Adding any type of pond to your landscaping in your backyard can be a beautiful and relaxing addition. The sound of water trickling and the tranquility the pond lends to the atmosphere make it a very attractive feature for yards of every size, and it can get you wondering about the average koi pond cost. After all, this has to be an expensive project to undertake since it’s so involved, isn’t it? The nice thing about a koi pond is that you can make it as small or as large as you like, and there are plenty of features you can add to it to make it unique.
Your koi pond cost will depend on which liner material you pick out, the pond’s location, size, and the property soil type. It also fluctuates depending on what aquatic life, water garden plants, and amenities you want in it. Unfortunately, this means that your koi pond cost has a large price fluctuation to contend with, and this makes it challenging to set a budget before you begin this project. However, once you learn which variables work for your project, you can get a better working estimate for your koi pond cost.
On average, your koi pond cost will start around $5,000 and rise up to $20,000. Most people find themselves paying $9,000 for a six by eight-foot pond that has a filter, liner, and full landscaping around it. Per square foot, you can expect to pay between $2.50 and $7.25. If your pond stretches more than 10 acres, they can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 an acre to complete. The good news is that most koi ponds tend to be slightly smaller and more compact, and this can help you save on your overall koi pond costs.
If this is the next project on your to-do list, you’re in luck. We’re going to write out all of the biggest koi pond cost factors to consider, and you can use the estimates in this guide to create a rough budget. Then, you can take your outline to local contracting companies and see which one lines up best for your vision without going way over what you want to spend to get your dream koi pond.
A koi pond can be a fantastic edition to any yard, no matter the size. They bring a tranquility to the space, and they allow you to go out and relax any time you like by your own water feature. Koi pond by Anson Chappell / CC BY-ND 2.0
Koi Pond Cost by Size
The size you pick for your new pond will have a large impact on the total koi pond cost. However, it’s not the only determining factor, but it can help you lay the foundation for your estimate. It can also help you decide on the location of your pond. Popular sizes and price points for this project include:
- 4-feet by 6-feet – $3,500 to $5,000
- 6-feet by 8-feet – $7,500 to $10,000
- 8-feet by 11-feet – $12,000 to $16,000
- 11-feet by 16-feet – $13,000 to $25,000
- 16-feet by 21-feet – $25,000 to $35,000
- 26-feet by 26-feet – $35,000 to $50,000
Finding a Suitable Location for Your Pond
When you pick out a size, you have to find a suitable location that is large enough for your intended pond. Ideally, you should have a fairly flat or even section in your yard to use as a location. You can get away with locations with a slight slope if you want to catch some runoff, and putting your pond at the bottom of a hill or slope can be a great way to help catch any rainwater or runoff to keep the pond water levels up.
It’s a good idea to consult a landscaper in the beginning of the project and hash out which plant life, pond life, and fish are best suited for this location. Some plants will thrive in full sun and others need shade. If you plan to create a pond that is large enough to swim in, you want to have enough space to make it safe. This is where a professional can assist.
Price Points for Different Pond Types
The different types of ponds will cause your budget to change, and this is one of the other big factors that will impact your final prices. Some ponds are less expensive to install over others, and the most popular pond choices are:
A farm pond is exactly what it sounds like. You use it as a simple pond for your cattle, ducks, or other farm animals. These ponds typically don’t have any landscaping features on them, and this helps to keep the cost levels down. Additionally, most of these ponds have a clay liner on them, and this also reduces your installation costs. The biggest price factor is the size since these tend to be much larger, and they range from $4,000 to $10,000.
A fishing pond cost will have a much higher cost than a koi pond cost due to the much larger size. Additionally, you’ll have to stock it yearly or add a hatchery. It’s much deeper than a traditional pond, and it’s less likely to have ornamental landscaping around it like low-maintenance plants, trees, or shrubs. You’ll need a filtration system to keep it healthy, and you can use a man-made or clay liner. The liner you pick out will depend heavily on the pond’s size. The depth, features, and size will cause your costs to range from $10,000 to $75,000.
