How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pond?

National Average Range:
$5,000 - $20,000
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Reviewed by Nieves Caballero. Written by Fixr.com.

Adding a pond to your backyard landscaping makes a beautiful addition to your property. Whether you want a koi or fountain pond, the sound of trickling water and the tranquility of the pond create an attractive feature for yards of every size. They can be small, ornamental features or large enough for swimming. 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.

Prices depend on multiple factors, which means getting an accurate price requires looking at characteristics like size, material, equipment, and type. The main feature that impacts all other costs is the size of the pond. You will usually see prices of $5,000 for small ponds to $20,000 for large ponds. On average, the cost to install a pond for most homeowners is $9,000, which equates to a 6 x 8-foot koi pond with a rubber liner and complete landscaping. On the low end, you will find that a 4 x 6 above-ground pond with no landscaping will cost $1,850. On the high end, you will see natural swimming pools with a concrete liner and an adjacent regeneration zone that cost $70,000.

Cost to Install a Pond

Backyard Pond Costs
National average cost$9,000
Average range$5,000-$20,000
Low-end$1,850
High-end$70,000

Backyard Pond Installation Cost by Project Range

Low
$1,850
4 x 6-foot ornamental pond lined with plastic and no landscaping
Average Cost
$9,000
6 x 8-foot koi pond with a rubber liner and complete landscaping
High
$70,000
Natural swimming pool with concrete liner and adjacent regeneration zone

Cost to Build a Pond by Size

The starting point for any pool pricing calculation starts with size. While size is not the only consideration, it is a significant factor because the pool size impacts the number of landscaping materials required to surround the pond and the amount of plastic, rubber, fiberglass, or concrete needed to line the pool. On average, the cost of installation ranges between $2,500 and $50,000.

If that range seems extraordinary, it is because sizes vary from small ponds of 4 x 6 feet to huge ones measuring 26 x 26 feet. Many of them feature a shape like an amoeba or a kidney bean. Manufacturers use an oddly shaped pool’s maximum length and width to express its size and indicate how many gallons of water the pond will hold. Landscapers and pond installers generally recommend ponds at least two to three feet deep. They create their average prices with those average depths in mind.

Cost to Install a 4' x 6', 6' x 8', 8' x 11', 11' x 16', 16' x 21', and 26' x 26' Pond

Cost to Install a 4' x 6', 6' x 8', 8' x 11', 11' x 16', 16' x 21', and 26' x 26' Pond

SizeAverage Cost Range (Installed)
4' x 6'$3,500 - $5,000
6' x 8'$7,500 - $10,000
8' x 11'$12,000 - $16,000
11' x 16'$13,000 - $25,000
16' x 21'$25,000 - $35,000
26' x 26'$35,000 - $50,000

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Backyard Pond Installation Prices by Capacity

Your installer or landscaper may quote their cost to put in a pond based on its capacity or volume, a calculation that uses the width, length, and depth of the pool. You may find it helpful to get your ponds cost through the calculation of volume because it will give you an idea of the amount of water you will need to put in the pond, as well as its maintenance costs when you consider pumps, power usage, and the cost of the liner. For a 360-gallon pond, you will see an average price that ranges from $2,500 to $5,000. On the larger side, a 10,000-gallon option costs from $35,000 to $50,000.

Cost to Install a 360, 720, 1,300, 2,600, 5,000, and 10,000-Gallon Pond

Cost to Install a 360, 720, 1,300, 2,600, 5,000, and 10,000-Gallon Pond

Approximate VolumeAverage Cost Range (Installed)
360 Gallons$2,500 - $5,000
720 Gallons$7,500 - $10,000
1,300 Gallons$12,000 - $16,000
2,600 Gallons$13,000 - $25,000
5,000 Gallons$25,000 - $35,000
10,000 Gallons$35,000 - $50,000

Backyard Pond Costs by Type

The type you install impacts the cost nearly as much as the size. While an increase in size results in increased costs, some are less expensive to install than others, no matter how large. For example, the base cost for a small fishing type is approximately $20,000 less than a small man-made lake. However, the largest fishing types cost $25,000 more than the most expensive man-made lakes. One reason is the fish needed to populate fishing ponds. Some types of fish need unique environments or are valuable creatures, which may increase the cost significantly as the pond increases in size. In most cases, you will see the least expensive above-ground options starting at $1,850 and the most expensive natural pools reaching a cost of $80,000.

