All too often, people put a lot of time and effort into building their dream backyard pond without considering the cost that goes into maintaining it every year. So what does a backyard pond cost per year?
The average cost for maintaining a backyard pond is roughly $2,500 per year. This cost figure comes from combining the average costs of powering, cleaning and repairing an average sized pond in the United States.
However, this price can vary quite a bit depending on the size of your pond, the complexity of its pumps and filtration system and the number of water features like waterfalls and fountains.
The Size, Complexity and Features of Your Pond All Affect Yearly Costs
The biggest factor that affects the yearly cost of a pond is size. The size of a pond determines how much electricity is used to power the pumps and filters as well as how many of them will need to be replaced each year. Size also determines how much it will cost to have your pond professionally cleaned, and potentially drained, each year.
Many people don’t consider that a pond needs to be cleaned at least once per year, but it’s true. A man-made backyard pond is not a self-reliant ecosystem like a natural pond and so requires regular cleaning and filtering to maintain the health of the water and any living things within it.
In many parts of the US, the average price of a pond cleaning ranges from $250 for a very small pond all the way to $1,200 for a very large pond. According to Homeadvisor.com, the average cost per square foot for pond cleaning, including draining and dredging, is about $1.70 – $2.50 per square foot.
All ponds need regular maintenance to remove organic debris that’s sunk to the bottom, leaves and dirt that have collected on the surface or even just to clear dead or dying plants along the perimeter. A clean pond is beautiful to look at and a healthy place to live for fish and other wildlife, so don’t think of it as something you can skip.
If your pond needs to be drained and refilled, there will likely be a separate cost for this as well. According to Homeadvisor, an 80 square foot pond costs, on average, $775 – $1,000 while a 500 square foot pond costs $1,750 – $2,225. To refill the same ponds can cost anywhere from $600 to $4,500 respectively.
Remember that if you have fish in your pond there may be a separate cost to safely remove and hold them in an outside container while the pond is being cleaned.
Filter & Pump Maintenance
If your pond has filters and pumps, as most do, you’ll need to perform maintenance and repair on them regularly.
Most pond filter media bags will need to be cleaned and/or replace after several weeks of use. Pond filter media can range from simple mesh bags to more complex and expensive systems. The average cost of filter media ranges from $10 for a simple pad to $50 for something larger or more complex. The pond filter bag will likely need to be replaced as well and they run in a similar range between $10 – $50 per unit.
However, keep in mind that if you’re using some kind of a professional cleaning service, the cost of cleaning and replacing filters will be included in the overall fee.
Pond pumps have an average lifespan of about 1-2 years, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of replacing them into your yearly maintenance costs. Submersible pond pumps range in cost from $20 for smaller pumps to hundreds of dollars for larger more complex ones.
Keep in mind that the type of pump you’re using and how it’s being used will have a big impact on its lifespan and how much it will cost you in repairs or replacement every 1 or 2 years.
Most ponds use some kind of electric pump to keep water flowing throughout the year. A pond with adequate water flow will stay oxygenated and clean throughout the year.
The average cost of running a single 50 watt pump in the US is approximately $3.65 per month or $44 per year. For a larger more powerful 500 watt pump for a bigger pond, the cost per year is approximately $36 per month or $440 per year. These calculations assume you’re paying the average US electricity price of $0.10 per kilowatt hour.
The larger the pond, the larger the pump, or number of pumps, will be necessary. This is an important part of calculating the yearly cost of your pond many people do not consider.
How to Minimize the Yearly Cost of Your Backyard Pond
The best way to minimize the yearly cost of your pond is by carefully planning it before building and maintaining it all year long.
A pond that is well maintained, has proper filtering and water flow will only need a minimal amount of cleaning at the end of each year or season. Keep the following concepts in mind to help reduce the cost of your pond going forward:
- Carefully plan your pond or consider having a professional help you to avoid expensive problems down the road.
- Only build a pond as big as you’re willing to maintain. A smaller pond can be just as enjoyable as a large one and will cost much less to clean each year.
- Clogged filters will continue to pump our clear water for weeks before becoming a problem. Try to clean your filters every 1-2 weeks, or as advised by the manufacturer, to avoid problems.
- Regularly skim your pond to remove debris such as dead leaves and dirt. Any organic matter on the surface will eventually sink to the bottom and decay and make cleanings more complicated and expensive.
- Avoid placing your pond near a pine tree as pine needles can pass through most filtering systems and cause your filters and pumps to malfunction or become clogged to the point of needing to be replaced early.
- Avoid overfeeding your fish and make sure to have enough aquatic plants for the size of your pond. This will prevent algae blooms which can make cleaning more difficult.
- Maintain the landscaping around your pond to avoid leaves and debris finding their way into the water.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Pond in Your Yard?
The average price to build a backyard pond is around $1,500 for a small pond and $5,000 for a large pond in the United States. For larger and more complex ponds with complicated landscaping and waterfalls, the price can escalate very quickly to be substantially higher than these averages.
How to Calculate the Cost of Pond Maintenance?
The biggest factor in determining the cost of pond maintenance is size. The average price for pond maintenance per square foot per year is $1.70 – $2.50 in the US according to Homeadvisor.com.
Backyard Pond Costs Per Month
For an average sized pond, expect to spend around $50-$100 in cleaning supplies and repairs. If you hire a professional pond cleaning service, expect to spend $250-$500 per month for comprehensive cleanings and maintenance. Professional cleanings can be expensive per month but can help avoid costly dredging and draining at the end of each year.
How Much Does it Cost to Dredge a Pond?
Pond dredging is expensive and varies quite a bit based on size. According to muchsuckers.com, dredging costs an average of $75,000 per acre, or substantially less for a small pond. Costs are calculated by excavation time, transportation time and disposal time if you get it done professionally.