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Backyard Pond Installation Cost

Backyard Pond Installation Cost

National average
$9,000
(6 x 8-foot koi pond with a rubber liner and complete landscaping)
Low: $3,500

(4 x 6-foot ornamental pond lined with plastic and no landscaping)

High: $70,000

(natural swimming pool with concrete liner and adjacent regeneration zone)

Cost to install a backyard pond varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from landscapers in your city.

The average cost to install a backyard pond is $9,000​.

In this guide

Where to Build a Pond
Backyard Pond Cost by Size
Backyard Pond Costs by Type
Pond Liner Costs Per Square Foot
Average Costs to Dig a Pond
Labor Costs to Build a Backyard Pond
Shape of the Pond
Pond Pump and Filter
Pond Fish Prices
Pond Plant Prices
Pond Maintenance Costs
Filling In a Garden Pond
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Additional Considerations
FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Backyard Pond?

Adding a pond to your backyard landscaping makes a beautiful addition to your property. Whether you want a koi pond or fountain pond, the sound of trickling water and the tranquility of the pond create an attractive feature for yards of every size.

Ponds can be small, ornamental features or large enough to swim in. They may also feature different amenities, plants, and aquatic life, including fish and turtles. This means that there is a wide range of costs for backyard ponds. The average pond installation cost range is from $5,000 to $20,000, with most people paying around $9,000 for a 6 x 8-foot koi pond that has a liner and a filter and has been fully landscaped.

Cost to Install a Pond

Backyard Pond Costs
National average cost$9,000
Average range$5,000-$20,000
Minimum cost$3,500
Maximum cost$70,000


Where to Build a Pond

Ideally, you want your pond located on a fairly even or flat section of your yard. A slight slope is alright, and if you want to catch some runoff, positioning it at the bottom of a slope or hill can be beneficial.

Depending on the pond type, plant life, whether you add aquatic animals, and what you plan on using the pond for, you may want to consult a landscaper before beginning. Some plants do better with full sunlight, while others need shade. When creating a pond large enough to swim in, make sure you have enough space to do so safely. Consulting a landscaper is always a good first step.

Backyard Pond Cost by Size

The pond size dictates a certain amount of the final cost. Size is not the only determining factor in the total price of your pond, but it is a good starting point:


Backyard pond cost by size

Backyard pond cost by size


Pond SizeAverage Cost Range
4 x 6 feet$2,500 - $3,500
8 x 11 feet$5,000 - $6,000
11 x 16 feet$7,000 - $8,500
16 x 21 feet$9,500 - $12,000
26 x 26 feet$12,000 - $16,000


Backyard Pond Costs by Type

The type of pond you install impacts the cost nearly as much as the size. While an increase in size results in increased costs, some ponds are less expensive to install than others, no matter how large they are:


Backyard pond costs by type

Backyard pond costs by type


Backyard Pond TypeAverage Costs
Garden pond$3,000 - $15,000
Farm pond$4,000 - $10,000
Koi pond$9,000 - $13,000
Fishing pond$10,000 - $75,000
Man-made lake$30,000 - $50,000
Natural swimming pool$50,000 - $100,000


Garden Pond Cost

Garden ponds can be very small and simple or large and elaborate, so there is a very wide range of costs, according to the size and how many features you add. Garden ponds frequently feature waterfalls or fountains, rock ledges, and a lot of landscaping to blend them into your yard. They have a cost range of $3,000 to $15,000 on average.


Garden pond with ornamental bushes


Farm Pond Cost

A farm pond is a plain, simple pond used for farm animals, such as ducks and cattle. They are not usually landscaped, which reduces their costs considerably. They are also more likely to have a natural clay liner, which further cuts down the installation cost. Their size is the biggest contributing factor to the price, which ranges from $4,000 to $10,000.


Meadows covered in green grass and small farm pond


Koi Pond Cost

A koi pond or goldfish pond is usually a small pond that is deep enough to allow koi to live in a healthy environment no matter how cold it becomes in the winter. Koi ponds need filtration, some way to circulate the water, and a non-freeze zone if you live in an area with cold temperatures. They are usually heavily landscaped like garden ponds. They cost between $9,000 and $13,000 on average, depending on the size.


