How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pond?

Typical Range:

$1,217 - $5,567

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 536 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated June 15, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

On average, pond installation costs $3,368 or between $1,217 and $5,567. Specialty projects, such as a koi pond or natural swimming pool, might run $5,000 to $60,000 or more. Artificial lakes cost $4,000 to $15,000 per acre, or more if you add fish or water features. Expect most small projects to fall between $2.50 to $7.15 per square foot.

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National Average $3,368
Typical Range $1,217 - $5,567
Low End - High End $300 - $10,500

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 536 HomeAdvisor members.

Cost Factors to Dig a Pond

Most backyard ponds fall between $2,000 and $15,000. But various factors can push that number higher. 

The overall price varies based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Region: Climate and cost of living changes affect overall pricing.

  • Soil Type: Excavation and land clearing add costs.

  • Location: You may need extra landscaping in some locations to accommodate a pond.

  • Size: Larger ponds often cost less than smaller ones per square foot.

  • Excavation: The larger the area, the more you’ll need to excavate.

Region

The cost to dig a pond varies by location. Popular cities for ponds include: 

  • Boston: $3,200

  • Los Angeles: $3,800

  • Miami: $3,100

  • Chicago: $2,300

  • Denver: $2,600

Soil Type

If you dig your pond in an area with clay-like soil, lots of trees, or rocky terrain, expect to add $200 to $1,200 or more to the project. If you place your pond in a clear area with loose soil, digging will be much easier and, therefore, less expensive.

Location

Choose a flat area without much vegetation, boulders, or other obstacles. Adding land clearing adds cost. The actual cost will depend on how much vegetation, and whether it’s hand-dug or not. Plus, make sure any heavy machinery can access the pond area. Digging by hand takes more time and costs more than with an earth-mover. 

Size

Size only plays a larger role when you get into something larger than a typical backyard. Once you start factoring in the earth-moving, lining, and any pumps or landscaping needed, large ponds quickly jump in price. 

Bigger projects not only cover more surface area, but also tend to go deeper. Since you’re taking out more dirt and digging deeper, you might receive a per cubic yard quote.

Excavation

Digging a small pond costs between $2.50 and $7.15 per square foot. For a larger pond, excavation costs range from $1.50 to $3.50 per cubic yard. Hourly rates span from $120 to $150 per hour. Excavators usually include land grading in their rates, but if not, expect to add an average of $2,000.

Lake or Pond Installation Price by Size

The larger the pond, the more you’ll spend in total, but the lower the per cubic foot you’ll spend. Small, backyard-sized ponds can range from $5,000 to $55,000. Large artificial lakes might only hit $70,000. Smaller ponds tend to have more features, like waterfalls or specially designed habitats, called an ecosystem pond. 

Larger ponds are commonly priced per acre when done for agricultural or fishing purposes. They’re plain, requiring only a hole with the proper type of dirt or synthetic lining. The average range for less than 10 acres runs $7,000 to $25,000 per acre

Over 10 acres, expect to pay $4,000 to $10,000 per acre. When you start adding on landscaping and other features, it’s possible to quickly double those prices.

SizeAverage Cost
150 – 5,000 sq. ft.$3,000 – $15,000
¼ acre – ½ acre$4,000 – $25,000
1 acre$5,000 – $35,000
10 acres$20,000 – $50,000
20 acres$40,000 – $100,000+

Cost to Excavate Quarter-Acre Pond

Excavating a quarter-acre pond runs between $750 and $2,000, but could cost up to $4,500 or more, depending on the land. Large tree removal costs might add another $1,000 per tree.

One-Acre Pond Cost

One-acre ponds cost between $5,000 to $35,000, or $15,000 on average. Keep in mind that your costs will increase if you want to add fish or a natural stone liner.

Cost to Build a 20-Acre Lake

A 20-acre lake could range from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. While you end up paying less per acre the larger you go, costs could easily run higher, depending on design and style. For example, you’ll need to add in dock installation costs to your project if you plan to keep a boat. 

Cost to Build a Small Pond

The price of a professionally installed small pond ranges from $3,000 to $15,000 on average, but might hit $55,000. A simple DIY pond in your backyard can run as little as $300, if you’re willing to put in the time.

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Cost of Additional Pond Features

Ponds cost up to $55,000 in your backyard due mostly to the features you add. Consider creating an ecologically friendly pond for fish needing another climate. You’ll need specialized equipment for monitoring, cleaning, and maintaining the pool. 

Other than simply digging and filling a pond, there are several features you can add to enhance the design or function.

