All natural ponds need banks that look natural and stabilize the soil below the surface to prevent erosion. Manmade ponds are usually designed around a specific type of bank, ranging from the highly manicured white sand beach to a rustic rock reinforced bank side. If you’re planning to swim in your natural pond, or even just stroll around its edges regularly to feed your fish, you’ll need a bank style that can handle foot traffic. Explore your options for a pond bank style to make sure you choose the right material and method for your project.
Concrete Covered Edges
For the most controlled and pool-like style, consider poured concrete edges around the banks of the pond. This kind of installation greatly increases the cost of the pond, making it only a reasonable choice for small swimming ponds. Poured concrete must be cleaned by hand on a regular basis to keep it from becoming discolored and slippery with algae growth. You’ll also need to run a flexible liner over the dirt banks before pouring any concrete over the top to ensure that small cracks and gaps don’t lead to water leaks.
Beach style banks are popular for backyard natural swimming ponds to create relaxing spaces for relaxing near the water. Sand and pebbles are easy to keep clean and will stay anchored around the edges, even when there’s a lot of foot traffic. However, these banks are expensive to establish and take a lot of material during installation. You’ll also need to top up the banks every few years to ensure the beaches stay well-covered and erosion resistant. Make sure there is a flexible, multi-layered RPE liner installed before the beach-style banks to keep the sand or pebbles from sliding and shifting. BTL Liners AquaArmor products are wonderfully suited for this application.
Rock Covered Banks
Installing slabs of natural or manufactured stone around pond banks is another common option for bank reinforcement. With the use of irregular flagstone style slabs, it’s easy to achieve a natural look that blends in beautifully with plants and gravel or pebbles. Stacked stones cut into irregular slabs and bricks also work well for sloped transition areas where you enter and exit the water. These bank styles are highly resistant to erosion and easy to keep clean. The weight of the stone effectively keeps it from shifting over time.
Heavily Planted Pond Sides
Digging trenches and installing a barrier of rooted water plants all the way around the edges of the banks is another option for finishing off a natural pond. However, it’s usually only used around part of a swimming pond. It’s hard to enter and exit the pond for a swim if the entire bankside is covered in a thick layer of reeds, rushes, flowering lilies, and other plants. Balance densely planted banks with entrance areas made from concrete, rock, sand, or slabs to ensure foot traffic doesn’t damage the banks.
It’s possible to combine all of these bank styles, and more, in the same swimming pond. Use more durable and traffic resistant coverage options for the areas where you plan to get in and out of the water. You don’t want sand or soil to slide each time you take a swim when it’s easy enough to create reinforced areas for heavy foot traffic. No matter what bank style you choose, ensure that your flexible pond liner extends over the edges to prevent erosion and soil shifting.