How Much Does a Lawn Sprinkler System Cost?

A lawn sprinkler system automates the daily task of watering your plant and your lawn. If you are someone who demands a well-manicured lawn, then the lawn sprinkler could be a smart investment. The system saves you lots of time and money and also saves water which makes it environmental-friendly.

Various factors determine the sprinkler system cost. The size of your lawn, maintenance cost, and the number of zones you need to water are just a few aspects that determine the price of the lawn sprinkler. On average, expect to spend around $1710 to $3500 on a sprinkler system. 

Here we list down all the details that you need to consider to determine the best price for your lawn sprinkler system.

What Determines Sprinkler System Cost?

1. Type of the sprinkler system

There are various kinds of sprinkler systems with different types of sprinklers that you can choose from. Each of them comes with its distinct pros and cons as well as price. The commonly available sprinkler systems are:

  • Traditional spray systems – The sprinkler consists of a pop-up sprinkler or a ground-level sprinkler head. It offers the perfect coverage if you wish to use it in an open landscape. The head shoots water in a full, half, or quarter circle. This type offers the maximum coverage, but they do wastewater, increasing the risk of the lawn getting oversaturated. If the soil in your lawn does not absorb the excess water, then this forms puddles on the ground. Also, be ready to bear a higher water bill when you use this spray system. For a traditional spray system, material and installation costs for a 1-acre lawn will range from $1200 to $2000. 
  •  Drip irrigation systems – These are highly water-efficient, perfect to use to water your plant beds. They consist of a PVC or a plastic pipe with small holes that let the water drip slowly. The drip system is affordable, but it does not offer essential coverage if you wish to water your lawn. These are more suitable to water flowers or plants. For a drip irrigation system, material and installation costs for a 1-acre lawn will range from $1700 to $2200. 
  • Rotor sprinkler systems – These are commonly used for landscape irrigation. The rotor sprinkler system comes in varied designs with different sprinkler heads. The pop-up spray head stays underground and comes out when required. It can water a radius of around three to fifteen feet and extend to even twenty inches above the ground. The gear-driven heads are ideal for large yards. These are cost-effective, have an enclosed design that prevents any debris from clogging, and low maintenance. The impact spray offers optimal coverage with its spray radius that extends to 150 feet. These are noisy, so may not be accepted in a residential area. For a rotor sprinkler irrigation system, material and installation costs for a 1-acre lawn will range from $11000 to $13000.

2. Manual or automated

The lawn sprinkler system should water your lawn and also control the water flow. There are automated controllers for the system. The older ones relied on timers to decide when to stop the water flow. The new generation lawn sprinkler systems, however, are connected to smart devices. The smart sprinkler system connects to the internet, and it checks the soil sensors and reads the forecast data. This stops the sprinkler from watering the soil on rainy days. It also checks if the soil is dry and only then waters it. These are thus highly efficient. However, the more sophisticated your sprinkler is, the more you need to pay for it.

You can also opt for some add-on features like Wi-Fi compatibility and phone app connectivity. All of these make your life easy, but they add to your total expense as the lawn sprinkler system costs vary.

Here is the rough guide for the amount that you would need to pay to enjoy the convenience of a sprinkler system timer.

TypeCost
Manual Timer$10 to $20
Electronic Timer$25 to $50
Zone Timer$35 to $75
Programmable Timer$150 to $350

 3. The size of the lawn

The lawns’ size determines the price of the sprinkler system. If your lawn is huge, you will need extra sprinkler heads with a larger water capacity, increasing cost. The total land area will determine the amount of material needed for the sprinkler heads or the PVC pipe. So the more grass there is to water, the more the requirements for material and thus more the cost. 

Here we list down the approximate price for material and installation as per the acre size.

Lawn Size (acre)Approx. cost of material & installation
¼ acre lawn$2100 to $3200
1/2 acre lawn $4300 to $6500
3/4 acre lawn$6550 to $9500
1 acre lawn$8700 to $13200

Below is a rough average of your lawn’s material and installation price in terms of square feet.

Lawn Size (square feet)Approx. cost (material and installation)
10000 sq. ft. lawn$2000 to $3000
20000 sq. ft. lawn$4500 to $6500
30000 sq. ft. lawn$6000 to $9000
40000 sq. ft. lawn$9500 to $13000

Again if the lawn is wide and open, then the price will differ compared to a land that has a lot of landscaping and fencing barriers. The difficulty and the variety of the lawn watering area will affect the sprinklers’ estimated cost.

4. Zones

Your lawn may not be just grass. You would have flowers and plants as well. Again, there would be some areas that face the sun directly while the others enjoy sufficient shade. Your entire lawn does not need a uniform amount of water. The sprinkler system will include watering zones. As per the zone, the system will adjust the water level, ensuring that each area gets the right amount of water. The smart sprinkler will analyze every zone to check the amount of water required and then water the area accordingly. This improves the health of your lawn and also does not wastewater. The more number zones your lawn is divided into, the higher the sprinkler cost.

Look below for the average price of material and installation depending on the number of zones.

Number of ZonesAverage Cost (material and installation)
1 zone$600 to $950
2 zone$1200 to $2000
3 zone$1900 to $4000
4 zone$2500 to $5000
5 zone$3200 to $6000
6 zone$4000 to $6500
7 zone$4500 to $7000

No two lawns are the same, and the zone type will dictate the material and the labor needed. Usually, the lawn zones are divided into turf, landscape and drip, depending on the amount of water needed to get the optimal growth. The drip zone drips the water supply to the roots, but it needs special piping that facilities the slow drip. The turf zones need to operate in a cycle and soak routine. Here the area receives wide water coverage for a short while with a pause to let the water soak in the soil. The process is then repeated.

5. Installation (DIY or By Professional)

While it is possible and tempting to install the lawn sprinkler system yourself to save cost, there is always the risk of inefficient installation, which may require frequent maintenance. It thus turns out to be more economical if you hire a professional to do the job. The installation charges could range from $400 to as high as $5000, depending on the kind of sprinkler and lawn area.

A professional plumber will inspect the system and connect the system to the water supply to have no backflow. It does not let the water back up into the water supply. The installer will also dig a trench in the yard, which costs extra. These costs should also be factored in when budgeting the price of a lawn sprinkler system. You also need to cater for the cost to repair the lawn after it is dug. The pipes have to be covered, and the grass reseeded. This is not a huge expense but does contribute to your entire expense.

6. Running cost

Once your sprinkler system is installed and working, it will attract some maintenance and operating cost. The operating cost is your water bill. The maintenance cost includes any repair or breakage in the sprinkler head and other components. The repair cost for a sprinkler will range between $150 to $400, which is dependent on the extent of the damage and the type of sprinkler.

Planning Before the Purchase of Sprinkler System

Planning the entire lawn sprinkler system saves time, cost and makes the task easy. Here are some basic steps to ensure that you have an efficient sprinkler system installed.

  • Create a map of the property and separate it into different zones 
  • Mark the area of the utility pipes and lines 
  • Narrow down the choice of the best sprinkler head suited for your lawn 
  • Determine where you will place each of the components.

Conclusion

We hope to have cleared your doubts on how much does a sprinkler system cost?

An efficiently laid down sprinkler system saves water and time, a worthy investment for those who care about their lawn. It also creates a good first impression and could be a deal-breaker in a home sale. However, before you finalize the purchase, understand the various factors that affect the price of the sprinkler system, which in turn will let you come up with a realistic budget to set the system. Lack of knowledge may result in a wrong purchase with a lot of money going down the drain. To avoid this, equip yourself with these factors that let you determine which sprinkler system within your budget is the best one for your lawn.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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