Koi fish in a natural stone pond


Fishing Pond

A fishing pond is a much larger pond designed to either be stocked yearly or include your own hatchery. It is less likely to have ornamental landscaping, but it is also much deeper than the average pond. To keep it healthy, you will likely need a filtration system, and it may be clay-lined or given a man-made liner, depending on its size. Fishing ponds cost between $10,000 and $75,000, depending on the size, depth, and features.​

Man-made Lake

A man-made lake is a body of water large enough for small watercraft and fishing. This pond is deep enough not to require a liner or filtration and large enough to support being stocked or having a hatchery. Depending on its size and whether you do any landscaping, it can cost $30,000 to $50,000 to have installed.

Natural Swimming Pool Cost

Natural swimming pools are a way to have a backyard pool that appears natural, without the chemicals and maintenance of a regular pool. It is made up of two areas, the swimming area and the regeneration zone, which is filled with plants that filter the water. Pipes circulate the water between the two areas, and the pond is usually well-landscaped to make it appear natural. They may have a clay liner but typically have a concrete one. They cost between $50,000 and $100,000 on average.


Beautiful fishing pond

Pond Liner Costs Per Square Foot

Unless you live in an area with natural clay soil that holds water easily or plan on digging deep enough to tap the local water table, you will need to line your pond. You have several options for liners, depending on the size and type of the pond and what you plan to use it for:

Pond liner costs per square foot

Pond liner costs per square foot

Liner MaterialAverage Costs
Plastic$0.25 - $1.20/sq.ft.
Rubber$0.35 - $2.05/sq.ft.
Fiberglass$3.50 - $6.00/sq.ft.
Concrete$60 - $120/sq.ft.


Plastic Liners

Plastic liners are the least expensive liner material and one of the easiest to use for small ponds. They come in a readymade shape, so all you have to do is drop them into place. They come in several sizes and shapes, but you need to make sure that you dig the hole to the exact specifications. You will also need to backfill in around them, or they may crack over time. They cost $0.25 - $1.20/sq.ft.

Rubber

Rubber is one of the most popular liners for backyard ponds. It is easy to use and endlessly customizable so that you can create the exact shape and depth you want for your pond. It tears easily, however, so you need to make sure there are no rocks or roots in your pond’s bottom. Leaving it the sun for a while before installing helps it stretch more easily without tearing, creating a better fit. These liners are good for nearly all shallow ponds of multiple sizes. Prices range from $0.35 to $2.05/sq.ft.

Fiberglass

A fiberglass liner is basically a shell, like a fiberglass pool. They come in several shapes, but you are confined to what the manufacturer has. They are sturdy and long-lasting, often going much longer without needing maintenance than plastic or rubber. They cost between $3.50 and $6.00 a square foot.

Concrete

Concrete is not the most frequently used material for backyard ponds, but if you want a very long-lasting and durable pond or want to create a natural swimming pool, this is the material you want. It can be painted black to help it blend in with the landscaping, and it can last for years without a lot of care. It is the most expensive, however, at $60 to $120/sq.ft.

Average Costs to Dig a Pond

A large part of the cost of a pond is the excavation. You need to dig the pond, then remove the soil from its base. Some small ponds can be dug out with a shovel, and some landscapers recommend that homeowners dig out their own small ponds to save on the cost. However, larger ponds must be excavated using special equipment, particularly when creating a pond large enough for recreation, farming, or swimming. Expect to pay between $1.50 and $3.50 per cubic yard for larger ponds. For smaller, hand-dug ponds, costs are about $2.50 to $7.50 a square foot for the labor, depending on the soil conditions. For a 6 x 8-foot koi pond, digging costs will be around $250 - $300 on average.

Labor Costs to Build a Backyard Pond

There is a wide variation in labor costs for a backyard pond because every set up is different. The size, depth, use, and how much landscaping you have done all factor into the final labor costs. Labor can be as little as $500 for a small pond with no landscaping to as much as $12,000 for a larger pond with moderate edging. For a 6 x 8-foot koi pond, expect the labor to be roughly $4,000 out of the $9,000 total.


Decorative koi pond in a garden


Shape of the Pond

Pond shape is also very important to the final look and function of the pond. A rectangular pond is the easiest to dig because it only requires straight lines and is easy to measure. Oblong ponds are easier to maintain than circular ponds because you can typically reach the entire pond from the banks instead of having to get into a circular pond to maintain it.

