How Expensive Are Water Features?

How expensive is a waterfeature to install and run?

Construction costs

Water features range in scale from small self-contained bubbling features costing perhaps a few hundred pounds to install, up to large complex pool features costing tens of thousands of pounds, with a whole spectrum inbetween.

In general, the more work required around the pool edge (expanses of paving, or carefully placed specimen rocks), and the more soil that needs to be moved, the more the feature will cost. Simple wildlife ponds without fish may require little or nothing in the way of pumps and filters, whereas large specialist koi pools can have intricate filter and plumbing systems costing as much as the rest of the pool.


When it comes to running a pool, any given area of pond is likely to require as much attention as a similar area of planted garden. It will benefit from a tidy and a trim of the plants a couple of times a year, with a spot of weeding inbetween, topping up with water in the summer, and a more major clean/tidy perhaps every five to ten years. Keep out autumn leaves with a cover net to significantly reduce future maintenance.

Running costs for fish

Feeding a couple of dozen adult goldfish in an outdoor pond with a good quality pond pellet food might cost in the region of twenty to thirty pence per day - pondfish do not need to be fed during the winter. (see When and How should I feed my fish?www.watergardensolutions.co.uk

Running costs for pumps

Pond pumps have become much more efficient over the past twenty years, but a fair amount of power will always be required to move substantial volumes of water.

As a guide, electric costs for:

  • A small spouting frog ornament (9w) --- 4p per day
  • The very smallest in-pond filter/UV system (18w) --- 8p per day
  • A 55watt UV lamp --- 24p per day
  • A medium sized, 30cm wide, waterfall 1m high (60w) --- 27p per day
  • A powerful (20,000 lph) general ‘sump pump’ (950w) --- 4.22 per day*
  • A powerful (20,000 lph) pond cascade pump (350w) --- 1.55 per day*
  • A powerful (20,000 lph) pond cascade pump, ‘Eco’ model (200w) --- 89p per day*
  • as a general rule ....
  • For every 100 watts of power consumption --- 44p per day (162 per year)

This is based on running the pump 24 hours per day, at a typical energy price of 18.5 pence per unit (including standing charge and VAT - UK gov stats Dec19). Some suppliers may charge less or more than this figure. *The three pump examples shown @20,000 lph really show the importance of choosing the right pump for the job. The newer, high-efficiency pumps on the market can significantly reduce running costs, though these pumps may be more expensive to purchase initially, and may not always have the “oomph” of more power-hungry models. The more hi-tech UV units also reduce power usage by automatically turning off when not needed.                      ©

Saving electricity

Although filter systems generally need to be run year-round, 24hrs per day, savings can be made by running other water features and lights through an appropriate timer. For example, running a fountain from 7 - 9am in the morning and 5 - 11pm in the evening, five days a week, and from 8am - 11pm at weekends would give an almost 60% saving over running the pump full time, and could also prolong the life of the pump. When existing halogen garden lighting units need replaced, using LED equivalents may greatly reduce running costs.

Some of the more hi-tech pumps can be set to reduce flow (and power consumption) during cold winter weather when higher flows might not be required.

Solar-panel powered pumps are currently only capable of driving the smallest fountain/trickler pumps and cannot always run reliably throughout a 24 hour period, even with battery storage.

Water Costs

For most small ponds and features, the cost of topping up is insignificant, and will cost you no more on your bill if you are on an unmetered supply. However, if you are on a water meter then larger ponds can have notable costs associated with filling and topping up. If you have a very large pond or permanently fixed top-up plumbing, then the water company usually requires you to be on a metered supply. We strongly recommend, and use, rain-water top-ups on most of our larger pond-project new-builds.

Metered water accounts have a charge for the water supplied, and there is usually a related additional charge assuming that your home’s waste water enters the sewerage system. In the Severn Trent area these combined charges equate to around 2.50 for every cubic metre (220 gallons / 1000 litres) of water supplied to domestic properties. (Slightly less (2.28) in the Thames Water region). Prices are an estimate only, based on 2020 rates, and exclude the standing charges and additional charges for surface water drainage.

If running costs or environmental impact are of particular importance to you we can design your pool system to suit - Contact Us to discuss your requirements.

See more Frequently Asked Questions

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