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Sprinkler System Cost: Economical or Extravagant

Sprinkler System Cost: Economical or Extravagant

For years, you’ve been watering your lawn manually without a fancy irrigation system, and your lawn looks fine. So, why should you invest in a sprinkler system?

Bert Lance once said, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” If the good ol’ sprinkler and hose system has worked for you, do you need to change it? Well, you have to weigh the upsides and downsides of installing a new sprinkler system.

Will the sprinkler system help you save water, time or add value to your home? Also, you have to consider the upfront costs such as parts and installation. 

Reasons Why You Should Install a Sprinkler System

You can’t go wrong with a sprinkler system, as you’ll see below. 


Do you enjoy changing the sprinkler position every few hours to ensure that all your entire lawn receives sufficient water? No, it’s tiresome, and there is an easier way to do it.

Install a sprinkler system and enjoy the convenience of having an automatic system. You can set the system to turn on at certain times of the day. The system will need a controller such as the HydroRain HRC400WIFI16 to help you customize your watering schedules based on your landscape needs.

The controller has remote capabilities as it’s compatible with Bluetooth and WiFi, thus allowing you to control it from your PC or phone. You can also use the digital display to set the frequency, start and run time.

The frequency is how often you want to water your lawn, and it has three options; odd or even days, days of the week, or intervals. The start time is the precise moment you’ve programmed the system to start watering, while the run time is the set duration each zone will be watered.

You can also program the system to begin watering each zone at different times. And the best part is that you can set the system to water your lawn even when you’re not around. 


If you choose to install an inground irrigation system, almost all system components will be underground. This makes your lawn look more attractive and eliminates tripping hazards. 

Dog garden terrier fun
Source: Pixabay

Your kids and pets can play on your lawn without worrying about tripping over the lines and sprinkler heads. You can also choose a system that features pop-up sprinkler heads — they’ll disappear when not in use. 

Financial Benefits

There is no denying that a well-maintained lawn is a sight for sore eyes. But how does the same translate to your finances?

You can expect your water bill to reduce as the system will cut out water wastage. For example, if you switch to a drip irrigation system, you can increase water efficiency by up to 70% and lower energy costs by up to 50%.

You can also install smart controllers and take the guesswork out of the equation. Such systems have evaporation technology such as rain sensors to detect the amount of rainfall received.

If the area has received sufficient rainfall, the system automatically turns off the sprinklers on your property, thus conserving water. Reduced water wastage translates to reduced water bills.

You’ll save money by avoiding other issues such as lawn diseases which are caused by overwatering. Some like the Red Thread infection are easy to treat but will eat into your finances to get rid of them. 

Enhanced Resale Value 

Sprinkler systems are considered a valuable upgrade by most homeowners. Not everyone has the time to maintain a lawn, and they will appreciate the convenience of a sprinkler system.

However, not every system will boost property value. It needs to be professionally installed and designed for your property. This allows you to include the system as a bonus during the sale. 

Also, a sprinkler system will improve curb appeal, which will help you entice potential buyers. According to Bob Vila, curb appeal can add up to 20% to the value of your property. In addition, a well-maintained lawn will help your home stand out in a competitive market. 

Interestingly, the value of your landscape increases over time as the trees and shrubs mature to enhance aesthetic appeal as intended by the landscaper.

House garden
Source: Pixabay

Downsides of Lawn Irrigation Systems

Yes, an irrigation system on your residential property offers tons of benefits, but you also have to consider the downsides. What are the drawbacks of installing a sprinkler system?

Upfront System Costs 

Arguably the biggest deterrent to owning a sprinkler system is the upfront costs. How much will it cost to purchase and install the system?

It’s not as easy as saying that it costs about $4,000 because the cost varies depending on lot size, the number of zones, the slope of your yard, type of soil, type of sprinkler system, local permits required, etc.

It can cost upwards of $5,500 if you include professional installation. 

Intrusive Installation 

Most of the irrigation systems require excavation to lay the pipe network. This means that the installation team will need to dig up your lawn. If you have a well-manicured lawn, consider that it will take some time to get back in shape. 

Repair & Maintenance Costs 

If the system components are expensive, expect to pay a hefty price for repairs and maintenance. You’ll also need seasonal maintenance from professionals to prevent water leaks and freezing.

