How Much Does it Cost to Install a Pond in 2024?

Backyard pond installation costs $3,675 to $14,500, while artificial lakes range from $6,700 – $17,735 per acre.

Pond installation cost ranges from $3,675 to $14,500 for midsize backyard ponds with waterfalls, plants, and fish. To enjoy the relaxing sound of flowing water, most homeowners pay an average of $7,400 per project. 

Pricing varies widely with size, pond type, and beautification elements. Simple garden ponds range from $1,900 to $6,500, while a custom-made Koi pond is $5,100 to $15,875, and natural swimming pools run up to $80,000.  

Large artificial lakes and fishing ponds can be installed for $6,700 to $17,735 per acre. Their cost is mainly explained by size and less by other factors. We will talk further about the differences and cost factors below.

In this cost guide

Average pond installation costs in 2024

Installing an artificial pond in your backyard costs $3,675 to $14,500. You can pay as little as $800 to buy a DIY kit to install a small, standard garden pond. For a custom, man-made pond, costs can go up to $47,500 or even higher, depending on the type of pond, landscaping, wildlife, materials, and equipment.

National average cost$7,400
Typical price range$3,675 – $14,500
Extreme low-end cost$800
Extreme high-end cost$47,500

We estimated the national average cost and typical price range for midsize backyard ponds. Both include pond equipment (pump, filter, pipes, and skimmer) and landscaping elements. The total cost of building a pond in your garden will be more on the high end of the price range if:

  • It’s a property with rocky soil, which makes it harder to excavate
  • You can’t bring a backhoe into the yard, so the pond requires shovel digging
  • The project is a complex ecosystem pond created as a habitat for fish
  • It uses a concrete liner
  • The design includes fish tunnels and caves and extensive landscaping

There are also ways to include a beautiful body of water in your yard with fewer expenses. For example, you can save money by:

  • Choosing a smaller pond 
  • Building the pond with a DIY kit
  • Going for a HDPE or PVC linear
  • Using gravel, river rocks, and boulders already on your property for landscaping.

Pond installation cost estimator by size

Length, width, and depth are essential when evaluating the cost of installing a pond. The size determines:

  • digging and dirt removal costs
  • pond liner size and price
  • pump capacity, filter, and skimmer model
  • gravel and boulders cost

For small to medium backyard ponds of up to 26 x 26 feet, decorative elements such as waterfalls, fountains, edging, and landscaping are a big part of the cost. See below estimates for a few pond sizes suitable for a medium backyard.

Pond sizeAverage cost to install 
4 x 6 feet$2,350 – $5,000
8 x 11 feet$7,350 – $10,000
11 x 16 feet$8,670 – $14,500
16 x 21 feet$14,165 – $20,335
26 x 26 feet$19,335 – $27,000

Cost to install a pond by capacity

Even though pond installation prices are mostly per square foot or acre, it’s helpful to know their capacity. This tells you:

  • The gallons of water you’ll need to fill the pond
  • Pump capacity required for recirculating the water
  • Power consumption to run the installation

To calculate pond capacity, use this formula:

Pond capacity (gallons) = Pond Length x Pond Width x Pond Depth x 7.48

Here are the average costs to install ponds of 360 to 10,000 gallons:

Pond size in gallonsAverage cost
360 gallons$2,350 – $5,000
1,300 gallons$7,350 – $10,000
2,600 gallons$8,670 – $14,500
5,000 gallons$14,165 – $20,335
10,000 gallons$19,335 – $27,000

Cost to install a pond per acre

With larger ponds, the price per acre usually decreases. This is how artificial lakes and farm ponds of 10 acres and more can be built for a per-acre price of $1,400 to $4,800. Fees go higher if the land is rocky or has stumps, trees, and boulders that need to be removed before digging.

Other factors that affect cost

While size is paramount to getting an estimate for your pond installation, there are other elements you should also factor in, such as:

  • Soil type and the cost to dig the pond
  • Type of liner and installation fee
  • Gravel and boulders price
  • Water circulating and filtration equipment (water pump, filter, skimmer)
  • The cost to stock the pond with plants, fish, and other wildlife

Cost to install a pond by type

The price for installing a pond or lake varies extensively with size but also with the type of pond. You can build a simple pond for your garden with $1,900 to $6,500, invest $50,000 to $80,000 on a swimming pond with concrete liner or create a private lake on 10 acres of land with over $100,000. These are the average costs for the most popular types of ponds.

Garden pond

You can create a simple pond with unique stone details, clear water, and beautiful plants for $1,900 to $6,500. Decorative garden ponds are meant to relax your mind, clean the air and make the yard a space of tranquility and natural aquatic beauty. They are easier to maintain because they typically don’t include fish and can be smaller than Koi ponds.

