Backyard Pond Installation Cost

In this guide

Size
Liner
Shape
Fish & Plants
Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to install a backyard pond?

Adding a pond to your backyard can help create a peaceful oasis. It also can increase your home’s value, be a great investment, improve curb appeal, and be a beautiful and welcoming addition to your home. With a backyard pond, your house is sure to stand out from the neighbors.

For this example, we’ll consider the cost of installing a standard 11’x16’ plastic rectangular pond with typical fish, a bridge and edging, which averages $7,000-$8,500.

Size

The size of the pond is also very important--larger ponds require more labor and more materials to install:

Pool SizeAverage Cost
4’x6’$2,500-$3,500
8’x11’$5,000-$6,000
11’x16’$7,000-$8,500
16’x21’$9,500-$12,000
26’x26’$12,000-$16,000

Liner

Aside from the size, the type of pool liner has the biggest effect on the labor and overall cost of the backyard pond, as shown below:

Type of LinerProsConsBest Use Cost
Prefabricated plastic liner shell

Doesn’t rust or dent

Easy to install and clean

Must dig hole to hit lining exactly

No way to personalize shape

Can crack

Smaller ponds$100-$150 for a 125 gallon pond ($0.80-$1.20 per gallon)
Concrete

Sturdy

Durable

Labor intensive

Hard to remove

Deeper ponds that will never be taken out$5,000-$6,500 for a 15,000 gallon pond ($0.33-$0.43 per gallon)
Fiberglass 1

Durable

Long lasting

Easy to install

Doesn’t need to be confined on all edges

Can’t customize shape

Expensive

Shallow ponds$1,500-$2,500 for a 425 gallon pond ($3.53-$5.88 per gallon)
Rubber

Flexible

Customizable

 Inexpensive

Don’t last as long (10-20, versus 50 years for concrete)

Can tear

Must be weighed down

Deep ponds or those with unique shapes$180-$220 for 1,100 gallon pond ($0.16-$0.20 per gallon)


Only a rubber liner requires edging to keep it in shape, but most ponds have edging of some sort to set the pond apart and give it a clean, finished look. Popular edging options include bricks ($5-$6 per linear foot installed) or pavers ($2-$5 per linear foot materials; $6-$10 per linear foot installed).

An average backyard pond is 3-4 feet deep. Shallow ponds (1-2 feet deep) are about 30-40% cheaper to build because they require less digging, but some fish and plants require deeper ponds to thrive. If you live in a hot climate, it will be difficult to keep a shallow pond cool in the summer, which can harm the fish. Conversely, if you live in a cold climate, a shallow pond can easily freeze during the winter months.

Shape

Pond shape is also very important. 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 pool from the banks instead having to get in a circular pond to maintain it.

Ponds should be placed in a prominent location in your backyard so they aren’t forgotten. They also shouldn’t be placed in low-lying areas where water pools, as that can lead to flooding and water issues during installation.

Filters & Pumps 2

There are also a variety of choices when it comes to a pond filter:

Type of FilterProsConsBest UsePrice
Internal Filter

Inexpensive

Easy to install and clean

Well hidden

Not as effective

Small to medium ponds

Not much debris

$150
External Filter

Options for all pond sizes

Easy maintenance

Harder to assemble

Harder to hide

Ponds of all sizes$80-$130
Skimmer

Most effective

Best water quality

Minimal maintenance

Harder to assemble

Expensive

Medium to large ponds$150-$250


To find what size pump 2 you need, calculate the total volume of the pond (length x width x depth x 7.48) and how far the pump 2 must push the water. It is recommended to cycle the pond’s water once every two hours. Pumps 2 are measured by GPH (gallons per hour), so you can divide the pond’s volume in half to find the required pump 2 strength. For example, our 11’x16’ pond requires a pump 2 with about 2000 GPH.