Cost to Install an Above-Ground, Farm, Garden, Koi, Fishing, Man-Made Lake, and Natural Swimming Pool Pond

Cost to Install an Above-Ground, Farm, Garden, Koi, Fishing, Man-Made Lake, and Natural Swimming Pool Pond

TypeAverage Costs (Installed)
Above-Ground$1,850 - $5,000
Farm$2,000 - $10,000
Garden$3,000 - $15,000
Koi$9,000 - $13,000
Fishing$10,000 - $75,000
Man-Made lake$30,000 - $50,000
Natural swimming pool$60,000 - $80,000

Above-Ground

Overall, above-ground options cost between $1,850 and $5,000. They are an excellent option when you cannot dig into the ground or are limited on space. They are an ideal part of a small backyard oasis where you might have decorative stone and some seating. They can hold fish, and some homeowners create koi ponds out of their above-ground ponds. However, it is important to consider that koi types require special care, so a little extra goes into above-ground koi ponds. The most affordable above-ground types are available as kits that include all the components you need to build the pond. The most expensive above-ground types may have added features like a wall made of glass for viewing the fish and plant life as you might in an aquarium.

Farm Pond Cost

The price of a farm type ranges from $4,000 to $10,000, and the most significant factor in price is the size. It is a plain, simple pond used for farm animals, such as ducks and cattle. They are not usually landscaped, reducing their costs considerably. They are also more likely to have a natural clay liner, further cutting down the installation cost.

Garden Pond Cost

Small or cozy garden options will start at $3,000, while fancy garden types may reach $15,000. These types can be very small and simple or large and elaborate, so there is a very wide range of costs, depending on 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.

Koi Pond Cost

Koi types cost between $9,000 and $13,000. A koi or goldfish type is usually a small pond deep enough to allow koi to live in a healthy environment no matter how cold it becomes in the winter. They 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.

Fishing Pond

Fishing ponds cost between $10,000 and $75,000, depending on the size, depth, and features. It is a much larger type designed to 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. It may be clay-lined or given a man-made liner, depending on its size.​

Man-Made Lake

Depending on its size and whether you do any landscaping, it can cost $30,000 to $50,000 to have installed. A man-made lake is a body of water large enough for small watercraft and fishing. This type is deep enough not to require a liner or filtration and large enough to support being stocked or having a hatchery. Man-made lakes are not insignificant in size, so you may need a large property to build your lake.

Natural Swimming Pool Cost

Natural swimming pools cost between $60,000 and $80,000.​ 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. These ponds are usually well-landscaped to make them appear natural. They may have a clay liner but typically have a concrete one.

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Pond Cost by Material

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 its use. You will find that prices for a liner cost per square foot vary wildly from $0.25 for plastic liners to $120 per square foot for concrete liners.

For some liner material types, you will choose between a flexible liner and a preformed liner. One of the benefits of a flexible liner is that it allows you to add features like extra pumps and filters when you have a small to medium type that requires extra attention paid to the filtration equipment. You can cut holes into flexible liners, but you are limited to the existing shape when choosing a preformed liner.

However, preformed liners offer exceptional longevity, which may prove helpful for building a long-lasting backyard ponds. If you choose a preformed liner, you will be limited to a few types of materials, including fiberglass, plastic, and rubber. Other pool liner options like vinyl, HDPE, and bentonite are offered in flexible forms.

Cost per Sq.Ft. of Plastic, HDPE, Rubber, Vinyl, Bentonite, Fiberglass, and Concrete Pond Liners

Cost per Sq.Ft. of Plastic, HDPE, Rubber, Vinyl, Bentonite, Fiberglass, and Concrete Pond Liners

Liner MaterialLiner Cost per Square Foot (Materials Only)
Plastic$0.25 - $1.20
HDPE$0.35 - $0.60
Rubber$0.35 - $2.50
Vinyl$0.50 - $7.50
Bentonite$1.15 - $2.45
Fiberglass$3.50 - $6
Concrete$60 - $120

Plastic

Plastic liners cost an average of $0.25 to $1.20 per square foot. 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. With expert installation, a plastic liner is an affordable and sturdy option when you are interested in a preformed pool liner.