Koi pond

Typical Koi pond cost is $5,100 to $15,875 and the most popular Koi pond size is 10 x 15 feet and 4 feet deep. This type of pond creates an entire ecosystem meant to sustain colorful and playful Koi fish, so the price includes at least the following:

  • non-toxic liner
  • a pump that can recirculate water at least once every two hours
  • a suitable filter to keep water clean 
  • an aeration system like a waterfall, fountain, or bubbler
  • plants
  • Koi fish of different sizes and colors

Farm pond

Building a farm pond costs $3,750 to $13,000, depending on size and terrain. This type of pond is a natural water body created for farm animals, such as cattle, ducks, or horses, and for irrigation. It has a minimalist design, with some using bentonite clay as a liner or no liner at all. Most farm ponds don’t use a circulating pump, filters, UV sterilizers, or waterfalls, but they might need a well as a water source. 

Natural swimming pond

Pricing for a standard 30 x 20 feet swimming pond is $50,000 to $80,000. A swimming pond or natural pool is a two-part project with a swimming area and a green zone. It uses gravel and aquatic plants to filter the water naturally and needs a pump to keep it moving. 

Man-made lake

Building an artificial lake is $3,500 to $11,000 per acre, but landscaping can raise costs quickly. Man-made lakes are large ponds of over 1/4 acre, typically created for swimming, boating, and wildlife. 

Before digging for a lake, you’ll need a geotechnical survey to evaluate the soil profile. This comes with a fee of $1,000 to $5,000. Additional costs might appear if you need to bring clay onto a sandy or rocky property. 

Fishing pond

Fishing ponds are built for hatchery and yearly harvestry, costing $8,625 to $52,500. They are larger than other ponds, requiring at least half an acre with a depth of 6 to 12 feet. Only basic landscaping is needed to prevent erosion. Still, to raise fish, you must invest in the proper equipment for good water quality and aeration.  

Excavation costs

The cost to dig a small to midsize garden pond ranges from $60 to $200 per cubic yard of dirt or $55 to $150 per hour. 

You might also need to:

  • Obtain permits for excavation and grading the land if you disturb over 5,000 square feet of land. Permits cost $150 to $485. More permits are needed for large ponds and lakes, especially if you are using a stream as a water source or need to use chemicals to treat the water. 
  • Clear the land of boulders, rocks, stumps, bushes, and trees. Consider an average cost to clear land of $120 to $265 per hour. Keep good boulders and rocks to use when landscaping the pond.
  • Grade the land if necessary to create a leveled body of water. You’ll typically pay $0.08 to $2.00 per square foot for this service if not included in digging costs.
  • Use a beautiful stone retaining wall to raise the water surface level or correct a small slope. Retaining wall cost is $40 to $345 per linear foot.
  • Haul away the dirt you dug to make space for the human-made pond. This adds $105 – $175 per cubic yard of dirt to your pond construction budget. 

Soil type and terrain

Steep terrain and rugged land make digging harder, so expect higher prices. Loose soils can also be a problem since slopes need reinforcing after excavation, which comes with added costs.

Pond liner

A pond liner costs between $0.30 and $7.40 per square foot for the most popular materials, such as PVC, HDPE, RPE, and EPDM rubber. Pros suggest EPDM for the average backyard pond, while RPE has better resistance in large ponds and lakes.

You can also choose a drop-in tank for your water garden for $3.40 to $80 per square foot. These come in various shapes and sizes and are rigid, so they don’t need soil around them for support. A rigid preformed pond liner can also be installed as an above-ground pond. 

Planning a vast man-made lake, farm pond, or fishing pond? Bentonite lining is a good option, as it is non-toxic for fish. It has an average cost of $1.05 – $2.50 per square foot. 

To calculate how much liner you need, use this formula:

Liner size = Pond Length + (2 x Pond Depth + 1)) by (Pond Width + (2 x Pond Depth + 1))

Below you will find the average cost for the most popular pond liner materials you can choose from.

Pond linerAverage cost per square foot
HDPE flexible sheet$0.30 to $0.70 
HDPE pre-formed tank$3.40 to $7.40
PVC $0.50 to $0.75
RPE $0.45 to $1.65
EPDM rubber$0.65 to $2.30
Fiberglass pre-formed tank$10 to $80
Bentonite clay$1.05 to $2.50
Concrete$63.50 to $113.50

Gravel and boulders

The cost of boulders is typically between $100 and $385 per ton, while pea gravel cost is $10 to $50 per ton. Use them to cover the bottom of the pond, its walls, and the outer edge. They are a must-have water-scaping element and give your pond a beautiful look. Create fish tunnels and caves in a Koi pond and use small rocks to play with the waterfall flow.