Pond FeaturePrice RangeNotes
Liner$100 - $1,000Can choose from concrete, fiberglass, flexible plastic or rigid plastic.
Surrounding material or edging$1 - $15 per square footConcrete or brick edging are the least expensive; stone edging costs the most.
Waterfall cost$900 – $4,500Provides a soothing water sound but costs more for plumbing.
Landscaping costs$350 – $10,000Most ponds can benefit from landscaping, especially if they are decorative or fulfill a working function.
Patio costs$2,000 – $5,500You’ll likely want a walkway or patio around your pond, particularly if it’s decorative or contains fish.

Pond Construction Costs by Type

You’ll pay $50 to $55,000 or more, depending on the type of pond you get. Small DIY ponds cost anywhere from $50 to $1,500, while koi ponds run between $10,000 to $55,000. Farm ponds and lakes can hit $70,000 or more.

Pond Type Average Cost Range Factors Affecting Cost
Natural swimming $50 – $300 per square foot Depth, liner, labor
Human made $100 – $5,000 Liner, labor, size
Farm pond $5,000 – $70,000 Liner, labor, size, fish
Backyard $50 – $15,160 Liner, labor, size
Lake $5,000 – $25,000 per acre Size, depth
Fishing $3,500 – $50,000 Depth, size, fish
Koi $5,000 – $55,000 Depth, heating, electrical, fish

Swimming Pond Cost

Swimming ponds cost $30,000 to $80,000 total to build. Natural swimming ponds recharge themselves so they don’t need filtering. They’re natural and blend in with your landscape. They also don’t usually require any chemicals or additives.

Human-Made Pond Cost

Artificial human-made ponds don't have a standard size or shape and therefore cost anywhere between $500 to $50,000 or more. Cost factors include the type of liner, size, type of materials, amount of labor, and any additions.

Cost of Building a Farm Pond

Farm ponds cost an average of $5,000 to $20,000 or more. They’re essentially for farm animal use. They’re used for livestock and occasionally as part of an irrigation system. 

Backyard Pond Costs

A backyard pond could cost $500 for a simple garden design and up to $25,000 for a complex, larger body of water. Be sure to check with your neighborhood codes or HOA before beginning, or call a pond installer near you for more details.

Lake Construction Costs

Because lakes vary so drastically in size, you could pay anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per acre. Interestingly enough, the difference between a lake and a pond is the depth of the water, not the surface area. Lakes have something called the aphotic zone, an area that sunlight can’t reach. When building a lake, you can expect much higher excavation costs to go that deep.

Fish Pond Price

A standard fish pond costs between $4,500 and $30,000. Fishing ponds are created specifically to stock with fish, often for the sport of fishing. You’ll often need a fairly deep pond with adequate room and the correct ecology to maintain the fish population. 

Koi Pond Cost

The cost to build a koi pond spans from $5,000 to $30,000, but with upgrades can easily hit $55,000. These are special bodies of water that require more setup and maintenance.

The fish need to live in an area that is at least 3 feet deep. Depending on the climate, you might also need a heating system for winter. An electrical system like a generator, filter, and heater keeps the water and heat moving.

Pond Maintenance Costs

You’ll spend $1,500 to $2,000 every year for maintenance. This price includes the replacement of chemicals. You’ll want to keep the pond clean, chemicals refilled, and any fish fed. You may also want to have your pro inspect any moving parts, like pumps. You’ll also want to inspect and replace any heating units or current generators. 

Cleaning

You’ll pay $300 to $1,000 for a pond cleaning by a professional. They’ll clean the water, rocks, and pumps after draining the pond of any water.

DIY Pond Cost vs. Hiring a Professional

Properly researched and executed, a backyard pond makes a great DIY project. Although it’s often easy to install one incorrectly, it’s rarely a catastrophe. You’ll likely need to redo your pond, which takes time and money. So save the time and hire a local pond installer

While a DIY job does cost less than hiring a pro, it also takes considerably longer with a much higher chance of the pond failing. For example, failure to install a liner correctly or to excavate the ground properly could destroy the lake.

FAQs

How do you dig a pond?

To dig a pond, you first need to measure the length, width, and average depth. It will help to talk to a professional pond builder to get the design you want. Once plans are set, then the digging begins. Excavators are common for large projects, whereas shovels might suffice for small ones.

How do you build a large pond?

Building a large pond starts by designing and measuring where you want it to go, as well as what you want it to look like. Excavators will then come with special machinery to dig out the area before a team will help fill it in with a liner and water.

How much does it cost to stock a pond?

Stocking a pond costs $1.25 to $4.50 per fish. The price for stocking a pond with fish varies based on the type of fish you choose for your body of water and how many will fit.

How far should a pond be from your house?

Generally, a pond should be 50 to 100 feet from your house. However, local building codes and regulations will tell you exactly how far you’ll need to be in your area.

How deep should your pond be?

Pond depth varies between pond types and sizes. Contact a professional to help design yours.

Do you need a permit to build a pond?

You generally need a permit to build your pond. Check with your local code enforcement agency for a permit.

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