HDPE Pond Liner Price

HDPE liners cost between $0.35 and $0.60 per square foot. Unlike vinyl liners, HDPE liners offer strong resistance to UV light. The material rarely cracks or splits and resists chemicals. HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene. It is a thermoplastic polymer. Some HDPE liners have been known to last for more than three decades, making their affordable cost an even more attractive factor. HDPE is a type of preformed liner sold according to how many gallons of water they hold.

Rubber

Rubber liners range in price from $0.35 to $2.05 per square foot. 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. It tears easily, however, so you need to make sure there are no rocks or roots in your pond’s bottom. Leaving it in 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. Manufacturers offer them in flexible and preformed versions.

PVC

A PVC or vinyl liner runs from $0.50 to $7.50 per square foot. You might choose a vinyl liner because the material is safe for fish and plants. PVC liners are flexible, which means they are ideal for oddly shaped pools. However, a drawback to most PVC liners is that they are not resistant to sun damage or UV rays, which means you have to cover them with about a foot of soil to protect them. A PVC liner lasts about ten years, but you might need to keep a close eye on your pond if you live in a frigid climate.

Bentonite Pond Liner Cost

Bentonite liners will cost between $1.15 and $2.45 per square foot. Bentonite is a type of clay and is considered an "active" liner because a waterproofing process must occur during installation. You might choose bentonite because it is quite easy to repair when damaged. Bentonite is rather difficult to install correctly, so it's important to select an experienced installer. Bentonite is not a preformed type of liner and is sold in a bag and distributed along the bottom and sides of your unit during installation.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass liners cost between $3.50 and $6 per square foot. 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. Fiberglass pool liners are only sold in a preformed variety, limiting your creativity in shaping your pool. However, they make up for that mild inadequacy with their exceptional lifespans.

Concrete Pond Cost

Concrete ponds are the most expensive option costing $60 to $120 per square foot. Concrete is not the most frequently used material for backyard ponds, but if you want a very long-lasting and durable option 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 lasts for years without a lot of care.

Labor Costs to Build a Backyard Pond

There is a wide variation in labor costs for backyard ponds because every setup 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 small ponds with no landscaping to as much as $12,000 for larger options with moderate edging.

The hourly cost for labor varies a fair amount, from $50 to $200 per hour. You may find that labor costs for excavation are charged in addition to the labor costs for landscaping work around the pond. Labor costs for excavation are often charged by the square foot and range from $2.75 to $7 per square foot. When your installer gives you a quote for the cost to put in a pond, they usually include all labor costs in the overall estimate.

The labor involved in building backyard ponds usually includes excavation, installation of a liner, installation of equipment like a filter, and the water features, greenery, and décor installed around the pond. Some types require extra labor, but those costs always show up in your overall cost to install a pond as quoted by your installer. For example, an above-ground type may require that you reslope or regrade your backyard to give the pool a level surface on which to stand.

Cost to Dig a Pond

A large part of the cost of a pond is excavation. You need to dig the pond, then remove the soil from its base. Some small types can be dug out with a shovel. Some landscapers recommend that homeowners dig out their own small ponds to save on the cost. However, larger types must be excavated using special equipment, particularly when creating ponds 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 options, costs are about $2.50 to $7.50 a square foot for the labor, depending on the soil conditions.

Decorative Koi Pond in a Garden

Cost to Fill In a Pond

Sometimes, your garden pond does not work out the way you wanted. 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 size and how difficult it is to reach with the dump trucks full of dirt. Large and difficult-to-reach ponds cost more to fill. If your landscaper can use a truck and finish the process quickly, the price will sit between $300 and $500. In small spaces that require the use of hand tools and a wheelbarrow, you will pay between $500 and $800.

Cost to Build a Large Pond

Beautiful backyard ponds range in size from just a few feet to several feet. But, what if you own a property where you have room for a very large pond? The cost of a one-acre pond installation varies based on your intended use for the pond. A one-acre pond may cost between $10,000 and $20,000, but your costs differ if you want to install features like a dock for watercraft or you want to keep the pond stocked with fish for fishing.

Pond Equipment Cost

Ideally, your pond 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. You will find pump prices range from $50 to $400, and filter costs range from $50 to $400.

Cost of Pond Pump and Filter

Cost of Pond Pump and Filter

PartAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Pump$50 - $400
Filter$50 - $400

Pond Pump Price

You will pay between $50 and $400 for your pump, depending on their size and type. 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 sized at about 500 GPH or larger.

