For nature enthusiasts and fish lovers, having a pond on their property is the ultimate dream. Indeed, ponds have become a widespread addition to gardens throughout the country.
However, recent research suggests that this once sought-after feature may now deter potential homebuyers.
That’s because a staggering 87% of prospective buyers would think twice before purchasing a property with this specific feature.
The research further indicates that a pond could potentially lower a property’s asking price by £5,000.
So, should you dive into the world of garden ponds? More importantly, does a pond add value to a property?
Here, the Property Road team explores the advantages and disadvantages.
Will a pond devalue a house?
For many people, a pond nestled in their garden is the epitome of tranquillity and charm.
That’s why the Great British pond has become a staple in countless gardens but research from estate agency eXp UK suggests that it might not be the selling point it once was.
In today’s market, ponds could potentially cause a dip of 1.8% in a property’s asking price.
While this may not seem significant, it translates to a £5,310 decrease based on a house worth £287,506.
The firm found that although 51% of respondents said ponds were an appealing outdoor feature, a whopping 87% would intentionally avoid purchasing a home with a pond.
The primary worry of potential home buyers stems from the potential danger ponds pose to young children.
Also, the cost of maintenance and the likelihood of attracting unwanted pests like rats and mice contribute to the apprehension.
And, unfortunately for the home seller, 73% of those surveyed admitted they would submit a lower offer on a property they otherwise admired, solely due to the presence of a pond.
Adam Day, the head of eXp UK, said: “If done properly, a pond can be an attractive addition to any garden and it’s clear that many of the nation’s homebuyers still believe this is the case.
“However, today they are largely seen as a negative property feature due to the fact that they pose a very real danger to the safety of children, while they can also be expensive to upkeep, as well as the other problems they bring such as attracting rodents.”
He adds that homebuyers are factoring in the cost of removing a pond after buying the property – and that means the seller might be looking at reducing the asking price by £5,000 to secure a buyer.
The pros of having a garden pond
Garden ponds offer more than just a picturesque water feature; they create a sanctuary for diverse wildlife, serving as a home, breeding ground and a food source.
The landscape surrounding the pond plays an equally vital role in supporting various species.
For example, newts emerge from hibernation between February and March, seeking ponds for breeding and laying eggs on aquatic plants. These creatures also require undisturbed habitats around the pond for refuge and feeding.
A pond will offer a haven for frogs, newts and other small creatures that thrive in piles of dried leaves. Also, plants, shrubs and trees have air-purifying properties, counteracting the toxic effects of air pollution.
Garden ponds also provide:
- Breeding habitats for various species, including frogs and their spawn;
- Temporary homes for amphibians and reptiles, attracting frogs and newts (especially in those ponds without fish);
- A diverse range of species and ecosystems connected by water;
- Water recirculation, reducing the need for constant watering during warm, dry weather.
Also, the nutrient-rich sludge collected by a pond’s filter, consisting of fish waste, uneaten food and decaying plant matter, serves as a natural fertiliser for flower beds.
Garden ponds in the UK – the law
While owning a garden pond can be a delightful addition to your property, it’s essential to be aware of the legal aspects that come with it. Here are some key laws and considerations for current and prospective pond owners.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981)
Various animals, including common frogs, toads, newts and certain species of snails, are protected under this act. It is a criminal offence to intentionally harm or remove these animals, subject to specific exceptions. This is crucial to remember when moving species between ponds or filling in a pond.
During hosepipe bans, filling and maintaining domestic ponds using a hosepipe may be prohibited. Violating a hosepipe ban could lead to prosecution and fines.
As a pond owner, you’re responsible for ensuring that your pond doesn’t pose a hazard to others, including visitors to your property. Consider covering your pond or adding a fence, especially if young children have access to your garden.
Escape of water
If your pond leaks onto neighbouring land, you’ll be held accountable for any resulting damage or loss. You will need to maintain your pond properly to prevent such issues.
Can I build a garden pond?
You might have fallen in love with a property and may be considering building a pond as an attractive feature.
However, before diving into this project, it’s crucial to understand the factors that determine whether you can build a pond without any legal hurdles.
Typically, constructing a pond on your property falls under ‘permitted development’ rules which means planning permission from your local council is not required.
It’s worth checking because there are circumstances that may affect this rule.
Also, if your property is in a conservation area, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), obtaining planning permission becomes more challenging.
And, if your proposed pond will be visible from the road, you may need permission before proceeding with construction.
Be aware too that a pond will take time and effort to build. You’ll need to dig a hole, bring in equipment and dispose of the soil. Hiring a professional can ease the workload but will also increase costs.
The largest expense in building a pond is often the liner. Natural ponds tend to be more affordable, with traditional ponds costing more due to added features like pumps and electrical lines. Also, you’ll need to budget for plants, fish, and potentially a heating system.
It’s always worth checking with your local council first before building a pond.
The cons of having a pond
There are some hidden challenges of pond ownership and it’s essential to consider their potential downsides before buying a property that has one. They include:
Ponds can pose a safety risk, particularly for young children and pets. It might be worth adding fencing around your pond to prevent accidents.
Maintaining a pond can be more demanding than tending to a garden. Natural ponds generally require less upkeep than traditional ones, but both need regular attention. For traditional ponds, you’ll need to clean the pump and water filter periodically and replace broken hardware.
Annual maintenance costs for a pond can range from a few hundred pounds per year to more than £1,000 to cover water filtration, chemicals, and fish food.
How much does it cost to remove a pond?
If you’re looking to remove an unwanted pond from your property, a landscape gardener can provide the expertise needed to get the job done.
They might charge up to £150 per day plus other costs such as skip hire – and it could take up to a week to remove the pond with these necessary steps:
- Remove and rehome any fish or plants from the pond;
- Disconnect pumps, filters and electrical equipment;
- Cut off the water supply to the pond and pump out or drain the water;
- Remove rocks and other debris from the bottom of the pond;
- Take out the pond lining;
- Break up any concrete or structural elements of the pond;
- Fill the hole with a mix of topsoil or materials like sand or stone to aid drainage;
- Complete the project by adding turf, a patio, or another surface.
If you are buying a property with a pond but want to remove it, think carefully about the time and costs involved in doing so. Also, it’s worth offering less to the seller to cater for this plan.
Does a pond add value to a property?
Gone are the days when water features, particularly ponds, were the must-have elements showcased on many TV garden makeover shows.
Recent research indicates that today’s house hunters are steering clear of properties with ponds, marking a significant shift in preferences since the 1990s.
That means sellers will have to consider reducing their price or hold tight until a pond-loving buyer comes along.
Otherwise, the £5,000 price tag to remove a pond is a factor for negotiation if the buyer doesn’t want a pond but wants the house – or is simply looking for any leeway in reducing the price.
And the research that reveals that homes with a pond face a 1.8% drop in the asking price means that sellers will have to compromise, even if they love the feature.
So, to answer the question, ‘Does a pond add value to a property?’, the answer is that unless you have a pond lover showing interest, then no, a pond is unlikely to add value to your home.