What Does It Cost To Build A Lake In Your Garden? | Checkatrade
Review a Trade

Have you completed a project recently? Let your tradesperson know how they did.

Advice Centre

Get Inspired! Check the latest industry expertise and read insider tips from our vetted tradespeople.

Search For A Trade

We interview and vet all our tradespeople to ensure they meet our high standards.

Join Checkatrade

Join us and benefit from the millions of potential customers who use Checkatrade to find reliable tradespeople.

Advice Centre

Grow your business! Check out top tips and expert advice for boosting your reputation online.

Login To Your Account

Edit your profile, view callback requests and ask for feedback from customers.

Last updated on March 31st, 2022

The cost of building a lake

Want to build a private lake to swim or fish in? Check out this handy guide that looks at the average costs to build your own lake.

Does the idea of your own freshwater swimming lake sound dreamy and idyllic? Or perhaps the thought of a private fishing lake to escape too sounds like heaven?

If you have the space and the budget, then building your own lake would create an incredible feature on your property, not to mention benefit the natural environment.

How much does a man-made lake cost?

Type Starting price
Swimming lake£25,000
Fishing lake£10,000
Ornamental lake£5,000

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

If you’re planning to build it yourself, you’re likely to need to hire a mini digger. On average, a mini digger hire cost per day is between £75 and £125. This doesn’t include VAT or drop-off and pick-up.

When it comes to hiring an operator to help you with your project, mini digger costs naturally increase. Expect to pay between £250 and £300 per day for a labourer, although note that this figure varies depending on what part of the UK you live in. For those who live in the south of England, you can expect to pay a little more.

See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

What will it cost to build a private lake?

man made lake cost

If you choose to outsource it to a local lake building professional, get as many quotes as possible from the companies who have the experience of digging lakes. It’s better to not to pay hourly rates, but ask for a rate for the complete job.

A swimming lake can start from around £25,000 for a small size, to around £75,000 for an 80 sq m lake. To set up a fishing lake, prices range between £10,000 – £12,00 per acre.

Simple ornamental lakes may come in a lot cheaper and cost between £5,000 and £7,000 as they don’t need as much specialist attention.

Here are some things to consider to work out the approximate cost of your project.

Is a lake right for you?

There are different types of lakes, from natural to lined, fishing to swimming. Decide from the outset the purpose of your lake – will it be for fishing, swimming, or simply ornamental – each type of lake will require its own upkeep requirements and have varying maintenance costs. Also, consider safety issues – if you have small children living or visiting the property you may need to add a barrier or fence around it.

Check out our cost guide to installing fence panels.

Factors that affect the cost to build a lake

Constructing a lake requires expertise to maximise the potential of the site and understand the physical and practical elements of the site. You will also need to take the following into account:

  • If your land and soil are suitable. The best locations are usually found on land which is low lying. This ensures that the water will drain into the lake naturally, and it will not dry up.
  • The size and shape of your lake.
  • The access to the construction site.
  • You may need an EDPM lake liner tailored to suit your site and save drainage issues, but this will cost more. EDPM Lining starts from around £3,360 for 20 m2. 


What depth should a lake be?

The depth of the lake depends on what you will be using it for. A swimming lake is usually around 5 feet deep, while a fishing lake with trout requires 1.5 – 2 meters.

See the tradespeople we've checked and recommend for your job

Tell us what you think

Please leave your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What others think of this article:

No comments yet!

Also in this project

How much does a water feature cost?

If you want to give your garden a whole new look, adding a water feature is a great way to transform your outdoor space. The sight and sound of water in motion can be incredibly soothing, and a water ...

Read more
Looking for garden ideas? Think about bringing the inside outside

It’s the time of year when we all start to move outside, isn’t it? We spend a lot of the year desperate for some extra living space, and as soon as the weather warms up, we start to make plans on ...

Read more
Low-maintenance garden solutions

In those few days of British sunshine, having access to a garden makes a big difference. That’s why two-thirds of British homeowners say it’s what they want most from a home....

Read more