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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Pond?

Typical Range: $1,248 - $5,049

Find out how much your project will cost

The average price to install a pond ranges from $1,248 and $5,049, with most homeowners paying around $3,043. The expense is usually $2.50 to $7.15 per square foot. For a larger-scale project, expect to pay $3,000 to $8,200 per acre, or more.
Ponds can be surprisingly inexpensive to install. The overall price varies based on a variety of factors. Some people want to include a liner, which could be a plastic shell or even a sheet that goes along the bottom and sides of the pond. Plastic is the cheapest option, but people might also choose a stronger material like concrete or fiberglass, which is more expensive. Other important factors include:
  • Pond Location
  • Property Soil Type
  • Additions like Stone or Gravel Liners
A pond can make a great addition to any landscape. Homeowners may write it off as too expensive before getting an estimate or doing much research. If you're interested in adding one to your backyard, contact a professional. He or she will be able to figure out the best course of action for your space and can give you a better idea on the cost, highlighting certain factors integral to pricing.

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National Average
Typical Range
$1,248 - $5,049
Low End - High End
$350 - $9,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 396 HomeAdvisor members in .

Pond or Lake Construction Prices

The cost of homemade ponds further varies by the type installed. For example, koi and swimming ponds require different materials to function correctly. The least expensive style is the small garden pond for $50 at the cheapest, while bodies of water with practical functions like a fishing pond cost more. Most people expect to pay between $50 and $10,000 for their pond.
Residential Pond or Lake Costs by Type
TypeExpenseFactors Affecting Cost
Koi$450-$5,500Depth, Heating, Electrical, Fish
Manmade Lake$100-$5,000Liner, Labor, Size
Farm$2,000-$10,000Liner, Labor, Size, Fish
Backyard Fishing$1,500-$9,000Depth, Size, Fish
Small Garden$50-$500Liner, Chemicals, Fish
Natural Swimming$50 per square footDepth, Liner, Labor

Koi Pond

Koi ponds are special bodies of water designed to house koi that cost between $450 and $5,500. The fish need to live in an area that is at least 3 feet deep. Depending on the weather in your area, the pond might also need a heating system to keep the fish alive during the winter. An electrical system like a generator, filter, and heater keeps the water and heat moving. Otherwise, one of the most important costs will be for the fish themselves and their food. Many koi ponds do not use liners.

Manmade Lakes

Manmade lakes don’t have a standard size or shape and therefore cost anywhere between $100 and $5,000. Because homeowners have more freedom with this body of water, the main factors in cost include the type of liner used, how much labor is needed, and the overall size of the lake. A DIY job costs less than hiring a professional but comes with risks. Failure to install a liner correctly or to excavate the ground properly could destroy the lake.


Farm ponds or lakes have many uses and cost roughly $2,000 to $10,000. Lots of homeowners install one because it provides water for irrigation, livestock, and fish. They need to be well-maintained and cared for and large enough to provide enough liquid for the farm. Their most significant factors for cost include the lake’s size, type of liner, and how much labor goes into making one. Many homeowners also need to consider what kind of products they will put in it based on their needs.

Backyard Fishing Ponds

Fishing ponds have some of the most variety since different types of fish require different environments. A standard pond costs between $1,500 and $9,000. The factors which affect the overall expense the most are the pond’s size, shape, depth, and what kind of fish the owner wants to have. Fish have different needs and water types they need to live, so there is the added expense of choosing the right liner, potentially a heating system, and chemicals to maintain the pond.

Small Garden

Garden ponds are the cheapest and easiest type to DIY. Most cost only $50 to $500. Homeowners can purchase a small plastic liner from a hardware or garden store, or they can dig a hole and line it themselves. Some factors affecting price are size, depth, and whether there are fish.

Natural Swimming Pond

Lots of homeowners like the benefits of natural swimming ponds. They cost $50 per square foot to create and include tons of variety. There are no chemicals and they are easy to maintain. Like many other types, this pond varies in cost because of the differences in size, depth, and the type of liner used to keep it from eroding.

