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3 Benefits of Quality Pond Rocks and Gravel

So there has been an ongoing debate whether or not to place rocks completely covering the liner on a pond.  The alternative would be to leave the pond liner exposed under the water level without rocks covering it.  Is there right or wrong way?

For years in the DC. Maryland, and Virginia areas Premier Ponds has been building new ponds, renovating ponds, and servicing ponds and we have seen quite a bit of everything.  Our team all agrees that a pond can be successfully built many different ways.  With each way to be functional the design, and level of maintenance will vary a little bit. Ponds can be beautiful and functional built out of concrete, with rubber liner exposed, and even functional with liner completely covered with rocks and gravel.

Fish swimming over rocks and gravel

Premier Ponds has constructed and renovated over 500 water features, serviced thousands, and visited thousands more. There is a definite common thread to the ponds that look the best, are the most functional ecosystems, and have the highest level of customer enjoyment.  That common thread for these ponds is where the liner is completely covered by rock and gravel.  Not only does it naturalize the feature, it increases the biological activity for the ecosystem, and it protects the liner from the UV light which will decompose it over time and shorten its life span. 

Of course it’s equally important to know that just because there’s rock and gravel doesn’t mean it has been built correctly.  Having a highly trained pond professional construct the pond should always be the way to go.  A few things that can go wrong with rock and gravel are: having too much rock, the wrong type of stone, and too sharp or jagged rocks.  On the other hand by the correct amount of rock artfully placed, the right type of stone, and proper filter components lead to a great overall pond experience!

1. Simply Put: Rocks and Gravel are Beautiful

Let’s face it the rock sets the tone for the whole waterscape!  They are what Mother Nature intended.  The right rock selection can accent and create depth. Rocks have texture, color and character and give waterfalls real impact.  Large stones can make a stream appear as if it changed course because of it. Of course the rocks can’t be just placed anywhere.  Craftsmanship is very important.  A well trained water feature artist uses size, shape and character to give depth, accent, and create breathtaking effects.  Water features should be constructed using different size rocks.  They appear more natural and the variation in sizes create interest. Water features with too many of the same size stones just don’t cut it.

Rocks & Gravel- a needed aesthetic

2. Rocks and Gravel Protect the Liner

When a pond liner (we use 45mil EPDM fish safe liner) is covered up with rocks and gravel it is very helpful for protection against UV rays. The suns UV rays coming in contact with liner will eventually break it down and shorten its life.  EPDM rubber liner generally comes with a 20 year warranty from most manufacturers, but we have seen liners that have been exposed to the sun become brittle and crack in less than that time.  This is especially true for PVC liners. The layer of rock and gravel can also protect from tree branches that fall into the pond.  We have seen situations where fallen branches have punctured liners.  The layer of rock can help prevent these unfortunate acts of nature.

3. The Rocks and Gravel Colonize Beneficial Bacteria

The surface area of the rock and gravel provides a natural habitat for aerobic bacteria to colonize.  These microorganisms help to break down fish waste and other debris that would otherwise accumulate in the pond and turn into sludge.  Having rocks and gravel dramatically increases the surface area for this bacteria.  It also traps sediment that may otherwise cloud the water.  Having rocks and gravel in your pond not only makes it look better, but it makes it healthier and cleaner as well. It allows Mother Nature to clean up after herself.

Fish cave and pond lined with rocks and gravel

Click here to speak with a pond expert about Rocks and Gravel, ask any other pond questions, or to send us your pics!