The Cost Of Pond Installation

All you need to know about the installing a pond, including costs of pond installation, equipment, labour and time frames.

The Cost Of Pond Installation

What the job entails

One of the most popular questions we get; is how much does a garden pond cost? This is actually a very difficult question, but hopefully this article will help you by outlining some of the general pricing guidelines, while providing some background information on the different types of pond available and the different options and enhancements to consider. Garden water features and ponds in particular, are one of the most popular projects in the UK, particularly in the Spring/Summer.

The first decision of many to make is the proposed depth of the pond, which will have a major impact on the final cost. If the pond is purely for decoration, then a water depth of 0.6 metres may be sufficient. For small decorative fish the depth should be around 1 metre and if Koi Carp or other large fish are being stocked in the pond then the depth should be at around 1.5 metres. The pond area will also have a major impact on the price, but this usually is decided by the available space in the garden. Regular shapes are much cheaper to build than fancy ornamental shapes, so bear this in mind when thinking about designs.

There are a number of pond-liner materials which can be used as a water-tight barrier in the excavated hole, but the cheaper ready-made plastic and fibreglass pond liners are often quite shallow and only available in a limited range of designs and shapes. Flexible rubber liners are more expensive, but offers far more variety in terms of pond size and shape. Whichever pond liner you choose it is always a good idea to use a protective underlay beneath the liner to stop root penetration and damage from stones. Protective underlay is usually supplied in 2-metre-wide rolls and is easy to fit. You simply roll out the underlay around the pond contours with an overlap of at least 15-20cm. Any excess underlay can be easily trimmed with a sharp knife or scissors. If the soil is particularly flinty, try to remove as many stones as you can, before installing the underlay. If you use a flexible rubber liner, there are no real restrictions to the shape or size of the pond so curved, square or rectangular shapes are no problem. You can also buy bespoke pond liners for more ambitious projects if desired, which can be made almost any shape or dimensions.

If digging out a pond as a DIY project then you need to check the ground level is level if possible, though this is not always practical. If the ground is not level then it will be necessary to make it level by building up the lower areas so that the water level is maintained, but this of course involves lots of extra backbreaking work (or additional time/costs if you are hiring someone to do the excavation for you). You should mark out the basic pond shape using string or a spray then you can begin digging, starting at the perimeter and digging inwards. A marginal shelf for planting can be added then the inner deep-water zone can be excavated to the full depth. Make sure the sides of the pond are sloping gently inwards to prevent the soil just collapsing. Creating a small perimeter trench around the top area of the pond is always a good idea to prevent water from saturating the surrounding soil. This can be easily achieved by using flexible pond hose following the shape of the pond. The protective underlay and flexible liner can then be folded over this lip and the gap back-filled with pebbles to create a physical barrier between the soil edge and the water's edge.

The Cost Of Pond Installation

The average cost of landscaping a garden with a pond can vary tremendously. But you can choose a pond starting from as little as a few hundred pounds (though by the time you add in some extras and typical features plus excavation it can easily cost a few thousand pounds or more depending on the size and style).

For deeper ponds or additional features this will typically increase the cost proportionally - so it is best to have a clear idea of what is required beforehand, to avoid additional costs or spending money unneccessarily.

Additionally, for the larger/more complex ponds, this will take further time, so it is best to be clear with the tradesperson about their time estimates and daily rates for their work. Typically a tradesperson can charge around £200 for a day (depending on the region, this can vary), so the number of days for the larger/complex ponds can soon increase the overall cost. Due to the scale of this type of work, it is often best to prioritise the quality of the work done, rather than the speed (to save money), as any problems that could occur for a pond later would likely be much more costly than the initial cost of the work being completed correctly.

The work that the tradesperson can include; digging the hole for the pond, applying underlaying (along with any other layering required to seal the pond), landscaping around the pond itself and any additional features that may be chosen - so the work can be quite varied. In this case, some tradespersons may charge more depending on the variety of tasks involved, particularly if they are more complex/time-consuming.

Below are some estimated costs of installing a pond.

Job Description Avg. Cost Duration
Small garden pond with excavation done by customer £500 1-2 Days
Average garden pond including landscaping £3000 3-5 Days
Luxury pond with water features and landscaping £5000 6-10 Days (Complexity Dependant)


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs of installing an average size garden pond (including landscaping) - Total Cost: £3000

60%

Materials
£1800

40%

Tradesmen
£1200

0%

Waste Removal
£0

FAQ's

If you're unsure whether to go for a pond liner or a pre-formed pond, both have their advantages and disadvantages, so you should make your decision based on your budget and personal preferences. Pond liners offer more flexibility, but they require more planning and aren't the easiest to install. Pre-formed ponds are a much easier install option but tend to be a little more expensive.
Plants are an essential addition as they play an important role in maintaining a healthy pond ecosystem. Ammonia from fish waste is converted into nitrates which are then absorbed by the plants and foliage for improved water quality. Algae bloom is often caused by increased levels of nitrates in your water, so to avoid algae problems add some more plants.
Installing an adequate filter will help keep the pond clear, as will adding the correct plants to prevent algae build up. There are also various chemical options that can help with specific problems, but make sure you follow the instructions carefully before adding any chemical treatments to your pond, especially if you have fish.
Choose an open sunny site that isn't too exposed to the wind. Avoid areas that are deep in shade or near overhanging trees, particularly deciduous trees. The ground itself should be free of drains, pipes or cables to avoid escalating costs.
Before you add fish to the pond, wait at least one month for everything to settle and the plants to become established, then you can add 10-inches of fish for every square metre of pond surface area.