Average Costs to Dig a Pond

The average backyard pond is between 200 and 300 square feet. Since the typical price per square foot is $2.50 to $7.15, most people pay between $500 and $2,145. The total average cost for this size is roughly $1,100.
The main factors which affect how much a pond will be are its size, depth, and the type of earth that needs to be removed. Difficult materials like sand and clay take longer, which adds to the cost of professional labor. Location is also important.

Choosing a Location — Design & Architect Rates

The first step to building any pond is to choose where you want to put it. Depending on what kinds of plants or fish you may want to have, location will be important. It's smart to consult a landscape designer who can help you determine what shaded areas might work best. This will ensure it is put in a place that will take less of a beating from the weather.
Landscape architects or designers can help you determine how large the pond should be and where it should go because they can identify problematic areas. Architects require state licensing to work while designers usually have experience in the landscape industry.
Hiring a landscape designer usually costs $50 to $150 an hour. They will recommend the kind of materials to use to better help plants and fish thrive.
Landscape architects have more experience with long-term project management and design. Hiring a landscape architect helps a homeowner ensure their pond will last and be structurally sound. Most interns or junior professionals charge between $50 and $80 an hour, while pro landscape architects charge up to $200 per hour.

Per Square Foot & Acre Cost Calculator

Measure pond size by calculating the surface area of a pond and then how many gallons of water are needed to fill it. The owner needs to measure length, width, and the average depth of the body of water.
Common Pond Sizes & Costs
SizeSize in Square FeetAverage Expense to Dig
10 feet x 15 feet150$375-$1,073
½ Acre21,780$1,500-$3,000
1 Acre43,560$3,000-$5,000
3 Acres130,680$9,000-$15,000
Many professional landscapers will charge discounted rates for projects ½ acre and larger. These rates are sometimes as low as $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot.

Backyard Excavation Estimates

Another factor involved in creating a lake or other body of water is land excavation. This process is the removal of trees, bushes, shrubs, grass, and any other debris around the building site. The average cost of land excavation is between $1,200 and $4,500.

Filling in a Pond

The average cost of hiring a pool removal professional to fill one is $6,500. Sometimes having a pond doesn’t work out. It might become too overgrown, full of bacteria, or simply too expensive to maintain. It’s possible to fill it back in when this happens.
One of the easiest ways to have a pond removed is to call someone who specializes in pool removal. They have experience filling these bodies with materials like dirt or concrete.
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Pond Installation Cost Factors

Almost every pond is different but has similar installation cost factors. The most significant ones are shape, size, the type of liner used, what sort of landscaping will surround the water, and whether or not there will be a waterfall or electrical systems.

Shape & Size

The size of your pond will be a big factor in the cost. The larger the pond, the bigger the excavation and prep work. Giving your pond a really unique shape increases the price but has great visual appeal. If shape is less important, the option exists for prefabricated liner shells, which will decrease the cost to install a pond. Your climate determines whether a liner works or not.

Pond Liner

A typical pond liner costs between $100 and $1,000 depending on what is used. There are a couple of different options for liners, all of which will impact the overall expense to install a pond.
Flexibility and Permanence of Liner Materials
Concrete or FiberglassInflexible50+ Years
Flexible Plastic Flexible10-20 Years
Rigid PlasticInflexible5-10 years


Installing stone edging or other surrounds to your pond will spruce up the area and make it stand out even more. While increasing your total cost, it will add that finishing touch to make your pond look like a part of your yard.
Popular Surrounding Materials and Their Costs
Surrounding MaterialAverage Per Square Foot
General Landscaping$1-$20

Waterfall Feature

If you opt to include a waterfall, this can be a terrific addition to a pond and will give you that zen water sound in your space. Be prepared to pay more for the plumbing and design involved in creating one. The average cost to install a waterfall is about $1,000, although some DIY kits are as low as $450.

