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How Much Does It Cost To Build A Pond?

Typical Range: $1,245 - $5,482

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Last Updated: November 4, 2020

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Cost to Build a Pond

The average price to install a pond ranges from $1,245 and $5,482, with most homeowners paying around $3,364. The expense for a small project is usually $2.50 to $7.15 per square foot. For a larger-scale project (up to 10 acres), expect to pay $3,000 to $8,200 per acre or more. Ponds that are more than 10 acres usually cost between $1,000 and $5,000 per acre.

Ponds can be surprisingly inexpensive to install. The overall price varies based on a variety of factors:

  • Liner material
  • Pond location
  • Size
  • Property soil type

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National Average $3,364
Typical Range $1,245 - $5,482
Low End - High End $350 - $10,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 498 HomeAdvisor members in .

Cost to Dig a Pond

the average cost to install a pond is $2.50 to $7.15 per square foot

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.

The differences in pricing depend on size. Smaller bodies of water are fairly shallow (between 2 to 3 feet deep) and don’t require nearly as much digging. These projects are often quoted in a per square foot cost. 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.

Pond Digging Prices

Some excavators might charge for pond digging based on time, which spans from $120 to $150 per hour. Excavators usually include land grading in their rates but certain projects might call for more technical grading and equipment. If that’s the case, it’s good to note that leveling land costs $1,940 on average.

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Pond Construction Costs by Type

While the average pond costs $3,150, prices depend on the type of pond. For example, koi and swimming designs require different materials to function correctly. The least expensive style is the small garden pond for $50 at the cheapest, while farm or fishing ponds can run upwards of $10,000 or more.

Pond TypeExpenseFactors Affecting Cost
Swimming$50 per square footDepth, liner, labor.
Manmade$100 - $5,000Liner, labor, size.
Farm$2,000 - $10,000Liner, labor, size, fish.
Backyard$50 - $5,160Liner, labor, size.
Lake$3,000 - $8,200 per acreSize, depth.
Fishing$1,500 - $9,000Depth, size, fish.
Koi$450 - $5,500Depth, heating, electrical, fish.

Swimming Pond Cost

Swimming ponds cost $50 per square foot to build. Lots of homeowners like the benefits of natural swimming ponds because there are no chemicals and they are easy to maintain.

Manmade Pond Cost

Manmade ponds don't have a standard size or shape and therefore cost anywhere between $100 and $5,000 or more. Because homeowners have more freedom with this body of water, the main cost factors include the type of liner, amount of labor and the overall size.

Cost of Building a Farm Pond

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. Not only does this type of pond need to be large enough to provide enough liquid for the farm, but they also require a good amount of upkeep.

Backyard Pond Cost

A backyard pond could cost $50 for a simple garden design and up to $5,160 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 $1,000 to $8,200 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 fishing pond costs between $1,500 and $9,000. Fishing ponds have some of the most variety since different types of fish require different environments. 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 this body of water.

Koi Pond

The cost to build a koi pond spans from $450 to $5,500. 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. Otherwise, one of the most important costs will be for the fish themselves and their food. Many koi ponds do not use liners.

Lake or Pond Installation Price by Size

Most ponds cost between $2.50 and $7.15 per square foot, but surface area is not always the only cost factor. Bodies of water that are more than 3 to 4 feet deep will cost more to construct.

Larger ponds are commonly priced per acre. If you plan on a project that is less than 10 acres, expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,200 per acre. Due to economies of scale, a body of water larger than 10 acres might only run from $1,000 to $5,000 per acre.

SizeAverage Cost
150 square feet$380 - $1,080
¼ acre$750 - $2,050
½ acre$1,500 - $4,100
1 acre$3,000 - $8,200
10 acres$10,000 - $50,000
20 acres$20,000 - $100,000

Cost to Excavate Quarter-Acre Pond

Excavating a quarter-acre pond runs between $750 and $2,050, but could cost up to $4,500 or more depending on the land. Even though the average cost of land excavation is between $1,200 and $4,500, certain circumstances could add to this price. For example, large tree removal costs between $800 and $1,500; an excavator might not be able to take this down with their equipment.

One-Acre Pond Cost

One-acre ponds cost between $3,000 to $8,200, or $5,600 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 but costs could easily run higher, depending on design and style. If you plan on taking a boat out or swimming in your lake, you’ll want to install a dock. Building a dock costs $14,740 on average.

Cost to Build a Small Pond

The price of a small pond ranges from $2.50 and $7.15 per square foot. You can install a simple, very small garden pond for as low as $50.

Talk To Local Pond Installers For Quotes & Details

Pond Price Factors

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

Pond FeaturePrice Range Notes
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$450 - $1,000Provides a zen water sound but costs more for plumbing.
Landscaping$350 - $10,000Most ponds can benefit from landscaping, especially if they are decorative or fulfill a working function.

Pond Maintenance Costs

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.

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.

DIY Pond Cost vs. Hire a Professional

A DIY job costs less than hiring a professional but comes with risks. For example, failure to install a liner correctly or to excavate the ground properly could destroy the lake. The main pitfalls of a DIY job are mismanaging equipment, potentially damaging the landscape through errors, and not ordering the right amount of supplies.

While it might seem more cost-friendly, a DIY job is more expensive and technical than you might think. Renting an excavator costs between $150 and $1,500 per day and the user will typically need a license. An improperly installed pond will require more maintenance, which increases yearly costs. Working with a professional is well worth the cost.

FAQs

How do you dig a pond?

To dig a pond, you first need to measure the length, width, and average depth of the body of water. 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 bodies of water.

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.

How much does it cost to stock a pond?

Stocking a pond costs between $1.25 and $4.50 per fish. The price for stocking a pond with fish depends on the type of fish and how many will go in the water.

Some of the most common stocking fish are trout, bluegill, bass, catfish, carp and minnows.

How much does it cost to build a pond in Texas?

Building a pond in Texas will likely run from $1,250 and $5,160. Find a pond contractor in your area to get a quote.

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