Your landscaper will recommend one of two types of pumps: a submersible or a non-submersible pump. A submersible pump is designed to sit below the waterline in the deep area of the pond. They are capable of pumping 50 to 5,000 gallons per hour (GPH).

A non-submersible pump is the more energy-efficient option and is a good idea for ponds of greater than 1,000 gallons. Non-submersible pumps are also easier to maintain than submersible pumps. If you have fish or other aquatic creatures in your pool, it is essential to make sure your pond pump does not use oil because of the danger of contamination if the pump breaks.

Pond Filter Price

You will choose a filter based on the size of pond you want to install and will pay between $50 and $400, depending on the size and type. Filters play an essential role in keeping ponds properly aerated, which helps the beneficial bacteria that live in your pool. For example, if you have a fish pond, they secrete waste. The beneficial bacteria make sure the waste does not overwhelm the pond.

You will want to pair your filter with the appropriate type of pump and ensure you install the right size filter for your pond. An external pump works with an external filter. You will use a submersible filter with an underwater pump. A skimmer requires a submersible pump, too. Depending on the aquatic and plant life level in your pond, you may need to add an additional underwater filter to work alongside your skimmer.

Cost of Skimmer, Internal, and External Pond Filter

Cost of Skimmer, Internal, and External Pond Filter

TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Skimmer$50 - $250
Internal$75 - $400
External$100 - $400

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Pond Stocking Prices

Your pond can offer a home to a wealth of animals, amphibians, and fish, as well as plants, water features, and greenery. Its location, size, and purpose may dictate the types of outdoor pond fish you house in your pond. Filling your pond with fish and plants depends on your pond size. For each fish you put in your pond, you will pay $0.25 each for an inexpensive fish like a goldfish and up to $25 each for an expensive fish like a koi fish. You are looking at somewhere between $4 and $55 per plant for plants. You can also add other animals like frogs, turtles, and dragonflies, which will cost between $2.60 and $200 per animal.

One of the most popular fish is the koi, which are incredibly suited for life outdoors. Other fish options include catfish, fancy goldfish, trout, bass, and black moor. You will want to choose plants for your pond that pair well with the type of fish, the purpose of your pond, and the hardiness zone of your property. Hardiness zones are labeled with numbers that help you determine which plants will thrive at your latitude. Popular pond plants include creeping Jenny, pickerel, and horsetail. Other options are Taro plants, cardinal flowers, water lettuce, or mosaic plants.

Cost of Fish, Other Animals, and Plants for Pond

Cost of Fishes, Other Animals, and Plants for Ponds

StockingCost per Unit
Fish$0.25 - $25
Other Animals$2.60 - $200
Plants$4 - $55

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. Goldfish are a popular option because they are inexpensive and easy to care for with an affordable cost of $0.25 to $0.50 per fish. Koi fish are somewhat difficult to care for and cost much more than goldfish at around $10 to $25 per fish. You may also choose black moor to stock your pond, a type of black goldfish that is considered friendly and easy to care for with a cost of $5 to $6 per fish.

If you build a fishing or a large pond, you will likely choose between catfish, trout, or bass. For catfish, you will find that they grow quickly and cost between $0.55 and $1.55 per fish. Trout is a high-maintenance fish that requires frequent feeding and is priced from $0.60 to $1.60 per fish. If you choose bass fish, you will see that they grow quickly but are easy to care for and cost around $0.90 to $3.20 per fish.

Cost of Goldfish, Catfish, Trout, Bass, Black Moor, and Koi Pond Fish

Cost of Goldfish, Catfish, Trout, Bass, Black Moor, and Koi Pond Fish

TypeAverage Cost per Fish
Goldfish$0.25 - $0.50
Catfish$0.55 - $1.55
Trout$0.60 - $1.60
Bass$0.90 - $3.20
Black Moor$5 - $6
Koi$10 - $25

Other Animals

Fish and plants are not the only living features you can add to your backyard pond. You will pay $2.60 to $200 for each extra animal you add. Frogs are an obvious choice for added variety, and they often find their way to your pond even if you do not buy them. Other creatures you can choose to house at your pond include turtles, insects like dragonflies, snails, and newts. When consulting with your landscaper, you will want to choose extra wildlife that will live harmoniously with your primary fish.

