How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sprinkler System?

Average range: $4,000 - $7,000
Average Cost
(In-ground sprinkler system with an average controller on ½ acre)

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Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez. Written by

With modern automation systems zeroing in on the ideal watering time and precise water usage, sprinklers offer more than convenience. Initial sprinkler system installation cost may seem pricey, but the rewards are consistent: water conservation, long-term utility savings, and increased home resale value.

The average cost to install asprinkler system ranges from $4,000-$7,000, with the average homeowner spending around $5,500 on a professionally installed inground system with an average controller for ½ acre. This project’s low cost is $2,200 to install an in-ground sprinkler system on ¼ acre. The high cost is $13,500 for an in-ground sprinkler system on one acre with a smart controller and landscaping drip irrigation.

Sprinkler System Costs

Sprinkler System Installation Cost
National average cost$5,500
Average range$4,000-$7,000
Minimum cost$2,200
Maximum cost$13,500

Sprinkler System Cost by Project Range

Inground sprinkler system on ¼ acre
Average Cost
In-ground sprinkler system with an average controller on ½ acre
In-ground sprinkler system on 1 acre with smart controller and landscaping drip irrigation

Sprinkler System Cost Per Acre

Depending on your location, the climate, the slope of your yard, and the variety of landscaping, lawn sprinkler system 1 costs can vary significantly. The following chart offers average price ranges based on acreage.

Cost to Install Sprinkler System in 1/4 Acre, 1/2 Acre, 3/4 Acre, and 1 Acre

Cost to Install Sprinkler System in 1/4 Acre, 1/2 Acre, 3/4 Acre, and 1 Acre

Lawn sizeAverage Costs (Materials and Installation)

¼ acre

$2,180 - $3,270

½ acre

$4,360 - $6,530

¾ acre

$6,530 - $9,800

1 acre

$8,710 - $13,070

Cost of Sprinkler System for 1/4 Acre

The average price for installing an in-ground sprinkler system on a ¼ acre property is $2,180 to $3,270. Most homes in traditional suburban neighbourhoods have lots around ¼ acre, which are generally easier to work on for sprinkler installations. Sprinklers on these suburban lots have fewer zones and may not require as many advanced features as an expansive multi-acre property, but it depends on how high-tech you want the sprinkler to be.

Cost of Sprinkler System for 1/2 Acre

The majority of homeowners pay around $4,360 to $6,530 to put a new in-ground sprinkler system in their ½ acre lot. The more land space required for this project, the higher the costs, as professional installers need to put the desired number of sprinklers in each zone and get the proper controller setup. The price varies based on the type of sprinkler you choose for your ½ acre property. A complex in-ground system is more than a basic above-ground sprinkler system with manual timers.

Cost of Sprinkler System for 3/4 Acre

The average price of installing a new in-ground sprinkler system for ¾ acre home lawns is $6,530 to $9,800. More materials and labor are necessary to cover a spacious suburban lawn of this size. Contractors must ensure the system is properly zoned and installed in all areas, including gardens and open lawns. The price of ¾ acre sprinkler systems goes up as you add special features like rainwater harvesting and mobile connectivity.

Cost of Sprinkler System for 1 Acre

Homeowners with 1 acre can expect to pay $8,710 to $13,070 for a new in-ground sprinkler system. The more lawn there is, the more work is required to prepare and dig the lawn and get the sprinkler heads in place. If you want to switch the sprinklers on and off from your phone or harvest rainwater for an eco-friendly sprinkler system that saves water and money, this project gets more expensive. Professional sprinkler installers can help homeowners find the 1 acre sprinkler system that gives them the best value for their money.

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Sprinkler System Cost Per Square Foot

Sprinkler systems cost $0.20 to $0.30 per sq. ft. on average. Generally, homeowners pay more based on how advanced the system is and how many features it comes with, adding more installation and labor requirements for each square foot. Keep in mind that like acreage costs, the cost per sq. ft. for a new sprinkler system depends on your region and the company you select. This table shows common lawn sizes and the average costs of sprinkler system installations.

Cost to Install Sprinkler System in 10000, 20000, 30000, and 45000 sq ft of Lawn

Cost to Install Sprinkler System in 10000, 20000, 30000, and 45000 sq ft of Lawn

Lawn SizeAverage Costs (Materials and Installation)
10,000 sq. ft.$2,000 - $3,000
20,000 sq. ft.$4,000 - $6,000
30,000 sq. ft.$6,000 - $9,000
45,000 sq. ft.$9,000 - $13,500

Lawn Sprinkler System Cost by Zone

Different types of grass and foliage have different water requirements. Separating your yard into several irrigation zones allows you to program the system so that each zone supplies an adequate water supply to the lawn and plants within that area. A zone is simply one section of your sprinkler system in which the same valve controls all of the heads.

