Friday, March 17, 2006

Should I use gravel or stones in my pond?

I was recently asked by a visitor to my web site what my thoughts were on the use of gravel and stones in the pond. The original question from Madprok was...
> Do you recommend stones or gravel on the bottom of the pond or just
> having the liner be at the bottom?

Some things to consider with gravel/stones.

Do you want to use them in shallow or deep water?
In a stream you want a natural look, so you will want stones, pebbles, and gravel of various sizes and colours.

In deep water you probably won't see them at any great depth so better not to use them.

You will end up with stones, grit etc at the bottom of the pond over time anyway (think children, pets, dogs, running around the pond, throwing stuff in, etc even though they're not supposed to).

Also if you plan to have a stream, it will over the course of time wash stuff into the pond anyway.

Also you will want to clean out the bottom of the pond, either by hand, or using a pond-vacuum, so any gravel would just be removed or a pain in the ass! You will get silt, weed etc settling on the bottom of the pond so small gravel/pebbles would be covered anyway.

So its better to have just liner at the bottom.
On my pond I have some millstone edging around the pond, and I also find some hessian sacking cut wedged under the edging and dangled over the sides of the pond liner at the surface create a more natural look and hide the shiny black of the liner. Its up to you!

For streams, yes, you want a nice look, but depending on the speed of flow in the stream, it will wash away small gravel, so its better to use pebbles, and small to big size rocks or slate. Also I make use of some gravel-liner which is plastic with some special paste which fine gravel has been embedded into. This looks nicer and more natural in a stream than normal black liner, and sits on the edge where
pebbles/rocks would just slide down.

> So you would recommend not lining the bottom of the
> pond with gravel/stones?

Exactly. Not unless you need to for visual effect, and if for that purpose
then use big stones/rocks which make a big visual impact and are easy to pick up
and clean. Small stuff in the depths of the pond is pointless. It just traps muck.
As your pond ages, and you add marginal plants and deep water weeds, lilys and
the like you would never see any gravel. The sides will get a coating of algae and
the inevitable blanket weed anyway which add the natural look.

Cheers for now