A pond adds a beauty spot and a place to relax to any property. The traditional method for creating a home garden pond is to dig a hole and line it with a pond liner purchased from a garden-supply store. However, pond liners can be pretty expensive, especially if you want to make a larger pond. Instead, there are some alternatives to buying an expensive liner.
One alternative to a pond liner is to use a tarp to line your pond. Tarps World, a tarp manufacturer, suggests that you use a large tarp made from recycled billboards. You can also use one or two layers of inexpensive black plastic tarp (such as the type painters use), which works very well in place of a pond liner. Lay it in place and secure it there with rocks around the edge and put a few rocks in the bottom as well.
You can build a pond using concrete instead of a pond liner. For a large pond, the concrete needs to be reinforced and at least 4 inches thick, but you can get away with much less concrete (about 1 to 2 inches thick) for a small pond. Also, because water leaches chemicals out of concrete, you will need to use a sealer (see the PondArmor website for options) to prevent it from doing so. Be sure to smooth the dirt surfaces of the pond before pouring the concrete, and remove any loose dirt from the sides and bottom so that your concrete will be an even thickness throughout your pond.
For a small pond, you can use an old waterbed liner. Check thrift stores such as Goodwill for these. They usually throw them away, so you might have to let them know what you are looking for and be prepared to wait a bit for one. However, once you find one, it makes an excellent pond liner. If you find it has a small hole or two, you can patch it easily with a patching kit made for an air bed.
Another small pond idea is to use a plastic kiddie paddling pool. If you want it for fish, it might not be deep enough, but buried in the ground these make attractive shallow ponds for frogs, dragonflies and water plants. Put some gravel in the bottom to cover any cartoon designs, and place rocks and plants around the rim to make it look more natural.