Your sprinkler project’s cost varies based on how many sprinklers you have in each zone and how many total zones there are. You can have just one or two sprinkler heads or more than five. It depends on your property’s soil and the selected sprinkler system. The number of heads per zone can be found by calculating the gallons per minute and pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the water pressure, the stronger the sprinklers. You may need fewer sprinkler heads to water the same amount of grass. Each sprinkler brand, overall design, and custom setup influence the number of sprinklers per zone. The following are the national average costs for sprinkler systems with a specific number of zones.

Cost to Install a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 Zone Sprinkler System

Cost to Install a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 Zone Sprinkler System

Number of ZonesCost (Materials and Installation)
1 zone$650 - $1,000
2 zones$1,300 - $2,000
3 zones$1,950 - $4,000
4 zones$2,600 - $5,000
5 zones$3,250 - $6,000
6 zones$3,900 - $6,500
7 zones$4,550 - $7,000

1 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

The average cost to cover one zone with a sprinkler is $650 to $1,000. This is used for small lots with less than ¼ acre. If the front lawn or small backyard grass receives consistent shade, then a 1 zone system could work. While this is the most affordable option, it doesn’t make much sense for a larger lawn with several sections with different requirements.

2 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

Most homeowners pay around $1,300 to $2,000 for a sprinkler system with two zones. This is generally preferred for ¼ acre or smaller lots. You can check with your sprinkler installation company to see if this economical option may work for you. Splitting your lawn into two distinct zones for watering is easier if you have a clear section of lawn with lots of sunshine and another area that gets a lot of shade.

3 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

If you want a 3 zone sprinkler system for your yard, expect to pay around $1,950 to $4,000. This kind of system can work for ¼ or ½ acre lots where there can be at least one zone for both the front and the backyard. If you have a stretch of garden on the side of your house or a partially shaded area, this can be another zone. Most in-ground residential sprinkler programs have at least three zones. It depends on where you live and the size of the land.

4 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

The average cost of 4 zone sprinkler systems is $2,600 to $5,000, usually used for ¼ or ½ acre lots with several distinct sections. You could use four zones on larger or smaller properties, but it just depends on how many areas you need to water and what your local expert recommends for properties like yours. The good thing about 4 zone sprinkler systems is you split them up between the front and the backyard with two zones each for sunny and shady spots.

5 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

A 5 zone sprinkler system costs $3,250 to $6,000 on average. Houses with ½ acre to an acre can get great value out of five zones, especially if there are dedicated garden areas that need more watering than others. This is a logical choice for properties with a mix of open lawn, trees, and plants. Often systems with more zones come with advanced control and connectivity features, so that’s something to look for too.

6 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

Installing a 6 zone sprinkler system costs $3,900 to $6,500 on average. Whether homeowners evenly divide the six zones between the front and the backyard or focus on their flower gardens, this is an adequate amount for most residential sprinkler systems. Your sprinkler installation company can offer a six zone solution that considers the varying soil conditions and water pressure.

7 Zone Sprinkler System Cost

If you need a 7 zone sprinkler system, plan to pay around $4,550 to $7,000. While systems with seven zones are not as common as four, five, or six zones, they are available for larger properties with at least an acre. With that many zones, it’s important to use high-tech connectivity to control the sprinklers and keep track of each zone. Wi-Fi systems that connect to phones and computers can help.

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Irrigation System Cost by Type

Irrigation systems 1 can be classified into two categories: above-ground and inground. The first one rests on the ground, while the second is hidden in the subsurface. Choosing one or the other depends on your needs and budget, as outlined in this table with the different irrigation systems and their average costs.

Cost per Acre to Install Above-Ground Sprinkler System, Drip Irrigation System, or In-Ground Sprinkler System

Cost per Acre to Install Above-Ground Sprinkler System, Drip Irrigation System, or In-Ground Sprinkler System

Type of sprinkler systemCost Per Acre (Materials and Installation)
Above-Ground$1,500 - $2,000
Drip Irrigation$1,800 - $2,150
In-Ground$11,000 - $13,000

Above-Ground Sprinkler System Cost

Most homeowners pay around $1,800 to $2,000 to put a sprinkler system above the ground on a one-acre property. These systems are much more straightforward and simpler than their in-ground counterparts. The sprinklers are placed directly on the lawn and connected to a faucet or spigot through a hose. With the turn of the faucet, the water comes on and provides irrigation.

