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Garden Pools


I received enough responses to my garden pool project that I thought it would
be appropriate to put it on the listserve.

As I mentioned, I ran a little "test" pool this summer and the results were
excellent.  So I started thinking about how I would build my pool next year,
given that it is planned to be considerably larger..  For my test pool I used
a piece of rubber that I'd had laying around the garage for the last 15 years
or so, but it was only about about 5' x 8' which won't be large enough for my
planned pool.  Also, I found that if it did start to tear, the tear became
very large very quickly without a lot of effort..  So, I needed to find
something that would hold up much better.

Looking around the internet I found that Tetra Pond had a website.  You can
find it at www.tetra-fish.com.  I requested a catalog and about 2 weeks later
I received it..  In it I found that they sell something called EPDM rubber for
pools..  Some places even sell PVC liners, but I would not use it since EPDM
is much more pliable and flexible and will follow the contours of a pool
better.

EPDM rubber is listed at two (2) different thicknesses - 45 mil and 60 mil in
both the Tetra Pond catalog and in Lilypons.  Tetra pond is a wholesaler only
and you must by through pet store.  Prices appear to be similar in both
outlets.  What I found after reading the catalogs of both Tetra and Lilypons
is that the 60 mil liner is really a 45 mil rubber liner with a backing (which
is considered to be 15 mils thick).  This backing is necessary to help prevent
roots and stones from puncturing the liner. If you look at the difference in
cost of the two liners, (using  20' x 20' as an example which will allow you
to have a 16' x 16' pool, with pool depth assumed to be 2' ) the difference is
about $159.  My friend owns a pet shop and sells Tetra products, and can get
these products for me, suggested that I shop around at carpet stores and try
to pick up a cheap carpet to use instead.  This could save you some money.  I
have seen some good carpets that would work very well..  I don't think I'd use
one with a foam backing, but many times you can find nylon or other material
that has what is called a jute backing..Or, maybe even a thin jute pad..  He's
used his for about 4 years now and it shows no sign of breaking down..
However, the real savings can be realized when you go shopping for your rubber
liner.

I bought an EPDM liner on sale at my friendly garden center store.. I bought
one that is 10' x 15' in size and which normally sells for $139.. This one was
listed at the regular price of $169, but I got it for $100, so I didn't think
that was too bad.. After all, I thought, I saved $39.  Little did I realize
there were bigger savins to be had..  Just out of curiosity, I called my local
roofing supplier - not the contractor that puts roofs on, but the place where
he buys al his supplies.  And guess what....They sell EPDM rubber.   And, they
have it in 10' and 20' widths...And, they will cut it to your specified
length.. And...It comes in two thicknesses - 45 mil and a true 60 mil..
And....it is cheaper than when you buy it at a pet shop or garden store.

My 10 x 15 liner - on sale - cost me $.66 per sq. ft..or $100.  Now that's not
to bad, but the same liner at Tetra is about $.92 per sq. ft.  And, the same
liner at Lilypons is about $.84.  That's using regular prices for the 45 mil
liner.  At the roofing supply store, I found different prices at different
distributors also, but they were considerably cheaper.  The best  price I
found was $.45 per sq ft. for the 45 mil, and $.60 per sq. ft for the 60 mil.
Another place had it for $.60 and $.75 per sq. ft.  So, using $.45 as an
example, my liner would have cost me $67.50 - a BIG difference.  I could have
had a 60 mill liner that size for $90 - still less than I paid.

So call your local roofing supplier - but a word of caution.  Some of them
have a cutting charge if you don't take a whole roll - some of them do not..
I found two places that charge the same for the product (.45 and .60) and one
has a $20 cutting charge.. If you need to buy it from out of town shipping
costs would be high since the rubber is heavy.  Another thing..  You can
splice pieces together by using "uncured flashing tape"..  Again, be careful..
Some of it comes with no adhesive, you need to buy a roll 100' long, and it's
expensive..$45.  Don't ask me why no adhesive.  If you want it with adhesive
you can buy a roll for about $125.00 ... I called Lilypons and they sell
seaming tape for $4.00 a foot or $3.50 a foot if you buy over 15 feet of it.
You can buy splicing adhesive for about $22 a gallon.  I think a gallon would
go a 
long way so would probably be cheaper.  By the way, if your roofing supplier
tells you they only sell wholesale, as one of mine did, he relented when I
told him what I was using it for and he said; "Well, after all, you can't go
out and buy this stuff at your local hardware store".  He also said not to
wait too late in spring since then he would not have time to service my order
- he'd be to busy with the building contractors.

A few last thoughts.. My pool will be about half above ground, using those
flat rocks to keep the liner in place..I like the pool a little above ground -
it makes for better fish viewing and you can sit on the rocks and enjoy your
pool, more so I think, than if the pool is below ground level.  You can set
some potted hostas on the rocks or on the ground in front of the rocks...If
you do have some of your pool above ground it is important to isolate the
liner from the sharp edges of the rocks since the water pressure could tear
the liner - and especially if it freezes in your area. That is where a carpet
would work well.

Oh, and a safety issue.. Many cities have ordinances in place to control
garden pools, treating them the same as swimming pools..  Some require fences
around the garden pools to eliminate a safety hazzard.  So, you may want to
check this out with your local city or county.

If I've raised more questions than I've answered, you can EMail me at
RonnieEA@aol.com or, if it's a question of general interest, on the
listserve..

Good "Garden Pool" planning  this winter

Ronnie.
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