How much does a pond cost in Minnesota?

If you are interested in purchasing any kind of pond, koi (coi) fish pond, or decorative pond for your yard, you need to know the cost!  Unfortunately, ponds don’t come with price tags hanging off them at the store like bird seed or shoes. If you are hiring a contractor, you might ask, “What does it cost?” and the contractor will shrug and say “It depends.”  
Ponds are not standardized so the price “does depend” on the various factors. Below are some base costs for the Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN area along with some items that make the cost of a pond rise or fall. **

To clarify, we are talking about a pond; not streams, fountains, or waterfalls.  The typical landscaped fish pond found in a backyard will be made using: 
-a rubber liner  placed in a custom dug hole  and then covered in rocks
-have some sort of filtration system
-use an electric pump to move water through the system
These basic parts should be included in the price along with labor, delivery, and disposal of the old soil, otherwise the pond will not work!

Here are some basic pond costs in Minneapolis, MN for 2020:Small Pond cost 7 ft x 10 ft x 2 ft deep will cost $7,900 + additions or modifications.Medium Pond cost 10 ft x 15 ft x 2 ft deep will cost $12,900 + additions or modifications.Large Pond Cost 15 ft x 20 ft x 2 ft deep will cost $24,500 + additions or modifications.Giant Pond Cost 20 ft x 26 ft x 2 ft deep will cost $34,500 + additions or modifications.Retention ponds are not included because they are built using different materials and do not have a rubber liner.
Reasons your pond may cost more or less (the additions or modifications):The pond is in a difficult location so moving rock and soil in or out is hard, heavy labor.  This adds to the labor time so your cost will rise.Machinery may be needed to move large rocks, heavy rolls of rubber, or removal of stumps, stones, old concrete patios, and soil. Machinery also tears up existing lawn.  Repairs add to the time and cost. Some contractors include repairing lawns in their base price and some do not.Large rocks which may be in the way or being used to build your pond. An average  18” x 24” glacial boulder like the kind we have in Minnesota will weigh close to 500 lb each!  (Granite weighs approx. 168 lbs/ cu.ft). This means you will only get 4 large boulders per ton! Heavy duty trucks and trailers or dump trucks are required to haul large rocks.  Large trucks mean more DOT regulations and licensing fees. Big rocks make the pond look amazing and more natural than a tiny ring of rocks around your pond but they do cost more.Though not typical, some homes have very rusty water so water can be trucked in to fill your pond.Unusual shape.  If your pond is being built around an existing patio or deck footings, building it may take longer. Though It doesn’t mean it will be harder, having a pond right next to your sitting area is a wonderful place to build it. It may just take longer to dig, adding to labor cost.  The patio should have a base layer under it to prevent it from cracking in the Minnesota freeze-thaw cycle. This base layer needs to be left undisturbed when excavating for the pond. Any footings also need to be left in place.Different types of stone cost different amounts.  Deep Frost Rock is very heavy because those lovely parches are actually patches of iron!  Being heavier means you pay more per ton because it costs more for shipping it from the quarry.Bigger pumps: Large ponds need the water to move just as much as small ponds do.  No stagnant sess pools please! And, if you add a stream or a waterfall, the water has to move further.  This means your system needs a larger pump or more than one pump.
Additional pond costs- non-essential items
Upgrades are items that are not necessary to have as part of the building process. These items can be purchased at a different time.Special “butt rock”- These are larger rocks used for sitting on to enjoy your pond.Plants– While ponds need some plants to help filter the water, and you should certainly get a few when your pond is built, extra plants or specialty plants add to the cost.  You could save money by getting extra plants on sale after the spring rush, getting a smaller plant from your friend’s garden, or by fertilizing existing plants well so they multiply.  Underwater lights are a wonderful addition to ponds and waterfalls. Most underwater lights are LEDs and can last many years without being replaced.  The upfront cost is more than the cost of running and maintaining lights. Landscape lighting around the pond is also a great way to make the pond blend with the landscaping but these cost something too.  Hiring a licensed contractor to install your lights may cost more but should eliminate the need for call backs for improperly wired lights and transformers.Automatic dosing sytems.  These handy machines automatically add a measured amount of beneficial bacteria into the pond to help control algae.Fish – Fish bring fun to a pond! Goldfish are colorful and cheap while koi can get spendy but bring more variety and grow larger.  The size and color can make the cost of one koi fish gust into hundreds of dollars. Landscaping around the pond’s edge also adds to the cost.  Mulching, plants, and shrubs make the pond look established and seamlessly blend with the existing home and landscape. 

By Becky Chudek- lead horticulturist for Minnesota Waterscapes


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