Type of stoneAverage cost per ton
Pea gravel$10 – $50 
Boulders$100 – $385 

Use the formulas below to estimate how much gravel and boulders you need considering the size of your pond:

  • Tons of boulders = Pond Length x Pond Width divided by 65 
  • Tons of gravel = 40% of tons of boulders

For example, for a 10 by 14-foot garden pond, you will require around 2 tons of boulders and 0.8 tons of gravel, costing $370 to $1,450.

Pond equipment

A water pump is necessary to recirculate water, and it can be submersible or exterior. The typical cost of a pond pump is between $50 and $500 and varies with pump type and GPH (number of gallons it can recirculate per hour). 

Some ponds require a water filter. To keep the water clean and clear and the fish healthy you need mechanical, biological, and UV filtering. Luckily, some pond filters available on the market include all three components and you can buy one for $150 to $1,300. 

Pond skimmers catch large debris such as leaves and algae and are recommended, besides the standard filtering system, for ponds placed within reach of foliage. You can buy a pond skimmer for an average price of $100 to $700, depending on the size and brand.

Pond equipmentAverage cost
Water pump$50 to $500
Skimmer$60 to $300
Filter$150 to $1,300

Water pumps and filters must be suitable for the pond’s capacity (gallons) to be efficient. If you plan to install your pond DIY, go for a pond kit with the right liner size, pump, and filtering system. Consult a professional pond builder if you need to buy and combine the separate elements.

Stocking the pond

After you have arranged the gravel and boulders and installed the pump, pipes, and filter, it’s time to think about the plants and fish that will go into your pond. 

Aquatic plants restore oxygen and nutrients and are essential for pond landscaping. You can buy delightful bog, floating, or submerged greenery at an average price of $3 to $45 per plant. Here are the costs for some of the most popular pond plants you can choose from. 

Aquatic plantsAverage cost
Corkscrew Rush Pond Plant$11.60
Dwarf Horsetail Reed Pond Plant$12.10
Water Hyacinth$3.10
Water Mint$7.90
Water Lettuce$4.00
Iris Louisiana Blue Mystery$12.60
Water Lily$44.85

Small fish for backyard ponds cost between $1.30 and $23.40 per fish, with higher prices for exotic types and rare colors. 

To stock a large fishing pond with bass or catfish, you’ll typically pay between $500 to $1,000 per acre, depending on the species you choose to mix. 

See below the average cost for some of the most popular fish species for backyard ponds and fishing lakes.

Type of fishAverage cost per fish
Koi fish$15 – $55
Goldfish$1.30 – $6.85
Black moor$7.15 – $18.50
Bass$1.00 – $3.30
Black Crappie$1.40 – $3.80
Catfish$0.65 – $1.70
Bluegill$0.60 – $1.65

You can also populate your water garden with other types of wildlife, such as turtles, snails, frogs, dragonflies, and newts. 

Building a pond is just the first step. You can add the following:

  • waterfalls
  • fountains
  • underwater lighting
  • pond bridges
  • beautiful edging

You might also need pond maintenance services and a pond heater for freezing winter days. We included the costs of these related services in the table below.

Pond-related servicesAverage overall cost
Pond maintenance$810 to $2,625 per year
Waterfall$500 to $2,500 per project
Fountain$1,100 to $4,300 per project
Pond bridge$85 to $1,600 per project
Underwater lighting$100 to $400 per fixture
Edging$12 to $33 per linear foot
Installing a fence$2,000 to $4,500 per project
Pond heater$38 to $135 per unit

Pond maintenance cost

It costs, on average, from $810 to $2,625 to maintain a midsize pond with 3 to 4 professional interventions per year. Pricing is higher for large ponds, bodies of water with a dense fish population and, ponds located in a heavy foliage area.

Waterfall cost

Most basic pond installation packages include a waterfall because ponds require a water agitator. But you might go for a pump with a fountain nozzle instead and add a waterfall later. The cost to add a waterfall to your pond is $500 – $12,500 depending on design and size.

Water fountain cost

You can also enjoy the sound of water with a water fountain installed in the pond or in its vicinity, to create more of a water garden design. The typical water fountain cost is $1,100 to $4,300 but can vary with material and size.

Underwater lighting cost

Add underwater lighting for a charming view after sunset. Pond lighting costs between $100 and $400 per fixture to install.

