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Pond cleaning is a vital part of the maintenance process.  Unfortunately, it is also one area where many pond owners tend to pay less attention to, assuming that the pond can take care of itself. 

It’s all too easy to let your pond maintenance go but doing that can cost you more when you eventually decide to do a cleanout.  That’s because the longer you wait between cleanups, the more time and effort will be involved, and that means your costs will go up.

So what exactly can you expect in terms of pond cleaning costs?  Well, that can depend. There are two main factors that will determine the overall cost of your cleanup: the size of your pond and the amount of time that has elapsed since the last cleanout.

Pond Size

Not surprisingly, the larger the pond, the more expensive it will be to clean.  Ponds sizes generally vary from 8×11 to 11×16 to 16×21, and each has a standard price.  Anything larger than 16×21 or any pondless waterfall features will require custom quotes.

Pond Maintenence 

As a rule of thumb, we base pond cleaning costs on the amount of regular maintenance you perform on your pond.   The better a pond is maintained, the less work it will take to do a full clean out.

Have you regularly been skimming or netting your pond to rid it of built-up debris?  Have you made sure that the rocks surrounding your pond and those within the pond itself are clean?  Are your filters cleared and in good working order?  The more you can answer yes to these questions, the more money you’ll be saving in the long run.

Pond Condition

Aside from size and regular maintenance, the overall condition of your pond will be an important factor in determining how much your pond cleaning will cost.  Certain physical characteristics of your pond can factor in as well, including the type of filtration and whether you have a bog, wetland or negative edge environment.  Also, the number of trees surrounding your pond can be part of the equation as more trees usually mean more leaves and other debris collecting in the pond over the Fall and Winter.


Of course, pond cleaning takes on a whole other dimension when there are fish involved.  If you have koi in your pond, clean-up will involve care and handling of the fish as well.  But once again, if you have done regular maintenance on your pond, an absolute must where expensive and delicate koi are concerned, that will help to keep the price of a full cleanout from hitting you too hard in the wallet.

The Process

When considering pond cleaning costs, it is important to understand exactly what is involved in a full cleanout.  The specifics may vary depending on the size and condition of your pond, but in general clean up requires:

  • Draining the pond (removing any fish you may have to a holding tank first).
  • Pressure washing from top to bottom to remove any dirty water or debris.
  • Fully cleaning the filtration system and ensuring that all parts are in good working order.

At this point in the pond cleaning, we can assess any areas of damage or wear that need to be addressed. Adjusting any rocks that may have shifted and if your fish don’t have any adequate places to hide such as caves, now is the time to add them.  Once the pond has been thoroughly cleaned, your fish may be slowly reintroduced, giving them plenty of time to adjust to the change in water temperature, so they are not shocked.  We also add pond starter bacteria to give the pond ecosystem a kickstart and detoxifier to the water to remove chlorine and chloramines from the water.

While the pond is empty, we can also check the lighting and fix any problems as well as cut back, divide out or otherwise tend to the plants.   Surprisingly, it is often the status of the plants in and around your pond that can be the biggest factor in determining pond cleaning costs and this is one of the main reasons that we strongly encourage regular maintenance.  The longer plants are allowed to grow unchecked, the more of a hazard they can become as roots can sink deep into the pond bed.  When it comes time to clean up those roots, the deeper they are, the longer and more costly the process will be.

Of course, pond cleaning can take place at any time of year, but we prefer to do it in the spring. This mimics Mother Nature’s own process of spring rains and snow melt that flush ponds and streams of buildups and nutrients, preparing for a new growth season.  At Decker’s Pondscapes we know that this can be particularly important here in the Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady area where winters can often be rough on ponds.

No matter when you choose to do your clean up, the important thing is not to wait too long.

We offer both full and partial cleanup services, ranging from $600 to $1,500, depending on the service you choose and the overall condition of your pond. Just remember starting your water garden season with a clean slate will cut down on in season maintenance down the road.

Contact us to schedule your pond cleaning and start enjoying your pond or water feature today!