Pond Maintenance

Putting in a little bit more on the cost to install a pond will help you in the end with maintenance. By putting in a good filtering system, the water should remain clearer and collect less algae. This can also prevent dirt runoff which can cloud the water. If you add fish, then you will need to maintain UV heaters and chemicals to keep the water stabilized.
Maintenance can either be done by the owner or a specialized company. The typical expense for a professional pond maintenance service falls between $1,500 and $2,000 for one year. This price includes the replacement of chemicals.


Most ponds can benefit from landscaping, especially if they are decorative or fulfill a working function. Garden structures need to blend in with the surrounding area to look aesthetically pleasing. Farm ones need to be accessible. Koi ponds are purely aesthetic and need to be beautiful and accessible.
Landscaping can be a DIY or professional job. Homeowners spend an average of $3,300, but the price varies by size and complexity. Sometimes the price of landscaping is as low as $350. At other times, it could be over $10,000.
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How Do You Measure for the Size of Your Pond?

There are a couple of ways to measure pond size based on its shape.
  • Square or Rectangle: To get the basic size, multiple length times width. For the full area with depth included, you should multiply length times width times average depth
  • Ex: 5 ft. x 7 ft. = 35 sq. ft.
  • Ex: 5 ft. x 7 ft. x 3 ft. = 105 cubic ft.
  • Round: Multiply the circle’s circumference by itself for the basic area. To find depth, also multiply how deep the area is.
  • Ex: 5 ft. x 5 ft. = 25 sq. ft.
  • Ex: 5 ft. x 5 ft. x 5 ft. = 125 cubic ft.

How Much Water Do You Need to Fill It?

It’s easy to calculate how many gallons are needed to fill a pond if you know the area in cubic feet. Simply multiple the result by 7.43 gallons.
  • Ex: 105 cubic ft. x 7.43 gallons = 780.15 gallons of water
  • Ex: 125 cubic ft. x 7.43 gallons = 928.75 gallons of water

How Much Does it Cost to Stock Your Pond with Fish?

The price for stocking a pond with fish depends on the type of fish and how many will go in the water. The average cost for each fish, regardless of species, is $1.25 to $4.50 each.
Some of the most common stocking fish are trout, bluegill, bass, catfish, carp, and minnows.

How Much Do Koi Fish Cost?

Koi fish can be between $10 and $20,000 depending on the quality of the animal. People with DIY ponds will usually pay between $10 and $25 for a single fish, but higher quality fish cost between $100 and $300. People who invest less money into pond construction will want to purchase cheaper fish since it is hard to maintain more expensive koi without additional materials like a heater.

What is Pond Dredging and What Does it Cost?

Dredging is when someone scrapes the bottom and sides of a pond to eliminate sediment and growth while also making the structure deeper. This can eliminate unwanted algae. The earth pulled from the bottom is called a spoil and is either deposited along the side or can be used to make a small island.
Some of the positives of dredging include getting fertile land to make a beach or surroundings for the pond, getting fresh land for new growth, and creating a new nursery habitat for fish. Dredging costs up to $75,000 for an acre, which comes down to roughly $1.72 per square foot.

Making Your Own Pond vs. Hiring a Professional

Sometimes people will want to try and DIY their own pond. This can be done by someone with experience but can be dangerous and expensive for novices. First, the homeowner would need to locate and rent large equipment like an excavator. The price to rent an excavator is between $150 and $1,500 a day and the user will typically need a license.
The homeowner will also need to make sure they measured the property correctly and know how to install a liner and surroundings. They will also be responsible for controlling the aquatic environment. The main pitfalls of a DIY job are mismanaging equipment, potentially damaging the landscape through errors, and not ordering the right amount of supplies. Building a pond, especially a large one, typically requires the expert building and management that only a pond professional can provide.
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