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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Pond?

Pond Installation Prices

A backyard pond is the perfect place to step away from a busy life and enjoy some quiet reflection. The time leading up to pond construction, however, can be un-Zen-like, as homeowners fret over the perceived high costs of the project. In reality, a garden or koi pond doesn't have to be a budget-buster. A modestly-sized pond with basic features can cost a few thousand dollars, less if you perform some of the work yourself. Read on for a complete breakdown of the factors affecting pond construction costs as well as resources that can help you get the project off (or rather in) the ground.

Building a Pond: What's Involved

Every pond is as unique as the landscape it's being incorporated into. That said, there are some basic steps that go into the creation of any pond.

  • Excavation: Pong building begins with excavation. A professional with a backhoe can make quick work of this project phase. You could also rent a backhoe yourself or do it the old-fashioned way with shovels and elbow grease. In any case, the amount of labor required is determined by the pond size and shape. Small ponds hold up to 500 gallons of water, while medium ponds are sized between 500 and 1,500 pounds and large ponds hold 1,500 to 3,000+ gallons.
  • Liner: Materials used to line a pond include concrete, fiberglass, EPDM rubber, polyethylene, polypropylene, and PVC. The industry standard for pool liners is 45 mil EPDM rubber, which is lightweight, flexible, long-lasting, and modestly priced at less than $1.00 per square foot. PVC is also popular and costs less but is more prone to cracking. Another option is to install a preformed pond kit.
  • Equipment: While a liner is a must-have, other equipment, depending on how the pond will be used, may or may not be added. Most ponds include a filtration system, a pump, drains, and plumbing. If you're building a koi pond, you'll also want to invest in a skimmer, an ultraviolet sanitizer and, based on your climate, a heater. Optional pond equipment includes a flow meter, a fountain and/or waterfall, landscaping rocks and plants, decking, fish, and lighting.
  • Other Considerations: A pond that's properly installed, easy to maintain, and provides maximum enjoyment begins with a comprehensive plan. Your local climate, the physical characteristics of your property, and the location of the pond within your property all play a significant role in how a pond should be designed. Although a contractor should be able to oversee implementation of a pond plan, he or she may not specialize in pond design. That aspect of the project is better left to a landscaping professional. Before choosing a company to build a plan, have an architectural drawing in hand. You should also check with your municipality to see whether any special permits are required for pond construction.

Pond Building Average Costs

  • A shallow 4' x 6' or 6' x 8' professionally-installed pond, including excavation, liner, filtration system, and simple rock border might cost $2,000 to $3,500. As a DIY project, the same pond might cost $500 to $1,000.
  • Larger ponds, depending on features and equipment, can easily cost $5,000 to $15,000 or more.
  • Whether you plan to go the DIY-route or higher a pro, it's a good idea to spend some time exploring pond options and potential costs. Resources can be found at:
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides this guide, which is geared more towards livestock, irrigation, and fish ponds, but nonetheless exhaustive.
  • Even if you're not building a koi pond, most of the information in these guides, from the Mid-Atlantic Koi Club and the Worldwide Koi Club (WWKC), are a good starting point.
  • Laguna: A Beginner's Guide to Building the Perfect Pond
  • See start to finish pond projects and hear what homeowners have to say on this WWKC chatboard thread.

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