You can have large and elaborate or small and simple garden ponds, and this is why their costs are comparative to koi pond costs. How many features you choose to add and the pond’s size will dictate your final price point. These types of ponds typically have fountains or waterfalls, a lot of landscaping to help them look like they belong in your yard, and rock ledges. You’ll spend an average of $3,000 to $15,000 to complete this project.
A goldfish or koi pond typically has a smaller but deep design that allows your fish to live in a healthy environment no matter how cold it gets when the seasons change. These ponds need a way to circulate the water, filtration, and a non-freeze zone if temperatures drop below 32°F. They usually feature a lot of landscaping, just like garden ponds. Depending on the size, the average koi pond cost runs from $9,000 to $13,000.
If you have a man-made lake, you have a body of water that is big enough for fishing and a small watercraft. You shouldn’t need filtration or a liner because the pond is deep enough and big enough to support having a hatcher or being stocked yearly. Depending on whether or not you do any landscaping and the final project’s size, prices range from $30,000 to $50,000 to complete it.
Natural Swimming Pool
Although this project far exceeds the average koi pond costs, natural swimming pools are quickly gaining in popularity. They allow you to have a backyard pool that looks natural without any maintenance or chemicals like you’d get with a traditional above or inground pool. You have a regeneration zone and a swimming area with this pool, and the regeneration area gets filled with plants that help filter out the water. A pipe system will circulate the water between both areas, and the pond area has a lot of landscaping to make it look very natural. They typically come with a concrete liner, but you can also use clay, and you’ll spend between $50,000 and $100,000 to finish it.
Deciding which type of pond you want will go a long way in narrowing down your koi pond cost range. The larger and deeper the pond is, the more it’ll cost to install. Koi pond 1 by Paul Barbee / CC BY-NC 2.0
Pond Filter and Pump Costs
Your koi pond cost will also depend on the filter and pump system you choose when you set up your budget. The filter and pump will help the pond stay clean by keeping the water moving and not allowing it to go stagnant. The pump will circulate the water and oxygenate it so that the fish can live comfortably and your plants can grow.
The filter setup will remove any debris and algae from the pond so that the water stays clean and it’s enjoyable to relax next to. The filter and pump system you need get directly tied to the type of pond you install and the pond’s size, so you have several choices. It also means that your koi pond cost can go up significantly. Also, the filter and pond size will dictate which pump you pick out. You can choose from:
This type of filter will sit on the side of your pond. You can leave it out in the open or camouflage it for a seamless look, depending on which model you choose. They work well for ponds of all sizes and types, and they’re easier to maintain because you can reach them much easier. Checking the filter medium and changing the filter is less labor-intensive. They’ll add to your koi pond costs by $100 to $400. The size will dictate which end of the spectrum you fall on.
An internal filter is on the inside edge of your pond, and they help you create a much more natural appearance because they’re harder to spot. They do have a slightly higher maintenance need attached to them since they’re hidden. You’ll have to make a point to check them every few weeks and change out the filters to keep them running in top shape. They’re very good at taking solid debris out, but they’re not as effective as other models. They work well for smaller ponds, and they can increase your koi pond costs by $75.00 to $400.
Ideally, you want to buy your pond filter and pump together as a single unit to ensure they work well together. You can buy them separately, and it’s a good idea to do so if you have a waterfall, fountain, or a water feature that needs its own pump. Pumps get sized by gallon number, so if you have a six-foot by eight-foot pond, you’ll need your pump to have a 500 gallon-per-hour rating or larger. Depending on the type and size, they add between $50.00 and $400 to your koi pond cost.
