Cost Effective Solutions for Backyard Ponds

Cost Effective Solutions for Backyard Ponds

image-1000pxIf you have been dreaming about a lavish and exuberant pond or water feature for your backyard, you probably already know that it can be an expensive undertaking. Very expensive.

But adding a pond or water feature to your backyard – one that adds that long list of benefits you already envisioned – can also be done without breaking the bank. There are truly multitudes of ways to add that dream water feature to your landscape. With some careful planning, a little creativity and ingenuity, and doing the work yourself – you can still get those picture-perfect results.

As you go about planning and designing a cost effective backyard pond or water feature, here are some factors to keep in mind.

Think about what function your pond will serve and how you will want to enjoy it. You will likely want to see it from your house or patio. A pond that gets both sun and shade will help plant growth. Planning a relaxing place to sit by the pond can make it more enjoyable. Think about the aesthetic you’re going for, and whether it’s a natural or decorative pond. has some tips for placement and location.

The Dig
Generally, the bigger the pond, the more expensive the total package will be, from materials to construction costs. Ponds can come in any shape or depth, and you will save greatly by digging one yourself. Smaller, shallower ponds take up less space, lend themselves to design ideas, allow water plants to thrive and are better for seeing fish. Deeper, bigger ponds allow for healthier water and bigger fish. Check for some helpful tips on digging, excavating and preparing the base of your hole.

Holding the Water
The most popular cost-effective methods to hold the water in DIY (or mostly yourself) ponds are waterproof liners, preformed ponds (easily found at big box stores), large horse troughs, or gunite concrete spray (installed by professionals). Each has different advantages, drawbacks and cost points, but all are relatively inexpensive when doing the work yourself. Container gardens present the fewest drawbacks with minimal expense, and consider whether you want to add fish or plants.

Pump Equipment
Pump equipment can be purchased at pool supply companies and installed yourself. If you go with fish, your pond must be aerated, while plant-only ponds only need small, submersible pump in the deepest part of the container.

Waterfall on a Budget
You can add a waterfall feature without the project getting expensive. There are several ways to build your waterfall from supplies at a home improvement store. Water from a submerged pump in your pond can be led anywhere with a flexible plastic tube, while some pumps shoot water into the air or have various fountain actions. [This project added a waterfall for $500.

Fish or No Fish?
If you have the budget, consider adding Koi or fancy goldfish, which [according to Houzz.com] look identical but go for around $35 each. Check the chemical balance and temperature first, and keep in mind fish need deeper ponds, which don’t freeze in winter, to survive.

Adding Plants and Landscaping
A few plants can add a big splash for little cost. Water plants, like lily pads, thrive in shallow water. A few smartly placed plants around the edges create a professional look at a low cost, regardless of the size of your water feature. Likewise, collect rocks for a low-cost design feature. Arrange the rocks around the border of your pond, hanging slightly over, and even add several layers.}