Expect to deal with a few pest problems such as voles, moles, etc., that will damage your sprinkler systems if not controlled. Keep in mind that if the pests are not controlled, your water bill and repair costs will only go up. 

What Is the Cost to Install an Irrigation System? 

As you’ve heard, sprinkler installation is expensive. But how expensive is it?

According to Fixr, the national average cost of sprinkler system installation is $5,500 for ½ acre. For ¼ acre, the average cost is $2,200 and can reach as high as $11,000 for one acre.

The systems costs could increase depending on factors such as;

Types of Sprinkler Heads 

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when you’re looking to install a sprinkler system is the type of sprinkler heads. You can choose any sprinkler head provided that it’s suitable for the water pressure in your lines and will ensure that your lawn gets enough water.

Some of the common types of sprinkler heads include: 

Sprinkler Type Purpose
Rotary heads -Have a low precipitation rate. -Ideal for lawns that require an extended watering cycle.
Spray heads -Not ideal for windy areas. -Suitable for small to medium-sized lawns.
Blubber heads -Not ideal for sloped areas or extensive landscapes. -Deliver a lot of water at a fast rate.
Multiple-stream sprinklers -Suitable for uneven lawns. -Shoot out thin streams of water.
Fixed heads -Ideal for curved areas and small lawns.
Pop-up heads -For areas where you don’t need the sprinklers to disappear when not in use.

How Much Does a Sprinkler System Cost per Zone?

The cost per zone is about $650; therefore, if you have six zones, you’ll multiply the cost by 6.

Before you arrive at the cost, you’ll need to contract an irrigation systems company to install a sprinkler system on your lawn. The company will evaluate your residential property to estimate your watering needs.

The evaluation will involve checking what you’ve planted on your property. For example, your front yard might have flowers, while your backyard has vegetables and fruits. On the side, you might have grass and a few bushes or trees.

Each of these areas will have varying watering needs. The company in charge of installing the sprinkler system will break down the areas into watering zones. Each zone will have a different watering system to ensure that the plants, grass, or trees get the right amount of water.

Also, each zone can feature a single valve to control all the sprinkler heads.

If you consider all the factors discussed above, you’ll realize that the cost of installing a new sprinkler system increases as the number of zones increase. 

Sprinkler Systems 

Which type of lawn sprinkler system do you want? Is it an inground sprinkler system or an above-ground system? 

Watering the garden
Source: Pixabay

If you want an above-ground sprinkler system, you can try the drip irrigation system, which costs $2,150 per acre.

It’s a more economical option in terms of costs and water use. The only downside is that the water supply lines are exposed to the elements and gardening tools. It makes it harder to trim your lawn as you have to avoid the lines.

A more convenient option would be the in-ground lawn sprinkler system, whose cost to install ranges from $3,000–$11,000 per acre. 

Professional Installation vs. DIY 

Experience vs. inexperience, the former will always have an edge. It will cost more, but it's worth every penny. If you have your sprinkler systems professionally installed, you’ll prevent unnecessary damage to your water system and yard.

Also, the professionals will help you determine whether your plumbing system can support a new sprinkler system. If not, you’ll need the services of a plumber who will charge $45–$200 per hour.

It might sound expensive to have your lawn sprinklers installed by a professional, but it will save you from a lot of headaches. Think about local permits, planning the irrigation system, excavation, lawn care after installation, etc.

It’s too much work that you can have someone else help you with. But if you’re up for it, do it yourself, and you'll save about $1,500 or more.  

Is a Sprinkler System Worth It?

As you’ve seen from the benefits section, it’s worth installing. And while the installation cost might be a little too high, the investment will add value to your home, reduce water wastage and transform your lawn. 

Beautiful home garden
Source: Unsplash

However, it can be a costly mistake, especially if you don’t do it right. You expect this system to last about 10 years without exerting extra pressure on your finances.

There are two key things that will affect your irrigation system’s lifespan — installation and quality of the components.

For installation, you can always use online tutorials to figure out how to install a DIY sprinkler system. However, it’s better to hire a professional to ensure that the installation is done according to code.

Aside from the quality of installation, you also have to choose quality sprinkler system components. The last thing you need is a system failure due to faulty components. Fortunately, this is avoidable if you source your components from a reputable store such as the Sprinkler Supply Store.

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