It’s definitely not too early to start thinking about and planning a pond to build in the spring. In fact, I’m a big advocate of starting to plan in autumn, so that you can more easily think about how your pond will look in the colder months (and be ready to go as soon as the ground warms up). This is more important than you might think; a lot of pond owners report that they actually find themselves getting more enjoyment out of their pond in the winter than in the summer. There’s something especially picturesque about a pond and waterfall nestled in a field of pure white snow.
So, to get your mind churning over what you might want out of a new pond next year, here’s a video from the Home Depot that goes over some of the basic edging choices and techniques for installing them. Here’s a basic breakdown:
- Loose stone is the easiest type of edging. Simply lay the stone to anchor and conceal the pond liner.
- Mortared edging is somewhat more work, but more permanent and stable, making it great for ponds that will see traffic near the edge, especially with children.
- Brick and paving stones are great edging for a more formal, ordered look, and can make it easier to mow when grass is growing right up to the pond. It works well with both flexible and rigid liners.
You can create different looks for your water garden by the selection of edging that you use. Your options are: loose stone, mortared stone or using bricks or pavers for edging.
Let’s start with the easiest of the three: loose stone. Really, all you have to do is lay the stone in place to anchor the liner and conceal it. Here’s how you do it. With the liner in place, lay the first course of stone.Experiment with different sizes of stones to get the look that you want.This first layer will show only the part facing the pond, so try to a fairly straightened and even edge. If the rocks you’re using have irregular edges, use a brick chisel and hammer to chip off corners or cut larger pieces of stone into smaller pieces. Wrap the liner around the first course of stone and trim to fit. You may need to lay a few stones on top of the liner as you work to hold it in place. Lay the second course on top of the first. Pack the stones in tightly so none of the wrapped over liner shows from the top. If you do have a little liner that peaks through, pack in sand or small stones to cover it up. Fill the pond so that the water comes up to the middle of the first course of stone.
Next, we’ll take a look at mortared stone edging. For some water features, you’ll want the permanence and stability of mortared edging. Mortared stone is an ideal edging for water features where children are likely to walk along the edge of the water garden. Mortar holds stones in place, preventing children from tripping on loose stone. The edge can’t become dislodged.
Here is how you add this type of edging to your in-ground water feature. As you lay the edging, you may need to cut the stones to fit them snuggly together. To do this, place the edge of the brick chisel along an imaginary line you’d like to cut and give it a few hard taps with the hammer. The stone should break along the grove. Mix the mortar according to the packaged directions. Use a bucket for a small amount and a wheel barrel for a large amount. Spread a layer of mortar on the shelf that you’ve dug out for the edging. Place stones on the layer of mortar, nestle them slightly into the mortar to insure good contact, but avoid displacing the mortar so much that it oozes out of place. You can do just one course of stone or several depending on the edging height you want. As you lay each course, tuck mortar around the joints and smooth it, removing spill overs or excess with a wet rag or sponge, as you work. Allow the mortar to dry and cure at least three days before filling the water feature.
If you want a more formal edging for your water feature, try brick. Brick is a classic edging. It has been used for centuries to create edging around formal water features. Brick will bring that same since of order
and formality to your new water garden feature. Brick and its modern cousin, concrete paving stones, create attractive and uniform edging. Both are good choices for water features surrounded by grass because it makes for an easier mowing situation. Brick offers classic, great looks when surrounded by gravel, flagstone or more brick. For best results, use mortar when laying brick edging to hold it firmly in place. When adding brick to a flexible liner, you first need to dig a ledge for the brick and lay the underlayment and liner. Make sure the liner comes up and around the side of the ledge, so that the water can come up onto the brick, concealing the liner. If you’ve installed a flexible liner, simply pack the mortar directly on top of the liner, then lay the brick tucking mortar between bricks as shown.
If your water garden has a rigid liner, first position it on a bed of sand and check the levels. Then, mix up some mortar in a bucket. Pack the mortar under the flat or curving lip of the liner to help support it. Spread out more mortar along the rim of the pond, extending it far enough, so that it will secure the entire brick. Position the brick or paver firmly, nestling it slightly into the mortar. Make sure the inside edge of the brick protrudes slightly over the pool or pond to conceal the liner. With the trowel, pack mortar between the bricks or pavers. Use the trowel, your fingers or a special mortar tool to smooth the mortar. Use a wet rag to clean up the bricks and any mortar that oozed into the liner.