Building a koi pond can be an expensive and time-consuming process. It can be very expensive if you hire contractors to build an in-ground pond and install all the pumps and filters that are needed to keep the water clean. Whether you contract the job or build it yourself, if you want to get a good estimate about the cost of koi pond construction (before you buy any fish), there are several things you need to decide.
The first consideration is the size of the pond itself. Many koi owners insist that bigger is better. There may be some basis for this since koi, as a member of the carp family of fish, can grow to be very big fish and the size of the pond determines how many fish you can have in it. Bigger fish need bigger ponds. It is a simple as that.
After the size has been determined, you must decide how you want to build it. There are basically three pond construction methods to choose from. Each has some specific advantages and disadvantages.
1. In-ground concrete pools: Construction is more difficult, often requires professional installation and sometimes requires a permit from a local zoning board. The advantages are easy to see. Concrete ponds are built with rebar reinforcement and can last forever with minimal maintenance. It is easy to install bottom drains for the filter systems and since all the plumbing is underground, utilities can be located anywhere you want.
The biggest disadvantage is the expense and time involved in designing and installation. But if you are not planning on moving, this may be the best choice. Look at swimming pool designs and construction before you start sinking money into this hole. Dream big and add everything you might want before you start. It might be a good idea to get competitive bids from several contractors before making your choice.
2. Preformed fiberglass pool liners: Fiberglass is a good second choice for a long-lasting pond with long life and low maintenance. The cost of a preformed fiberglass pool can be considerably less than concrete construction and takes a lot less time to install. But the advantages are the same as concrete.
A big disadvantage is that some fiberglass pool liners are difficult to transport and still may require some professional help during the installation. Design and planning is important because you still have to dig a hole to put the liner in, install plumbing and backfill around it after it is installed.
3. The third option is to use a flexible liner. Liners are the easiest and fastest way to build a koi pond. This makes it easy for a do-it-yourselfer or the mechanically challenged to construct a pond on a budget. Liner ponds can be built above ground or partially underground and in any size you want. A mojor advantage is that they can be moved or removed if needed. Plumbing is simplified and if the filter system is carefully chosen, maintenance is fairly easy.
Above ground liner ponds can be constructed of almost anything, bricks, concrete blocks, stone or even wood. The choice of material is entirely up to the owner.
A major disadvantage of liners is that they have to be replaced and are subject to punctures and leaks. A good underlayment of styrofoam, geotextile or vermiculite will reduce the chances of a puncture from an outside source. Taking care when installing plants and fixtures inside the pool will also reduce the chances of a leak.
Most above ground ponds are limited to two feet above ground level. This seems to be the most convenient height for viewing your fish and for cleaning and maintaining the pond. If you want to increase the depth to three feet or more (recommended by most experts), this can easily be putting the pond partially in-ground.
Koi pond construction is a major undertaking for most people. If you already have a pond, then just stock it with koi and watch them grow. If you want to build a koi pond, go for it. Having a pool full of beautiful fish that you can enjoy for years will be the end result.