Ask a Question forum: Converting pond to rain garden

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Indiana
struve
Oct 1, 2017 12:40 PM CST
My community has a lined catchment pond that is not receiving enough water year-round to function as designed, so we want to convert it to a rain garden. Question: whether (1) to remove the liner and re-excavate before planting (very expensive), or (2) leave the liner in place, remove most of the accumulated silt, bring in good soil, and plant above the liner (less expensive). My concern is that any plants put in above the liner would need to be extraordinarily tolerant of wetness during rainy periods, and of heat during sunny periods. Can anyone advise us?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Oct 1, 2017 1:09 PM CST
Can you just puncture the liner?
Porkpal
Indiana
struve
Oct 1, 2017 1:22 PM CST
Puncturing the liner has occurred to me. Probably that would facilitate drainage in rainy times, though the question remains of too much reflective heat in sunny times. I'd be interested to know if anyone has experience in anything like this.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 1, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Wouldn't you cover the whole liner with soil? What would be reflecting heat?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Indiana
struve
Oct 1, 2017 2:43 PM CST
Yes, the liner would be covered with varying depths of soil, but is it black and impervious (except where it might be punctured), so I'm concerned that it would block the cooling effect of the soil beneath and reflect back upward the heat from the sun on the soil above. Perhaps I am worrying too much about this. But I don't want the community to err in such a large and costly project.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 1, 2017 3:14 PM CST
Yes, you are worrying too much. Just do it!
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Oct 1, 2017 3:25 PM CST
I have bog gardens in my yard - black plastic lined but without drainage. I have never had the problem of heat buildup. I wouldn't just puncture the lining though, slash it. The problem I forsee is that roots will be trapped in your big underground bowl. If you slash it, the roots will be able to grow through.

If you pull the liner out, you wouldn't need to re-excavate. Just fill it with dirt (you have to pay for the dirt anyway). Your future garden would be healthier without the liner.

I hope you never need that catch basin again. Why is it lined? Isn't the idea to have rainwater soak into the ground? Pull out the liner, plant some grass with shrubs around the edges. Summertime playground and wintertime drainage and sled park. Then you wouldn't even have to buy dirt. Maybe that's a west coast thing.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Leftwood
Oct 1, 2017 8:19 PM CST
Good advice, Daisy!
Indiana
struve
Oct 1, 2017 9:16 PM CST
The reason why the catchment area is lined would be too tedious to explain here. Anyway, my community can weigh the options of slashing the lining or taking it out. Thanks very much to everyone who has replied so promptly. This is a great site!

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