For large to medium ponds, a skimmer is a good idea. They have very low maintenance needs, and they’re very effective for helping to keep your pond looking nice and clean. Many designs come with a debris net and a filter, and you have to make a point to empty them regularly to keep them working well. They can hide in plain sight because they’re easy to camouflage. They’ll increase your koi pond costs by $50.00 to $250. The biggest factor that impacts the price is size.
Even though you’re planning on having a koi pond, you can mix and match which fish you’d like in it. They can be for fishing purposes or ornamental, and the size of the fish and the quantity you want will increase your koi pond costs. The most popular fish are:
- Bass ($0.90 to $3.20) – Larger ponds or fishing ponds
- Black Moor – ($5.00 to $6.00) – 40 gallons or larger ponds
- Catfish ($0.55 to $1.55) – Larger ponds
- Goldfish ($0.30 to $0.50) – 20 gallon or larger ponds
- Koi ($10.00 to $25.00) – Larger ponds
- Trout – ($0.60 to $1.60) – Larger ponds or fishing ponds
It’s very common to add a host of aquatic plants to your pond because they provide a natural filtration system to the pond while adding to the ambiance and landscaping. They can increase your total koi pond cost by a broad range, and some of the most popular include:
- Anacharis ($4.00 to $8.00) – Any pond
- Cattail ($8.00 to $11.00) – Shallow ponds
- Iris ($7.00 to $10.00) – Shallow ponds
- Lotus ($40.00 to $55.00) – Deep ponds
- Water Lettuce ($5.00 to $8.00) – Large ponds
- Water Lilies ($30.00 to $45.00) – Deep ponds
Adding different plants to your koi pond will help increase the filtration, and they can also add oxygen back to the water to help keep your fish comfortable and lively. Some plants will even flower to add more visual interest. Koi Pond by Neil R / CC BY-NC 2.0
Pond Liner Costs
If you don’t have a natural clay soil that will hold water easily or you plan on digging your pond deep enough to hit the water table, you’ll need a liner in your pond. There are several different liner options available, and each of them will add different prices to your koi pond cost depending on the type of pond and the size. The most popular liners include:
This isn’t the most frequently used material for a pond because it’s porous. However, it works if you need a very durable or long-lasting pond or if you want to create a natural-looking swimming pool. You can paint the concrete black to help it blend into the landscaping, and it can survive years of use with low maintenance. Per square foot, you’ll spend between $60.00 to $120.
If you want a fiberglass liner, you’re getting a shell like you would with a fiberglass pool. You can pick from several shapes, but you have fewer options for your pond size and shape. They’re long-lasting and very sturdy, and they won’t need a lot of maintenance to keep them in top shape. Fiberglass will boost your koi pond costs by $3.50 to $6.00 a square foot.
This is the least expensive liner material, and it’s very popular to use for smaller ponds. These liners feature a readymade shape to them, so all you have to do is lay it out on the bottom of your pond. You can pick from different sizes and shapes, but you have to dig the pond to match the liner’s exact specifications. You have to backfill in around the liner to hold it in place, and it can crack or split over time. Your koi pond cost will only go up by $0.25 to $1.20 a square foot.
When it comes to backyard ponds, most people go with rubber liners. They’re endlessly customizable and very easy to make, so you can get one that is a perfect fit for the exact depth and shape of your pond. Rubber can tear easily, so you do want to make sure there are no roots or rocks on the bottom of the pond. You should leave it sitting out in the sun for a few hours before you install it to help it stretch more easily without accidentally damaging it. Your koi pond costs will go up by $0.35 to $2.00 a square foot with a rubber liner. It works best in shallow ponds.
Your labor costs will have a broad price range attached to them because every pond setup is very different. The use, depth, size, and how much landscaping you want done will all increase your koi pond cost via labor. For a small pond, your labor costs can run around $500 with no landscaping included. If you want moderate edging on a larger pond, it can jump to $12,000. If you install a six-foot by eight-foot koi pond, the labor will make up around $4,000 of the $9,000 total koi pond cost.