Cost of Dragonflies, Frogs, Snails, Newts, and Turtles for a Pond

Cost of Dragonflies, Frogs, Snails, Newts, and Turtles for Ponds

TypeAverage Cost per Animal
Dragonflies (as Nymphs)$2.60 - $2.75
Frogs (as Tadpoles)$2.60 - $6.40
Snails$10 - $8.50
Newts$12 - $150
Turtles$20 - $200

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. You will likely pay anywhere from $4 to $55 per plant when you add greenery to your pond. Each type of plant features different care and planting requirements. Some plants require extra care, and others are a "set it and forget it" variety. If you choose Anacharis or waterweeds, you will pay between $4 and $8 for each plant, which grows underwater and requires very little care. If you choose to plant water lettuce, you need a large pond because they grow rapidly. Water lettuce costs between $5 and $8 per plant and features easy care.

Another beautiful plant is the iris, ideal for shallow ponds and costs between $7 and $10 per plant. Irises are terrific for keeping your water quality good and require no fertilizer. Cattails are another plant that does not require fertilizer, improves water quality, and is designed for shallow ponds. You will pay between $8 and $11 per plant.

Water lilies are a classic and beautiful option, but they are usually much more expensive at $30 to $45 per plant. You need a deep pond, and most varieties grow best in a tropical climate. A final option is the lotus plant, which costs $40 to $55. Lotuses have long roots and need a deep pond, but they are easy to care for and grow well in just about any climate.

Cost of Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Iris, Cattails, Water Lilies, and Lotus Pond Plants

Cost of Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Iris, Cattails, Water Lilies, and Lotus Pond Plants

TypeAverage Cost per Plant
Anacharis (Waterweeds)$4 - $8
Water Lettuce$5 - $8
Iris$7 - $10
Cattails$8 - $11
Water Lilies$30 - $45
Lotus$40 - $55

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.

Koi Fishes in a Natural Stone Pond

Shapes

Pond shape is also very important to the final look and function of the pond. Rectangular ponds are the easiest to dig because they only require 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 getting into a circular pond to maintain it.

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

Pond Maintenance Costs

Your pond will have ongoing maintenance costs after its installation. This is for filters, fertilizer, fish food, and cleaning as needed. Cleaning prices vary based on whether you perform the maintenance yourself or hire a cleaning service. On average, your monthly cleaning service cost will vary from $450 to $5,000 per year, with the cost varying largely because of the size of your pond and its overall complexity. Cleaning companies normally visit four times a year for each season, which means you will pay between $115 and $1,250 each time your serviceperson visits for maintenance. If you take care of the pond yourself, expect to pay $20 to $40 a month in maintenance fees.

Small Waterfall in a Decorative Pond With Gold Fishes

Add-On Costs

A pond is a beautiful addition to your backyard, but backyard ponds can become much more than a hole in the ground with some plants and fish. In addition to creating a lush environment for your backyard, your pond may also feature add-ons like statues, fountains, waterfalls, and rocks. Your pond may also require a heater if you live in a cold climate and want tropical plants, as well as a cool lighting display to illuminate your pond at night. These add-ons increase the cost of your pond anywhere from $10 for a single, tiny garden statue to $15,000 for the best and biggest of everything that you can install for add-ons.

Pond Add-On Costs: Statue, Heater, Lighting, Pond Bridge, Edging Materials...

Pond Add-On Costs: Statue, Heater, Lighting, Pond Bridge, Edging Materials...

TypeAverage Cost Range
Statue$10 - $4,200
Heater$25 - $340
Lighting$50 - $3,000
Bridge$100 - $1,700
Edging Materials$350 - $1,500
Waterfall$855 - $4,465
Fountain$2,750 - $15,000

Statue

From tiny frog-shaped garden statutes that cost around $10 to large-scale statutes made of premium materials that cost around $4,200, you can beautify your pond in so many ways with statutes. You can create the illusion of having animals around your pond with small statutes, as well as create a classy, upscale look with a tall statute that looks like you plucked it right out of a museum.

Heater

A tiny heater costs around $25. However, you can select a much larger heater for expansive ponds for around $340. Your climate might not be the most hospitable to pond life in the winter, which means you might want to install a heater. If you want to avoid the monthly electricity cost of running a heater, consult with your installer. You might not need a heater unless your pond will freeze over in the winter. Deep ponds usually do not need heaters either.

