BY THOMAS SMITH, GARDEN STATE KOI & AQUATIC CENTER There is no simple answer and this is a question I get asked a LOT! "How much does one of those backyard ponds cost?" You could find and buy a small pre-formed “Pond Kit” for $100 – but is that what a water garden truly costs? Not really… that small $100 pond kit is usually a BIG mistake! It will require high maintenance and chemicals to maintain water quality. We are always trying to get customers to do it right the first time! I have designed and installed custom Water Gardens that cost over $50,000.00! So, is that what a water garden costs? Again, not really… the number one thing to know about getting into the Water Garden hobby is that QUALITY matters! The above mentioned $100 pond kit, in my experience, is a BAD idea. In no way is this a quality item. In fact, most people will end up throwing that equipment away and say “the heck with water gardening, it's too much work!" On the other hand, the client that I installed that $50,000.00 feature for is completely thrilled! It meets and exceeds all their expectations. But, you don't need to spend anywhere near that much money to have a winning experience! A properly designed Water Garden will be low maintenance and the highlight of your landscape. Buying a Water Feature is similar to buying a hot tub, swimming pool or car, there are lots of options. Pond size, streams, waterfalls, fish caves, lighting, filtration, and aquatic plants are all part of the equation. The best advice I can give you is, “do your homework!" Become educated about what you want and do it right the first time. Garden State Koi has a showroom of Water Gardens, Waterfalls, Pondless Fountains and more at my business location, Garden State Koi Pond & Waterfall Design Center, Warwick, NY, to help you understand the options and possibilities. Each type of Water Feature is also given a starting price range to work from. So you — the customer — know where and what to expect. Come visit Garden State Koi and I or my staff will help you properly design your Water Feature. We have all the products and expertise to help you truly succeed with your Water Garden. A professionally designed and installed Water Garden will be a complete feature including a filtration system, plumbing, pumps, waterfalls, stone & boulders, aquatic plants, so it is ready to establish a true working eco-system that will run and perform 'NOW!' Our complete packages start at $4,995.00 installed. IF you are a DIY person, we can help you too! We host 'Learn to Build a Pond' and 'Learn to Build a Waterfall' days at our store. These hands-on classes will help you learn to design and use the proper techniques to install your own water feature. Our goal is to help you succeed in installing your very own backyard water feature. You can expect to invest $1,000 - 3,000.00 in materials to get started with a complete 'Pond Kit' for your backyard. Feel free to give me a call 845-651-4100. Garden State Koi Pond and Waterfall Design Center is located at 657 Route 94 in Warwick, New York. The store is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week.