Cost to Dig a Pond
The excavation is one of the biggest labor costs. You have to dig out the pond and remove the soil from the pond’s base. You can dig smaller ponds out with a shovel, and some companies will recommend you do it yourself in a smaller pond to cut down on your overall koi pond cost. Larger ponds can require special equipment for the excavation process.
This is particularly true if you want a pond that is big enough for swimming, farming, or recreating. Per cubic yard for larger ponds, you should expect to pay between $1.50 and $3.50. A hand-dug pond with smaller dimensions cost between $2.50 and $7.50 for every square foot. The soil conditions will influence your costs. On average for a six-foot by eight-foot koi pond, your costs will range from $250 to $300.
Pond Shape Impacts Price
Your pond’s shape is an important price factor when it comes to your pond’s function and final look. It’s easiest to dig out a rectangular pond because it’s easy to measure and only has straight lines. Oblong ponds are usually easier to upkeep than circular ponds because you can reach every area of the pond from the banks. In a circular pond, you usually have to get into the pond to clean it.
A slightly irregularly-shaped pond will help it look more natural, and you could also go with a freeform option. If you want a pond that is visible on all sides and a smaller size, a circular koi pond is a modern choice. Talk to the company you work with about your desires for the project outcome, your yard, and the location to determine which shape is best.
You have to factor ongoing maintenance costs into your total koi pond cost. You have to factor in fish food, fertilizer, filters, and cleaning as needed. If you plan to do this yourself, you could spend around $20.00 to $40.00 a month, and you may have to buy a pond vacuum to help you. If you hire a company to come in and do it for you, it can increase your koi pond cost by $75.00 to $150 a month. The labor required and pond size will dictate how much your ongoing maintenance costs total out to be.
Price to Fill in the Pond
Sadly, not all ponds work out and you may find yourself wanting to fill it in. Maybe it develops bacteria or driers or, or it has too high of maintenance costs or grows stagnant. Whatever the reason, you can hire someone to come in and fill in the pond. Some landscapers and pool companies offer this service. Depending on how difficult the access points are and your pond size, it can add to your koi pond cost by $300 to $800. Ponds that are difficult to reach or that are bigger and require more dirt will drive the price up.
Even though your pond is on your own property, you will still most likely need a permit to build your pond. In some areas of the country, you’ll have to build a fence around the pond if it’s more than a foot deep in any spot. This can drive your koi pond costs up. If you live in an HOA, you may have to deal with further restrictions. Contact your local town hall, city hall, or HOA office and ask about permits or restrictions so you don’t get a nasty surprise halfway through the project.
Where to Find Pond Builders Near You
If you’re not sure that you can tackle this project on your own, it’s best to call in a professional. They can help you figure out more accurate koi pond costs too, and this will give you an idea of what you can and can’t comfortably afford. You can start here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing which questions to ask when you call companies to get estimates will help ensure that you get the best pricing available without sacrificing quality when it comes to your final koi pond cost. Kyoto fish followers by Jørgen Schyberg / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
1. How far should you put your pond from the house?
There are no restrictions that dictate how far your pond should be from your home as long as you don’t have small children or pets who may fall in. You can decide where your pond fits in your yard since it’s a self-contained unit with very little threat of water damage.
2. How deep should the pond be?
Most ponds are at least a foot deep in all areas, and a lot of them have varying depths. The final depth will depend on what you want to use it for. With a koi pond, it should be at least two feet deep, if not more.
3. What is the average price to stock a pond?
Per fish, stocking your pond will increase your koi pond cost by $1.25 to $4.50 per fish. The stocking price will depend on whether or not you want only one fish and the type.
Your koi pond cost has a lot of fluctuating values to it, and this can mean that you need to set aside a decent amount of money to ensure you get everything you want without blowing your budget. Use this guide when you contact professional companies in your area to figure out your idea koi pond cost and get a tranquil feature for your yard that you can enjoy for years to come.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.