If you want the pond to look natural, you may want a slightly irregularly shaped pond or a freeform pond. If you want a small pond that is visible on all sides, circular is a nice route for koi as well. Talk to your landscaper about your yard, your desires for the pond, and its location to determine the ultimate shape. 

Pond Pump and Filter

Your pond ideally needs a pump and filter to stay clean and not stagnate. The pump circulates the water and oxygenates it so that plants grow and fish live comfortably. The filter removes algae and debris from the pond so that it stays clean and enjoyable. The pump and filter you need are tied to the size and type of pond you install, and you have several choices. The pump is dictated by the chosen filter and the size of your pond:


Pond pump and filter

Pond pump and filter


Type of FilterAverage Costs
Skimmer$50 - $250
Pumps$50 - $400
Internal$75 - $400
External$100 - $400


Skimmer

Skimmers are good filters for medium to large ponds. They require minimal maintenance and are very effective at keeping ponds clean. They often contain both a filter and debris net, which you should empty regularly. They are easy to camouflage, so they can hide in plain sight. They cost between $50 and $250, depending on the size.

Pump

Ideally, you will purchase your pump and filter together as a single package. However, you may want to buy these separately, especially if you have a water feature like a fountain or waterfall, which requires its own pump. Pumps are sized to the number of gallons you have in your pond, so a 6 x 8-foot pond needs a pump that is sized at about 500GPH or larger. They cost between $50 and $400, depending on the size and type.

Internal Filter

Internal filters are installed inside the edge of your pond, so they are hard to see and create a more natural appearance. Because they are hidden, they have slightly higher maintenance, so you need to check them regularly to change the filters. They are good for solid debris but not as effective as the other filter types. They are good for small ponds and cost between $75 and $400, depending on the size.

External Filter

External filters sit on the side of your pond. They may be camouflaged or simply out in the open, depending on the model. They are good for ponds of all types and sizes and are easy to reach for maintenance, so changing and checking the filter medium should not be as challenging as with internal filters. They cost between $100 to $400, depending on the size.

Pond Fish Prices

Not all ponds have fish, but you can certainly stock yours, whether for ornamental or fishing purposes. The cost of fish depends on the quantity and the size of the fish you purchase:


Pond fish prices
Pond fish prices

Type of FishPond RecommendationCare

Goldfish

($0.31 - $0.50)

Ponds with 20 gallons or moreVery easy to care for

Catfish

($0.55 - $1.55)

Large ponds

Grow very quickly

Easy to care for

Trout

($0.60 - $1.60)

Large ponds/Fishing ponds

High maintenance

Need frequent feeding

Bass

($0.90 - $3.20)

Large ponds/Fishing ponds

Grow quickly

Easy to care for

Black Moor

($5 - $6)

Ponds with 40 gallons or more

Friendly

Easy to care for

Koi

($10 - $25)

Large ponds

Temperamental

Moderately difficult to care for


Pond Plant Prices

Aquatic plants are common in ponds. They filter the water naturally and add to the landscaping and ambiance of the pond. Like fish, they have a wide range of costs:


Pond plant prices

Pond plant prices


PlantsPond RecommendationCare

Anacharis

($4 - $8)

Any pond

Grown underwater

No fertilizer necessary

Water Lettuce

($5 - $8)

Large ponds

Easy to care for

Grow rapidly

Iris

($7 - $10)

Shallow ponds

Improves water quality

No fertilizer necessary

Cattail 1

($8 - $11)

Shallow ponds

Improves water quality

No fertilizer necessary

Water Lilies

($30 - $45)

Deep ponds - roots will reach the bottom

Easy to care for

Most need a tropical climate

Non-tropical climates need specific plants to thrive

Lotus

($40 - $55)

Deep ponds - roots will reach the bottom

Hardy

Does well in any climate

Easy to care for


Pond Maintenance Costs

Your pond will have ongoing maintenance costs after its installation. This is for things like the filters, fertilizer, fish food, and cleaning as needed. If you take care of the pond yourself, expect to pay roughly $20 - $40 a month in maintenance fees. If you hire a professional, costs will be around $75 - $150 a month, depending on the size of your pond and the labor required.


