What does it cost to build a pond yourself

I currently have 8 ponds I’ve built around my property. This gives me a good insight into how much a diy pond will cost.

Obviously all these different pond projects have varied in price, so let’s take a look at how much each pond has cost me to build.

Cheap small ponds

Even though these ponds were cheap to set up they have provided me with endless joy.

  • My smallest project was a small water garden which i used to grow native shrimp in. Cost full set up under $50.
  • The next size up is 2 wine barrel ponds with bog filters. These i use to grow out or breed small pond fish like rosy barbs and white cloud mountain minnows. These cost me just under $150 each.
  • Then i have 2 ornamental aquaponics systems that i currently have goldfish in. These set ups cost me under $300 each.

The above setups are great for anyone wanting to get into pond and fish keeping cheaply. They all have a small footprint and can be placed on small patios and verandahs, which is exactly where i have them.

Having the sound of water so close to the house when the doors and windows are open is incredibly soothing. Another thing i love about these cheap systems is they are almost completely maintenance free.

Even through they contain fish or shrimp the use of plants within the ponds has eliminated the need for water changes. The only maintenance i do is top up the water lost to evaporation.

One of my wine barrel ponds

Koi ponds or Goldfish ponds

Unfortunately in my corner of Australia koi are illegal. I do however have a 1000L gold fish pond that i love.

  • This ponds sits directly under our living room window, I’ve added a couple of solar pond lights and you’ll often find me sitting on the edge of the couch admiring my fish. This pond only cost a little over $400.

The most important part of a pond build involving larger fish such as koi or goldfish is the filtration. If you get the filtration right you’ll have an easy to maintain pond where you can just sit back and enjoy the fish.

My goldfish pond is a liner only pond, with a bog filter and a couple of pond plants. It is rectangular shaped, giving it a more formal look.

While this is the style i choose for this particular pond it is also possible to keep large fish in an ecosystem pond. Keep scrolling down to learn more about the cost of an ecosystem pond.

My gold fish pond

Grey-water or storm water garden

This was one of my first attempts at pond building and i made lots of mistakes. But mistakes other teach us the most.

  • This pond/ water garden helps to purify our laundry and bath water before we send it to a larger duck pond. The cost of this project was a little over $500

What i love about this pond is it looks natural, fits into the landscape and is incredibly practical. Water is such a precious resource and these types of systems allow us to get multiple uses out of it.

Because these systems mimic a wetland ecosystem they are incredibly forgiving. Even with the mistakes i made this system still functions really well many years after building.

Grey water constructed wetland
Our grey water wetland

Preformed ponds

I personally don’t own a preformed pond but i certainly have considered them.

  • Preformed ponds use hard ridged plastic or fibreglass. You can pick up small ones of around 100 litres for $150-$200. Over 500 litres and your looking more in the $300-$750 range. Keep in mind this isn’t the final cost. You’ll still need a pump and filter. I’d also be looking to add some plants and rocks to naturalise.

The main reason i considered a preformed pond was that they seem incredibly durable. Before i built a pond using pond liner i was very worried about punctures.

If you add water into the landscape you can be guaranteed that the wildlife will visit. Not to mention the kids and family dog!

These pond take the guess work out of building an in-ground style pond and that appeals too many people.

Do it yourself ecosystem ponds

I currently have 2 ecosystem ponds and these are my favourites. They are much larger, look natural and enhance the overall landscape of the property.

And of course they cost a fair bit more.

  • The first one i built is approximately 3m wide X 4m long. It has an 8m long stream feeding the main pond. All up i spent around $3000 on this pond.
  • My latest build has been a similar sized pond 3m X 3m with a 4m stream and rapids. I learnt a lot from my first pond and managed to build this one slightly cheaper at a little over $2000.

I must say i am really happy with my latest build if it was constructed by a professional it would cost $10,000 or more.

These ponds are amazingly easy to maintain. The only maintenance is the occasional pump clean.

In the 3 years since i built the first one the only clean out was this year when i pumped out the intake skimmer and removed the build up of sediments and fish waste.

The second one i have added a valve at the base of the filter. This should allow me remove this build up more efficiently in the future.

If you can afford it these types of ponds are an amazing addition to your landscape.

My ecosystem pond

Swim or recreation ponds

Over the last decade these types of ponds have rapidly grown in popularity. A swim or recreation pond is a pond you can swim in during the warmer months.

Yet unlike a swimming pool it doesn’t become useless during the cooler seasons. These ponds are very much like the ecosystem ponds mentioned above just deeper and generally larger.

  • I plan on building one of these ponds in the future. As a guide you can buy all the components required in kit form for just under $17,000. This is a small pond measuring 7m X 5m. The Aquascape Australia website mentions that you’re looking at $50,000 to have it professionally installed.

Im hoping i can build one cheaper. Subscribe if you’d like to stay updated when i begin this project.

A swim or rec pond incorporates all the elements of an ecosystem pond and incorporates the filtering abilities of a wetland, very similar to my grey water garden.

It appeals to me to be able to swim in a natural body of water without the harsh chemicals found in most swimming pools.

If you stick around long enough and subscribe to my YouTube channel you’ll get to see me build it one day.


Hi, I'm Kev. My pond and water garden started with simple aquariums. I have created many ponds and water gardens around our home: Fish ponds, Aquaponic systems, grey-water wetlands and bog filters. My favourite topic is water filtration.

Recent Posts