This is generally seen as the most affordable and economical option, better suited to small yards with minimal lawn and garden areas. If you don’t want to install permanent sprinklers, above-ground systems work. You can move them around and put them away during the winter season. Above-ground sprinklers can be mounted in several ways. They range in price from $5 to $100 for each mount. Your sprinkler contractor can include them in your installation quote and install them as part of your overall irrigation system upgrade.

Cost of Staked, Portable Base, or Tripod Above-Ground Sprinkler Systems

Cost of Staked, Portable Base, or Tripod Above-Ground Sprinkler Systems

Mounting TypeAverage Costs
Staked$5 - $45
Portable Base$10 - $45
Tripod$40 - $100

Irrigation Stake

The typical price for staked sprinklers is $5 to $45 each. As the name suggests, just drive the stake into your lawn or garden area for a secure and stable solution. You can pull the stakes out easily enough and move them around your yard. This offers a bit of elevation if you don’t want the sprinkler laying directly on the ground.

Portable Base Sprinkler

The average price of portable base sprinklers is $10 to $45. It’s one of the most popular above-ground sprinkler options with a lightweight base you can easily move to any area of your lawn. The wide design keeps the sprinkler in position when the water comes on, minimizing mess and improper spraying. You can look for turret or oscillating options. Another advantage of these sprinklers is the easy storage due to their compact size.

Tripod Sprinkler

Most homeowners pay $40 to $100 for tripod sprinklers. With the sprinkler elevated on a mount with three legs, the tripod works well for minimizing trip hazards in spacious yards. Farmers and residential property managers often choose tripod sprinklers due to the larger watering range and the strong security. These sprinklers stay in position even during heavy winds and rain.

Drip Irrigation Cost

One of the most common forms of irrigation, the drip irrigation system, costs an around $1,800 to $2,150 per acre. A drip irrigation system rests on the ground and provides a designated amount of water to plants in a small area directly into the soil. The most significant benefit of these types of lines is that there is less water lost to evaporation. The inconvenience of having the lines exposed to mowers and trimmers, making trimming and pruning in the area more labor-intensive, is an admitted downside. However, the lower cost and water conservation benefits are a big influence for some homeowners.

In-Ground Sprinkler System Cost

The specific needs of your lawn and landscaping are going to be unique. Expansive lawns and landscaping, needing a significant amount of water, benefit from well-planned in-ground systems. While these in-ground systems offer benefits like convenience and durability, the main drawback is the higher cost and the possibility of overwatering. As a sprinkler pro guides you through the installation planning and prepping processes, you'll learn the needs of different areas of your lawn and landscaping.

A central controller is used to program each zone independently, according to the needs of the plants in each. Once the system is installed and programmed, there is very little need for your attention with a fully automated system. Other than keeping an eye out for malfunctioning heads, or very wet or very dry areas in your yard, indicating a problem, the sprinkler system takes care of the rest. Higher-end, more advanced systems alert you to these problems. In-ground sprinkler systems cost around $11,00 to $13,000 per acre on average.

Drip Irrigation System

Sprinkler Head Cost by Type

One challenging part of planning a sprinkler system 1 is sorting through the available heads and their specific purposes. There are two main types of sprinkler heads to choose from: above-ground and in-ground. The former simply fit onto a hose and are easy to install but present more hazards and require you to move and adjust them manually. With in-ground sprinkler heads, you pay more for the installation, but you can automate the watering process and avoid manual watering work week in and week out. This table shows the various options and national average costs ranging from $1 to $35. Remember that the price of these sprinkler heads is typically included in the overall installation cost.

Cost per Head of Bubbler, Misting/Micro, Pop Up, Fixed, Gear-Driven Rotor, Rotary Nozzle, or Impact Rotor Sprinkler Head

Cost per Head of Bubbler, Misting/Micro, Pop Up, Fixed, Gear-Driven Rotor, Rotary Nozzle, or Impact Rotor Sprinkler Head

Head TypeCost Per Head
Bubbler$1 - $10
Misting/micro$3 - $15
Pop Up$7 - $20
Fixed$7 - $22
Gear-driven Rotor$8 - $25
Rotary Nozzle$9 - $30
Impact Rotor$11 - $35

Bubbler Sprinkler Head Price

A bubbler sprinkler head costs $1 to $10 each. This basic sprinkler is designed to water flower beds and trees, saturating the ground soil to water plants otherwise obstructed from thorough watering. You can attach bubblers to traditional sprinkler heads above the ground or connect to irrigation pipes in underground sprinkler systems. Bubbler nozzles are available to convert other sprinkler heads.