Fish & Plants

Most people add some variety of fish or plants to their backyard pond. These items have a wide range of prices, as show below:

Type of FishRecommendationCare Cost
CatfishLarge pond

Grow very quickly

Easy to care for

$1-$5
Standard GoldfishPonds as small as 20 gallonsVery easy to care for$3-$9
Black MoorPonds as small as 40 gallonsFriendly and easy$20-$30
Koi 3Large ponds (at least 1000 gallons)

More involved care

 More temperamental

$25-$50
Plants


AnacharisGrow completely underwaterNo fertilizing required$3-$7
Water LettuceLarger ponds

Easy to care for

Grow rapidly

$4-$7
IrisShallow water or saturated soil

Feed off soil nutrients

 Improve water quality as they grow

$6-$9
Cattail 4Shallow water

Feed off soil nutrients

Improve water quality as they grow

$7-$10
Water Lilies

Deep water

Roots reach pots at bottom of pool

Fairly easy care

Available in tropical

Non-tropical varieties depending on climate

$25-$40
Lotus

Deep water

Roots reach pots at bottom of pool

Hardy$35-$50

Labor

Pond installers charge $40-$65 per hour to dig a pool. A 125 gallon pool typically takes one day (8 labor hours) to dig. The labor costs include machinery. If you want to install lights or heat for your pond, you’ll need to hire an electrician for $65-$85 per hour. A standard pond lighting project can typically be completed in about a day (8 hours, for a cost of $520-$680)

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • The cost of adding a waterfall varies widely based on the size and structure, but the average cost is $1,200-$1,800. Waterfalls can be installed on your own or by a professional. Although it is easiest to install a waterfall when the pond is first installed, it is possible to add a waterfall at a later date. To install a waterfall, you’ll need flexible pond liner and an area of the pond that can be built up with dirt or rocks to give the waterfall height. Waterfalls require waterfall pumps 2, which depend on the size and flow of your waterfall. For best results, choose a pump 2 with a flow rate of at least 300 gallons per hour and a lift of six feet. The pump 2 will need to be run to an electric outlet with low-grade wiring. With tubing attached to the pump 2 that pulls in water from the pond and circulates it through the waterfall, you are good to go.
  • A five-foot bridge for the pond averages $140-$200.
  • Adding landscaping to the rest of the backyard also varies based on size and features, but average landscaping for a 1200 square foot yard costs $13,200.
  • On average, adding outdoor lighting costs $3,800 for 20 fixtures of varying styles and powers around the yard.
  • Adding a stepping stone pathway costs between $12-$25 per large stone, which are typically placed 6-12 inches apart.
  • Adding a pond heater can help regulate the temperature, which can be important in cold climates or if you have more temperature fish (like koi 3). A standard heater averages $45-$65.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Larger ponds tend to be better for fish because it gives them more space to move and grow and allows the water to circulate better, which leads to less stagnant water and fewer contaminants.
  • In some cases, you may need a permit to construct a backyard pond. If you live in an HOA-controlled neighborhood, you may also need to get permission from the board. Talk to your landscaper for specific details about your area.
  • Aside from installation costs, ponds also have maintenance costs. Monthly upkeep averages $20-$40 depending on the size of the pond and the type of fish and plants it holds. Professional services are available for $75-$150 per visit, which typically happens once a month or every other month.
  • When planning a pond, consider the safety of your family and neighbors. If there are children in your home, a deeper pond probably isn’t the safest option.
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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 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
2 Pumps: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
3 Koi: A Japanese variety of carp which is bred for decorative use, such as in outdoor or indoor ornamental ponds
4 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.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Aston, PA
+26%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Carteret, NJ
+39%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chico, CA
-14%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dallas, TX
+10%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Fullerton, CA
+22%
Gilbert, AZ
-2%
Glen Head, NY
+36%
Houston, TX
+24%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lilburn, GA
+16%
Livermore, CA
+35%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Mamaroneck, NY
+40%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oakley, CA
+30%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Pensacola, FL
-19%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Racine, WI
-7%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Richmond, VA
+4%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Saline, MI
+7%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Scottsdale, AZ
-1%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Sunnyvale, CA
+31%
Tampa, FL
-2%
Tucson, AZ
-19%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources