Careful plant selection makes the difference between a clean and thriving natural pond and a water feature that requires a lot of attention for the first few years. It’s all too easy to skimp on water plants when you see the prices for individual plants. Yet, putting enough of your budget towards plant selection and installation is essential for proper natural filtration and water treatment. If you don’t want to spend hours wading in your new pond to plant dozens of pots of irises and rushes, consider water plant services from a supply company. Many aquatic plant companies are happy to handle installation for an additional fee, ensuring every plant is installed in just the right part of the pond.
Excavating the ground is the single most labor-intensive part of building a new natural pond. Many homeowners plan to dig their ponds by hand until they realize how hard it is to even dig a foot down in the ground. Renting your own heavy equipment can cost as much or more than just turning the job over to a professional grading and excavation company. Don’t find the first company offering basic grading services for a pond. Look for an excavator with specific experience in pond creation to ensure the soil is properly compacted and your natural dam is shaped correctly from the beginning.
The Question of Costs
When comparing the costs of both natural swimming ponds and regular swimming pools, you’ll need to look at more than just the upfront costs. There is a large disparity in installation and maintenance costs alike. Add up both the upfront installation costs and long-term maintenance fees to accurately compare the costs of the two types of swimming features.
Ongoing Maintenance Costs
Owning a traditional pool can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 a year just to maintain with skimming, cleaning equipment, and chemicals. Add in the cost of electricity for the pumps and skimmers and you could spend up to $5,000 a year on your pool. Natural swimming ponds don’t require any electricity to operate, eliminating thousands of dollars per year from your maintenance costs. Cutting out the water treatments and chemicals further reduces the maintenance costs for swimming ponds.
Excavation services can account for at least half of the cost of natural swimming pond installation. If you can save on excavation by taking advantage of an existing pond or doing the work yourself, you can dramatically reduce your installation expenses. Not all existing ponds will be suitable for turning into a natural swimming pond, but many simply need a flexible liner and some dredging to turn into a useful new water feature.
Water plants need to cover dozens of square feet in each natural swimming pond to provide the desired water purification effects that eliminate the need for pumps and chemicals. Buying a mix of bog, floating, and rooted plants from local nurseries and mail order services can account for a few thousand dollars of the pond budget. If you can find local sources of plants that don’t require expensive shipping and handling fees, you’ll reduce the installation cost and make occasional maintenance much easier.