Small waterfall in decorative pond with gold fishes


Filling In a Garden Pond

Sometimes, your garden pond does not work out the way you wanted it to. It may grow stagnate, develop bacteria, dry up, or simply cost too much in maintenance and upkeep. If this happens, you can hire a company to fill in the pond. Some pool companies do this because they are used to filling in pools. Some landscapers also provide this service. This costs between $300 and $800, depending on the pond size and how difficult it is to reach with the dump trucks full of dirt. Large ponds and difficult-to-reach ponds will cost more to fill.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting helps you enjoy your pond in the evening hours as well as the daytime. Typical outdoor lighting costs around $3,800.

Pond Surrounding

Unless this is a farm or fishing pond, you will want to install edging to make the pond stand out and hide the edge of the liner. Edging costs between $2 and $6 a foot, depending on the size and style.

Pond Bridge

A pond bridge can be a nice feature to enhance your pond and make it look more ornamental. It is also a good way to provide access to care for and clean the interior of some ponds. They have costs of around $200 - $500 for a 5-foot bridge.

Adding Landscaping

Landscaping is a large part of your pond installation because it is what helps it blend in with its surroundings. Landscaping costs vary wildly depending on what you do, but expect to pay between $500 to $3,000 to start.

Stone Pathway

You can create a stone pathway to lead you to and around your pond. These paths have a wide range of costs depending on the size, style, and material. Prices start at $2 a stone.

Pond Heater

If you live in an area where water freezes in the winter, you may want to invest in a pond heater so that your fish and plants can survive the winter. This is not necessary for deep or large ponds but can help smaller ones. They cost around $50 - $100, depending on the size.

Waterfall

Waterfalls and fountains are popular additions to backyard ponds. Their cost varies, depending on the size and structure, but average $1,200 to $1,800. They can be installed DIY or professionally, and while it is easiest to install them at the same time as the pond, they can be added at a later date. To install a waterfall, you need a rubber pond liner and an area of the pond that can be built up to waterfall height. The waterfall needs a special pump that depends on the size and flow of the water. For best results, choose a pump with a flow rate of at least 300 gallons per hour and a lift of 6 feet. You also need an electric outlet installed for the pump to run.

Additional Considerations

  • If you want to have fish, you need a larger pond because they provide more space for the fish to move and grow. They also allow the water to circulate better so that it does not stagnate.
  • In most areas, you need a permit to construct a backyard pond. In some areas, you cannot have a pond more than 12 inches deep unless your property is fenced in. If you have a homeowner’s association, there may be further restrictions.
  • If you have neighbors with children, you may want to avoid a deep pond unless it is fenced.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to put in a small pond?

This depends on many details, including the size, depth, and purpose. Expect costs to start at around $5,000.

  • How far should a pond be from a house?

This is up to you. There are no restrictions as long as it is well-cared-for, and you do not have small children who may fall in.

  • How big should a pond be?

Ponds can be any size, from 4 x 6-feet up to the size of a small lake. It depends entirely on your property and your plans for it.

  • Where is the best place to put a pond?

Level ground is the best location or very slightly down from a slope.

  • What do you put in the bottom of a pond?

Line your pond with rubber, plastic, fiberglass, or concrete, depending on your needs.

  • How deep should I make my pond?

Most ponds are a minimum of 12 inches deep, but they can be as deep as several feet, depending on what you intend to use it for.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Cattail: A tall reed-like plant that grows in marshland or at the edge of ponds, with a brown, cylindrical stalk that is made up of many tiny flowers

Cost to install a backyard pond varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Beautiful pond surrounded by plants in the backyard of a home that creates a peaceful oasis

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Allen, TX
+23%
Anderson, CA
-12%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baldwin, NY
+31%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Beaverton, OR
+15%
Brick, NJ
+3%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Bryan, TX
-19%
Buford, GA
+9%
Carlsbad, CA
+13%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clarksville, TN
-13%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Conyers, GA
+9%
Cuba, MO
-40%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Cajon, CA
+8%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fabyan, CT
+19%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Wayne, IN
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Gibsonia, PA
+22%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jefferson, GA
-14%
Kansas City, KS
+16%
Kaukauna, WI
-2%
Lakeland, FL
-13%
Lancaster, CA
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, KY
+1%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Marietta, GA
+10%
Meriden, KS
-14%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Newberg, OR
+15%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Labor cost in your zip code
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