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To calculate the necessary size of a pond or pool liner, you must factor in its width, length, and maximum depth. The liner length will be the length of the pool + twice the depth + a 2 foot overlap. The width is calculated the same substituting width for length.

The volume of the pond:

V = Average Length (feet) X Average Width (feet) X Average Depth (feet) X 7.5 = Gallons

V = (Average Length (inch) X Average Width (inch) X Average Depth (inch))/ 231 = Gallons

Liner Calculator
Enter the dimensions of your pool or pond in feet to determine the liner size.
W (ft) L (ft) Max. Depth (ft)
Liner Width (feet) Liner Length (feet)

The most important step in planning a pond is selecting the proper location. Your pond should be built in an area where you will be able to enjoy it year round. Make sure that your pond will not be too close to trees to avoid leaves and other debris from falling into your pond. You will want your pond to be in a sunny area where it will get at least 4-6 hours of exposure. You should also be able to walk around the pond for ease of maintenance. Make sure that your pond is positioned so that any runoff from surrounding areas will not flow into your pond. Remember to locate any utility lines, if you do not know the location please call your utility company before doing any digging. You will need access to both water and electricity so keep this in mind when planning your pond's location.

Sizing Your Pond

The best way to determine the size and shape of your pond is to use a rope or hose outline. If you intend on having fish or plants you will probably want your pond to be approximately 2 feet deep. Larger fish require more depth to live in the winter and to avoid any predators. If you reside in a colder climate the pond should be deeper to avoid freezing solid in the winter. The most common mistake a first time pond builder will make is building the pond too small. Remember that when you are laying out the shape of your pond, the finished pond is going to be smaller than what your rope design looks like.

Digging the Pond

Dig your pond to the desired shape with two or more shelves approximately 6"-12" deep and 12" wide. The shelves will accommodate rocks and a variety of water plants. Make sure that all of the shelves are level. If you intend on having a waterfall, dig the pond on a slight slope opposite the end where you are placing the waterfall. This will also make cleaning your pond much easier.


Remove any sharp objects, roots and debris from the pond. Measure the widest, longest, and deepest points of your pond. Next, place an underlayment or padding in the pond. To calculate how much liner you will need use the following formula:

Length + twice the depth + 2' overlap = length of the liner
Width + twice the depth+ 2' = width of the liner

Place the rubber liner into the pond and unfold. Lay the liner as evenly as possible in the pond and make sure the excess liner extends over the edges of the pond a minimum of 12 inches. Use rocks to help hold the liner in place. Try to minimize the folds -- they will flatten out as the water is added to the pond. Once the liner is in position lay out the rocks along the perimeter of the pond. Clean out any debris that may have fallen into the pond after you laid out the liner. Fill the pond with water, smoothing out the liner as it fills. Once the pond is full, add any necessary water treatments. Plants may be added immediately, but do not add fish to the pond for at least two weeks in order to allow the bacteria time to colonize in your water garden.

Guidelines for Fish, Plants, and Volume:
Fish: 1' per 7 gallons of water for a combination of Goldfish and Koi Fish.
1' per 10 gallons of water for Koi Fish only.

Plants: Plants add aesthetic value and help to shade the water. Some plants are oxygenators and absorb impurities from the water to help prevent algae growth. Plants also help to absorb carbon dioxide that fish expel. Oxygenating plants, tadpoles and snails are essential to the ecological balance of a pond.


Volume Calculator: The deciding factor for choosing which equipment to use is the volume of the pond. The first thing to do is calculate this using the following formula:

Average Length (ft) x Average Width (ft) x Average Depth (ft) x 7.5 = gallons

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