Lighting

Adding a lighting system to your pond means paying anywhere from $50 for a few well-placed LED lights installed by your landscaper to $3,000 for a professionally designed lighting array and the expertise of an electrician or lighting designer. Your pond will create beauty in your backyard, but what happens when that focal point disappears at night? Illumination can help you enjoy your pond at any time of the day or night.

Bridge

A pond bridge costs from $100 to $1,700. The price usually depends on the size of the bridge and whether it is meant for the weight of humans or is just for decoration. You may need to have your pond installer create some supports in the ground for the bridge, even if it is just a small one meant for decoration. Some bridges need footings placed within the water for safety. A bridge serves an additional purpose beyond enhancing your pond's appearance by giving you easy access to the far side of the pond.

Edging Materials

You may want to make your pool look like it naturally sprung from the earth without any assistance, which means the installation of some extras like rocks and stones, which will cost $250 to $1,500 in landscaping costs to add to your pond. You can purchase an entire truckload of stones to line your large backyard pond, or you can choose something like decorative lava rocks for your small pond. In most cases, a ton of river rocks covers 55 to 135 square feet.

Waterfall

Waterfalls and fountains are popular additions to backyard ponds. Their cost varies, depending on the size and structure, but it averages $855 to $4,465. They can be installed DIY or professionally. 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 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.

Cost of a Pond Fountain

If you choose to add a fountain to your backyard, you will pay $2,750 to $15,000. One of the benefits of installing a fountain is its ability to aerate the pond beautifully. A fountain reduces the likelihood that your pond will become overwhelmed with algae. However, they use electricity to run, which means your power bill might increase when installing a fountain.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Fence Installation

You may want to install a fence for looks, or your local municipality might require it if your pond is a certain depth. You will pay $15 to $25 per linear foot for your fence. The cost depends on your material choice of wrought iron, vinyl, wood, or aluminum. Wrought iron tends to cost the most, and plastic is your most economical choice.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting helps you enjoy your pond in the evening hours as well as the daytime. Typical outdoor lighting costs around $3,000. You might find you want to expand your pond lighting to include the rest of your backyard. Lighting your entire pond and your backyard beyond the confines of the pond costs $500 to $8,800.

Adding Landscaping

When you add your backyard pond, you might also update the overall landscaping. To update the backyard of your home with new landscaping, you will pay a landscaping cost of $8,000 to $15,000 on top of your backyard pond cost.

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. Stone types you might use include granite, sandstone, limestone, or flagstone. Some stones are appropriate for use in your pathway, as well as the stones that sit at the water's edge.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Size. 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.
  • Permits. In most areas, you need a permit to construct backyard ponds. In some areas, you cannot have a pond more than 12 inches deep unless your property is fenced. If you have a homeowner’s association, there may be further restrictions.
  • Security issues. If you have neighbors with children, you may want to avoid a deep pond unless it is fenced. If you own a dog that adores water, you might also consider a fence to keep it from frolicking with your fish and frogs. Bear in mind that it might attract wildlife, so you might see local animals like raccoons and squirrels stopping by for a drink or a swipe at a fish.

FAQs

  • Does a pond increase property value?

Ponds do not increase in value to any significant degree but may add value to your home should you decide to sell it.

  • Do you need a permit to build a pond in your backyard?

Many ponds need permits. Your local municipality determines the size where a permit becomes necessary.

  • How much does it cost to build a small pond?

A small pond with a preformed liner and a few basic features like rocks and gravel start around $1,500. A kit pool may include a liner, pumps, and a skimmer.

  • How far should a pond be from a house?

Your city might require that your pond be installed at a minimum distance from your house, but general wisdom on the topic suggests a 1,000-gallon pond should sit at least 50 feet from your house.

  • How big should a pond be?

The average backyard in the United States is 6,000 square feet. This size backyard offers leeway on pond size, but the average is around 10 x 15 feet.

  • Where is the best place to put a pond?

You may place your pond anywhere that an accidental leak or flood would not otherwise send the water rushing toward a nearby structure. Level ground or a downward slope from your house is usually best.

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

Most ponds feature gravel on the bottom, which gives beneficial bacteria a place to live. Plants may also grow around the bottom of it, especially when you design it like an aquarium with fish.​

  • How deep should I make my pond?

The minimum depth for the average pond is two feet, but you will want a depth of at least three feet if it freezes in the winter and you populate it with fish. Koi fish need at least 48 to 60 inches.​

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

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources