Sprinkler Systems and Lawn Irrigation Costs
$3,160 Installed on 1/4 Acre
How Much does it Cost to Install a Sprinkler Irrigation System?
$3,350 – $3,700
Average Cost Estimate
$3,800 – $4,300
$4,400 – $4,800
|System Complexity||Low||Moderate||Moderate to High|
|Equipment Quality||Low to Mid-grade||Mid-grade||Mid-grade to High|
|Upgrades and Extras||0 – 2||3 – 5||5+|
|System Capacity||Low to Average||Average||Average to High|
|Trenching Difficulty||Easy to Moderate||Moderate||Moderate to Difficult|
|Landscape Difficulty||Easy to Moderate||Easy to Moderate||Moderate to Difficult|
|Supplies||$200 – $500||$600 – $1,200||$1,300 – $2,000|
|Permit & Inspection||$0 – $100||$100 – $200||$200+|
|Time of Year||Off-season||Off-season to Peak||Peak|
Overview of Yard Watering Systems
A sprinkler system on a programmable timer is the most convenient way to keep your landscape watered with the proper amount of irrigation, and lowest waste. A properly planned system is customized to the shape, size and features of your landscape.
This page includes complete details about cost of a complete lawn irrigation system, factors that will dictate what you may have to pay, and whether DIY is a good option.
You’ll also find sprinkler irrigation system cost estimates from other sites and actual sprinkler system prices submitted by homeowners after the completion of their projects. Feel free to return here to share your project description and cost for the benefit of other readers.
Product Cost Details
Irrigation System Price Factors
Most of these are obvious cost factors, but perhaps there are a few you haven’t considered.
- Size of the System – Most online estimates are for a quarter-acre system. The cost per square foot drops slightly as size goes up.
- Capacity of the Systems – Lawns with full sun in hot climates require more water than shaded lawns in cool climates.
- Complexity of the System – A system with just pop-up heads to water lawn only costs less than one that also includes high-rise heads are used for landscaped zones and bubblers, drip irrigation or gentle sprayers are ideal for flowers and vegetables.
- Upgrades and Extras – There several types of controllers, including those with advanced features like wi-fi and touchscreens are available. Extra zoning equipment and timers can be added when each zone requires its own watering schedule.
- Quality of the System – The lowest estimates you receive will likely be for inferior equipment that might not prove very durable. For example, most systems use low-cost plastic sprinkler heads; others are fitted with stainless steel heads at a higher cost, often required in sandy soil.
- Landscape Features – Large trees, slopes, driveways and other features play a role in job difficulty, how much material is needed and how the system is built.
- Trenching Difficulty – When ground is soft, trenching is easy. In mid-summer, clay can be extremely hard and difficult to trench in, leading to higher cost estimates.
- Extra Costs – If your lawn is in very poor condition, you might need to reseed or even lay sod at additional cost.
- Time of Year – You might be lower cost estimates if you plan the work outside of the peak lanscaping season.
- Pro or DIY – You’ll save on labor if you DIY, but you might still have equipment rental costs such as a trencher or front-end loader for preparing the landscape.
Retail Cost Range (Equipment Only)
- $150 – $250 | DIY kit, non-expandable, for 2,000-5,000 square feet
- $35 – $55 | Analog timer
- $80 – $170 | Digital timer
- $.60 – $1.00 per foot | PVC pipe from ½” to 1”
- $17 – $25 each | 50’ coil of riser flex tubing for use from the PVC line to the sprinkler head
- $10 – $20 each | Sprinkler heads of various types with cover radius of 8’ to 30’
- $12 – $30 each | Valves required for each zone
- $45 – $60 each | Manifolds used to distribute water from the main to the zones
- $2.50 – $5.00 each | Assorted caps and nozzles
- $60 – $120 | Irrigation water filter
- $7 – $15 each | Assorted installation tools such as sprinkler head wrench, curb key for water shut-off and sprinkler multi-tool with cutter and wrench
- $60 – $135 | Trencher rental for 4 hours to a full day. A deposit of $100+ might be required. Here’s a pro tip: If you rent a trencher within 4 hours of the store closing, you might be able to keep it overnight with no additional charges.
Permits, Inspection, and Installation Costs
- $50 – $200 | Both plumbing and electrical permits might be required, depending on the scope of the work.
Installation Labor Cost
If you do it yourself and hire pros for just the electrical and water hookup, these are your costs.
- $175 – $300 | Hiring an electrician to run wire and connect the timer
- $200 – $325 | Hiring a plumber to connect the irrigation system to the home’s water supply may be required in some areas. In most cases, the landscaping irrigation company will have the required license to connect to your existing water supply.
Experienced crews move pretty quickly. The complexity of the design and the hardness of the ground will impact time.
- 5 – 10 Hours | Sprinkler irrigation system up to .5 acres
- 2-4 Days | Large and/or very complex landscape irrigation systems
DIY or Hire a Pro
Having installed systems at two separate homes, we can say DIY is possible. But it is definitely not recommended unless you are accomplished in completing home projects, and have access to the right tools to do the job.
The system at the second home turned out quite a bit better than the first one. Experience is very useful!
This is a complex project that begins with the right plan. Irrigation system planner like this one from Lowes/Orbit is highly recommended.
Expect the planning phase to take at least an hour for a small, simple yard and several hours for more complex landscapes. You’ll need to know or determine the dimensions of the area to be irrigated. Knowing your home’s water flow in gallons per minute will help too.
A good auto planner will also create for you a list of supplies and tools needed plus installation instructions.
Before you begin installing the system, get your home’s utilities marked. Call 811 to request the service. It is free in most areas. It may take up to 14 days for the marking to be done, so call well ahead of time, so your project isn’t delayed.
Pros can install a system for a quarter acre in a day with a crew of 2-4 people. For DIY work, you will probably need a full weekend and the help of one or two people.
The conclusion is that for most homeowners, DIY is not a good option.