Pond heater cost

If the pond’s surface freezes during winter, you need a heater. Its role is not to heat the pond water but to keep a small area at the pond’s surface from forming ice. This allows gasses to escape and oxygen to get in, keeping your fish healthy and breathing efficiently. The cost of a floating heater, also called a de-icer, ranges from $38 to $135.

Pond bridge cost

Use a beautiful wooden bridge to connect two sides of the garden, separated by a pond. You can walk on it and relax watching colorful fish swimming at your feet. The typical cost of a pond bridge is $85 to $1,600, varying with design, size, and material.

Edging cost

Most water gardens can benefit from edging the ponds with stone for an average cost of $12 to $33 per linear foot. Avoid limestone, which can change water pH, and plastic, which can leach toxic substances, affecting plants and fish.

Fence cost

While beautiful and charming, a deep pond can be dangerous for a small child. To ensure you protect them from accidental drowning, build a fence high enough to keep neighbors’ children from getting to the pond unsupervised. Fence cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,500, depending on the material, size, and terrain.

Landscaping cost

Adding a new water feature to the garden is sometimes part of a large waterscaping project. A designer makes sure the pond integrates naturally in the landscape and the style of your yard. Landscaping cost ranges from $2,000 to $4,500.

Pro cost vs. DIY cost

If you’re handy with tools, you can install a small pond using a DIY kit. These include all you need to create the structural and functional base of the pond. Pond kits are available in 4×6 feet up to 34×34 feet models with prices ranging from $500 to $6,500.

Some include just a fountain nozzle for aeration, while premium options have a waterfall and underground lighting. Here’s what you need for installation besides the pond kit, with the estimated DIY cost for an 8×11 feet garden pond.

Materials/tools for an 8×11 pondAverage cost
Tape measure$18
Backhoe (rental for a day)$340
Pond kit (liner, underlayment, filter, pump, skimmer, pipes and fittings, installation kit)$1,300
Utility knife$8.50
Total cost$3,005

While installing a pond seems easy, if you’re not careful, you can puncture the liner or install the filter and pump in the wrong position. Soil is difficult to dig, especially if you can’t get a backhoe in, and boulders are heavy to move. You can also risk damaging the house foundation and flooding the garden or your neighbor’s land if you don’t choose a good location for the pond.

To avoid these risks we recommend hiring professional pond builders, especially if you plan for a larger project. 

Cost of installing a pond by location

Installing a human-made pond costs more in the city than in rural areas. Material prices and labor rates also vary from state to state. Here are some examples of average pond building prices by city.

LocationAverage cost
Los Angeles$3,975


Where should you build a pond?

You can build a garden pond near the house to see it from the living room or kitchen. To create a private, relaxing space, place it at the far end of the backyard. Plants will need some exposure to sunlight, so avoid areas that are too shadowed. To make maintenance easier, build the pond away from trees and other foliage.

How do you dig a pond?

Mark the pond’s margins with rope or paint spray, then start digging. First, dig around the outer edge, then continue inwards, trying to make a rounded shape and avoid dead spots. This will help water circulation and debris filtration.

What do you put in the bottom of a pond?

Most ponds have gravel and rocks covering the bottom, which offers a beautiful view from above and also creates a suitable environment for good bacteria growth and underwater plants.

How far should a pond be from your house?

Pond builders recommend 50 feet from the house to the nearest limit of the pond. This prevents water damage in case of overflowing. 

How deep should your pond be?

Depth varies widely with the type of pond. Turtle and decorative ponds can be 18 inches deep, while a Koi pond will need an area of at least 3 feet deep to protect fish from cold in the winter. Lakes have an average depth of 8 feet, but some can go over 15 feet deep. 

How big should a pond be?

The pond’s size depends on your backyard and how much terrain you want to give up for this water feature. It also varies with its purpose. The average pond is 10 x 15 feet, a size fit for a Koi pond but less ideal for swimming, where a length of 25 feet is advisable.

How long does it take to install a pond?

It depends mainly on pond size. The average backyard pond can take 3 to 4 days to install. Small ponds, created using a kit or pre-formed tank, can be ready in one day, while large fishing ponds or lakes can take 2 weeks of work or more.

Final thoughts 

You can build a backyard pond for $3,675 to $14,500 with a professional team or go for an average DIY project with $3,005. The total budget varies with size, type of pond, liner quality, pump and filtration system, landscaping elements, and the plants and fish you wish to host. 

Look for a professional pond builder in your area and see how much it would cost to install a beautiful pond in your garden.

Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Photo by: pxhere

Sinziana Spiridon

Sinziana Spiridon is an outdoorsy blog writer with a green thumb and a passion for organic gardening. When not writing about weeds, pests, soil, and growing plants, she's tending to her veggie garden and the lovely turf strip in her front yard.