How Much Does it Cost to Build a Lazy River?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

A lazy river is ideal for homeowners who want a one-of-a-kind, multi-functional pool.

Every lazy river pool may be more than just a backyard addition — it is a reflection of one’s lifestyle and is custom-tailored to complement the architecture of a home and suit your needs.

You can build a backyard lazy river just like those in the most exclusive resorts all around the world or even the local water park.

It can simply follow a windy path or be surrounded by tropical flora.  Regardless, your possibilities are endless.

Waterworld (Lazy River) Concord, CA by bshamblen, on Flickr
Waterworld (Lazy River) Concord, CA” (CC BY 2.0) by bshamblen

How much does a residential lazy river in a backyard cost?

The price of a backyard lazy river depends on so many factors.  These factors can include the size, materials, depth, geographical location and other features that you want to put in the lazy river. A 400-foot backyard lazy river could cost you more than $500,000, while a smaller river in the backyard that is a simple oval shape could cost less than $100,000, according to our research.  To budget, plan on receiving quotes inside the $125 to $150 per linear foot range.  This price range, however, won’t often include the landscaping, water features and additional add-ons once the river has been created.

This PDF created by Aquatic Excellence stated a 500 linear foot lazy river could cost $900,000, whereas a 10,000 linear foot lazy river could cost upwards of $1.4 million.

Building a lazy river

The typical backyard lazy river will often hold tens or even hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, depending on the size of the pool, and most experts recommend at least 50 to 60 feet of length to create a good experience.  A contractor on this PoolSpaNews.com article said a lazy river, at a minimum, should be at least six feet wide and three and a half feet deep

Unlike a traditional pool, a lazy river will need low- or medium-head pumps, which will be placed strategically to create a “flow” effect.

As for constructing a lazy river, the same methods apply when creating a pool.  As with a traditional pool, the wall thickness, steel schedule and other factors will have to do with the site conditions.  The one difference, though, may be the soil conditions.  Due to the size of the lazy river and chances of varying soil conditions along the property, a good contractor will want to ensure the structure won’t settle unevenly once constructed.

What are the extra costs?

Just like you would with a pool, you also need to budget the long-term maintenance.  Owners have claimed it cost upwards of $1,000 per month to properly maintain a lazy river since the pressure valves and pumps need to continuously run to keep the water running.  Cleaning and chlorine, as with a traditional pool, can add to the monthly expenses as well.  The larger the river is and longer you keep the pump running, the more you can plan on spending.

As per this Aqua Magazine article, one homeowner in Texas saw quite a few obstacles when he had his lazy river installed.  This included upgrading the transformer nearby to provide enough electricity for the continuous current, dedicated gas lines to a permanent tiki torch, adding landscaping and creating a center island within the river to create a lounge space.  All of these costs often won’t be included in the estimates mentioned above.  Other owners add a separate changing room/bathroom, lavish landscaping with boulders and/or a bridge leading to the island created by the lazy river.

Additional permits that need to be pulled can add to the costs.

Tips to know:

Your backyard lazy river, if you do decide to build one, should be installed by professionals with a stellar reputation for creating custom pools and lazy rivers. This design type cannot be attempted by pool builders without the proper experience. A professional can be able to help you answer such questions on the basis of your property’s size and how much square footage that you want to devote to the river.  Always ask for references, look at reviews and, again, make sure they have experience.

How can I save money?

As you can see, the cost is highly-variable and will depend on how deep, wide, and long you want it to be.  With a job this big, always attempt to get as many quotes as possible to find the best value and contractor possible.  If you don’t know where to begin with the quoting process, we highly recommend HomeAdvisor.com.  Here, you explain your situation and contractors will contact you with quotes.


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