How Much Does It Cost to Install a Backyard Garden Pond?

Backyard garden

Whether you want to install a pond to house goldfish or koi, or you just enjoy the soothing sound of slow, trickling water, a garden pond can enhance the beauty of your yard and give it a pastoral, tranquil feel.

DIY vs. professional pond installation

Depending on the size and nature of your pond, the prices may vary greatly. You can cut costs by building a DIY pond on your own, but this involves extensive planning, research, and physical labor. For a more professional, longer-lasting pond, consult with a local landscaper in your area. Many landscapers have experience with ponds, especially in regions like Los Angeles, where garden ponds are more common, and can create beautiful ponds that exceed your own imagination, and last longer with little or no maintenance.

Cost for professional installation

Ponds come in a variety of shapes, looks, and styles, depending on your budget, space, and preferences. Landscapers charge anywhere from $1,500 for a small, simple pond to $10,000 and up for a larger, more complex pond, possibly including lighting, a waterfall, etc. These expenses include the costs of the design, materials and labor. The area must be dug out and lined, and a filter and pump need to be installed. If you wish to house fish in the pond and/or have it lit up during the evenings, a local electrician will need to be called in to install heating and lighting.

Cost for DIY pond kit

If you opt for the do-it-yourself version, pond kits range between $20 for a 28 gallon pop-up pond, and $175 for a 50 gallon above-ground pond at the Home Depot. More elaborate kits are available for in-ground ponds, with costs running into the thousands of dollars. Be sure the amount of labor involved is not too strenuous and you have the proper tools for this DIY project. It’s also a good idea to consult with a professional landscaper first to assess your property and save yourself from making an investment that is too large to manage or unrealistic to maintain.


Check that ponds are permitted by local law and your homeowners association before you start digging. Also contact a one-call center to ensure you won't disturb underground utility cables.

A common phenomenon for most do-it-yourself pond owners is that they select a pond that is too small, since the area looks much bigger until the pond is actually installed. To properly evaluate the dimensions you need, look at ponds belonging to family and friends to get a feel for size.

When you choose to place fish in your pond, you will need to consider many factors. If you live in a cold climate where the pond freezes over, house your fish indoors during the coldest months. If your pond is in the sun, plant a shady tree or shrub nearby to provide the fish with shade during hot days. The larger the pond the better it is for fish, since greater amounts of water provide a more stable climate and dilute pollutants.

Remember, hiring professionals and taking proper care of your pond is a great way to add to its longevity so that you and your family can enjoy the pond for years to come.

Updated September 13, 2018.

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