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The Green Scene in Watershapes, April 2011

Pond Liners and The Sun
By Scott Cohen

As I peruse my expert-witness files to develop these "Lessons Learned" items, sometimes I run across situations so remarkably silly that I'm reminded why they originally made me scratch my head and marvel at the incompetence I encounter from time to time.  

In the spirit of covering a broad range of situations, allow me to share one such case that definitely qualifies as an obvious misstep - one involving a pond liner and its most basic environmental nemesis, sunlight.

Scenario: When rubber liners are used in pond construction, competent installers will first place an underlayment fabric to relieve concerns about soil off-gassing and protect the material from the wear and tear that can erupt with rocks, roots and other intrusions. Basically, it's an affordable form of insurance that will increase the liner's longevity as well as that of the pond.

Competent installers also know that rubber liners-which typically are 45 mils thick-are warranted only if they are protected from the damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation. This means that the liner must be fully covered by gravel, sand or other material; it even leads some installers to top the liner with concrete in key places along the edges.

To read the entire article, buy THE CANDID CONTRACTOR: Lessons Learned From The Construction Defect Expert Witness Files of Scott Cohen

Contractors and homeowners will save thousands of dollars with this new book from Scott Cohen of HGTV fame. Cohen pulls back the veil on common construction mistakes with pools, ponds, decks and associated structures, explaining how to remedy them when they occur – or, better yet, avoid them entirely.

Scott Cohen is president and supervising designer of The Green Scene, an outdoor design and construction firm based in Northridge, CA. He provides consultation for clients nationwide and gives seminars on designing landscapes, swimming pools and outdoor kitchens.