings. Jeff, over at Rock on a Roll, suggested I add a lot of plants around the pond and waterfall to really make this area of our yard shine, and I am slowly doing so as our budget allows, (who knew plants were a fortune?!).

How it Works

All I had to do was remove the rocks that were covering the black pond liner, and lay down the rock liner on top of the black liner. That is it. In some areas I cut the rock liner to bend or fit better. I then laid the rocks back around the edges.

On their website, they suggest a raised edge method, which involves using mulch instead of a rock perimeter like we used. If we didn't already have all of the rocks, and I was willing to empty out the water in our pond, I would have gone this route since it looks so much better. The picture below is from their site, demonstrating the "raised edge method."
Doesn't she just look so happy with her Rock on a Roll pond 😊Source

On their website they have way more before and after pictures, with most of them looking a lot more professional than our setup. And even if you don't have a water feature, several of the pictures show homeowners using the Rock on a Roll to make a wall look like it is made of stone, or have electrical boxes, etc disguised/covered.

This unique product is a less expensive option than anything else I have found, and it comes from a company that has amazing customer service. Almost everyone can think of a use for a roll of rock-like material that can mold to whatever shape or form is needed.

I hope this clever product will solve one of your yard dilemmas as it has mine.

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