Compare Drip Irrigation System Costs
How Much does it Cost to Install a Drip Irrigation System in a Flowerbed or Garden?
$50 – $200
Average Cost Estimate
$225 – $415
$450 – $600+
|Retail Cost of System||$25 – $50||$60 – $150||$150 – $300|
|Installed By||DIY||DIY or Pro||Pro|
|System Quality||2-3 Stars||3-4 Stars||4-5 Stars|
|Installation||Easy||Easy to Moderate||Moderate to Difficult|
|In-ground||No||Yes or No||Yes or No|
|Cost of Living (Pro Install)||Low – Average||Low – Average||Average – High|
|Time of Year (Pro Install)||Off-season||Off-season or Peak||Off-season or Peak|
Overview of Drip Irrigation
The cost of metered water and the wastefulness of traditional irrigation systems make drip irrigation an attractive alternative. These low-pressure, low-volume systems reduce water use by 50% or more.
Drip irrigation kits are available, and most can be expanded or modified with the right accessories for your landscape. Accessories include misters to water plant leaves, bubblers to saturate roots and drippers for general watering of gardens and lawns. You can also purchase components for a custom design.
Landscape companies work with kits, but most design custom drip irrigation systems for each project and the needs of the type of plants you’re watering, as well as the amount of water each plant needs.
This Costimate will help you estimate the cost of drip irrigation for your landscape. It includes cost factors, itemized supplies cost and costs from other sites for comparison. Costs submitted by readers are included, and you’re invited to return to share your costs to help other homeowners estimate the price of a drip irrigation system.
Product Cost Details
Drip Irrigation System Price Factors
How much does a drip irrigation system cost? It depends on these factors.
- DIY vs Pro – This is the largest cost factor since roughly 2/3s of the cost of a professionally installed system is labor. That’s a lot of savings, but since proper installation is crucial, hiring a pro is worth considering.
- System Size – The cost of a drip system can be given in cost per linear foot. DIY systems start below 50 cents per foot. Pro systems range from about $1.75 to more than $6.00 per foot, with an average of $3.20.
- Quality of the System – Quality varies from cheap to good in DIY kits. Professional systems range from midgrade to premium. Cost goes up with quality.
- System Components – Cost rises when additional emitters are required for large plants or a large number of plants.
- Inground vs Above Ground – All watering points (emitters) are above ground. But if the tubing to emitters is buried, cost can be 50% higher for a pro system. Soil conditions – soft top soil vs hard clay, for example, affect trenching costs.
- Cost of Living – Cost for professional installation varies by 30% or more from high-cost metropolitan areas to lower-cost small towns and rural areas.
- Time of Year – You might get lower estimates for work done when landscapers are less busy. Costs will be highest during peak summer.
Retail Cost Range (Equipment Only)
Here are costs for kits and additional components often included in a drip irrigation system.
- $20 – $100+ | Drip Irrigation Kits for 50-150 feet. You get what you pay for in size, quality and components. The cheapest kits do not include a timer or regulator. A respected midgrade brand like Rain Bird has 50-foot kits for $50 – $60. They include a filter/regulator, timer, Y-valve, wire and plastic stakes, feeder lines and more. Premium kits with 100-150 feet of tubing cost more than $100. Kits with up to 500 feet of main tubing and 200 feet of feeder tubing can exceed $300.
- $20 – $100 | Timers. Quality varies. Expect to pay $25-$40 for a midrange timer.
- $18 – $30 | 50 feet of mainline tubing. It’s available in various sizes, but ¼” and ½” are most common.
- $12 – $24 | Pressure regulator – midrange quality. Those on the upper end of the range have pressure gauges.
- $5 – $15 each | Assorted accessories such as a pack of barbed connectors, pack of stakes, tubing cutter, tubing punch to create a watering spot, adapters for connecting tubing of different sizes, a pack of 10-20 emitters and a tubing end cap.
- $12 – $30 | Utility box. Kits include a minimum of 40 small parts. Large systems have hundreds of small parts. A utility/tackle box is very handy for storing extra parts and the system over winter.
Permits, Inspection, and Installation Costs
- $0 | No permit is required for DIY or pro installation of a drip irrigation system.
Installation Labor Cost
Rates for irrigation system installers varies by cost of living in your area, competition, time of year and the size of the company – larger companies often have higher rates to cover increased overhead.
- $25 – $50 per hour | Drip irrigation installation labor
When installing a 100-foot system, cost is determined by whether the main line is buried, soil conditions and the number and type of emitters used.
- 4-6 Hours | Site preparation, installation of a 100-foot drip irrigation system, connect the system to water source, turn on the system, check and adjust the emitters.
DIY or Hire a Pro
Most kits include clearly written directions that are easy to follow. Many brands also offer video tutorials like this Rain Bird installation guide on their sites. They are worth watching a time or two because improper installation will result in clogged emitters and over-watering or under-watering of some areas.
The videos show how to install a basic kit for spot watering or general landscape watering and how to choose the right spot watering equipment.
Installation of an above-ground drip irrigation kit is DIY task that does not require experience – just a few hours and the ability to follow directions.
We recently installed a 170-foot system to serve 40-50 plants in about 6 hours with little difficulty. But an hour of planning the week before proved helpful. It allowed us to design the system and get a handful of additional parts.
Planning will help ensure that you have the kit or custom components and the tools for the system you intend to install.