Misting Sprinkler Head Price

The average price for misting or micro-sprinklers is $3 to $15. This style helps plants flourish with enhanced watering, particularly foliage that requires persistent low flow moisture. Homeowners with container or hanging plants often use misting sprinklers for consistent, controlled water just above the ground’s surface. They easily fit onto the end of a hose to simplify the watering process. Most misters come with several small heads to provide 360 degrees of misting power.

Pop Up Sprinkler Price

Plan to pay around $7 to $20 for pop up sprinkler heads, which work well for large areas where you don’t want the head above ground when not in use. They often come with an adjustable spring loading mechanism, so you can easily hide them when you’re done watering for the day. This is a popular choice for homeowners who want regular watering without constant sprinklers dotting their landscape.

Fixed Sprinkler Head Price

With an average price of $7 to $22, fixed sprinkler heads are ideal for narrow and curved areas of above-ground sprinkler systems. These sprinklers stay firmly in place for quick and reliable watering and are often chosen for side gardens and walkways leading from the front yard to the back and vice versa. Their fixed spray is good for areas that need regular watering multiple times a week or even daily.

Gear Driven Sprinkler Head Price

Homeowners usually pay between $8 and $25 for gear driven sprinkler heads designed for above-ground use. These sprinklers rely on uniform rotation to water large flat areas and are quieter and lower maintenance than other varieties on the market. Plus, gear driven sprinklers are currently more popular than impact rotor sprinkler heads, thanks to the even distribution and dependable watering.

Rotary Nozzle Sprinkler Head Price

Most people pay around $9 to $30 for rotary nozzle sprinklers which can be used above-ground or in-ground. These high-efficiency sprinkler heads are ideal for slopes and clay to prevent run-off and erosion. Water conservation supporters often recommend replacing standard sprinkler heads with these nozzles due to the minimal mist and water-saving properties.

Impact Rotor Sprinkler Head Price

An impact rotor sprinkler head costs $11 to $35 on average. While it delivers a coverage area of 18 to 50 feet, it is less consistent than its rotary nozzle counterpart. As the rotor moves back and forth and delivers sharp bursts of water, it makes a recognizable ticking sound. You can get multi-stream varieties for better coverage with both above-ground and in-ground.

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Cost to Install Sprinkler System

You will find online sources that say installing a sprinkler system 1 can be a DIY project. However, the amount of research and planning, the necessity of precise measuring and level digging, and specialized tools needed make this a massive undertaking for an amateur. Pros can, in many cases, complete the installation in one or two days. They already know the local ordinances, have experience pulling permits, and have all the nifty gadgets that will make the job a stress free experience for you. While most installers charge per job, the national average per hour cost is between $40 and $100. Sprinkler installation cost does vary significantly from state to state.

When looking at the price of sprinkler system installation, keep in mind potential plumbing issues. Connecting a sprinkler to your current plumbing system may not be a concern. Yet, if your current system is not sufficient for the size of your yard, you may require a plumber for upgrades. A plumber’s cost ranges from $45 to $200 per hour, depending on the job and location.

Costs for irrigation system installation vary based on the labor requirements, location, and individual design of each sprinkler or drip irrigation system. For example, an above-ground sprinkler with 6+ zones and multiple high-tech features may end up with labor prices closer to that of a traditional in-ground installation when compared to a basic above-ground one. Pricing varies based on these factors. Your chosen contractor can outline their labor prices for more details. The table below highlights the average labor costs for each type of irrigation system.

Labor Costs to Install an Above-Ground Sprinkler System, Drip Irrigation System, or In-Ground Sprinkler System

Labor Costs to Install an Above-Ground Sprinkler System, Drip Irrigation System, or In-Ground Sprinkler System

Type of Sprinkler SystemAverage Labor Costs
Above-Ground$120 - $400
Drip Irrigation$320 - $1,600
In-Ground$640 - $1,600

Cost to Install Above-Ground Sprinkler System

Labor costs for an above-ground sprinkler average $120 to $400. These sprinklers are generally affordable and require just a few hours of work to ensure everything is in the right place. It’s much easier for sprinkler companies to set these sprinklers up because they don’t need to do any digging, keeping labor costs and timelines down. The price may increase if you have a large lawn or add special features or additional services to this project.

Cost to Install Drip Irrigation System

The average drip irrigation installation costs $320 to $1,600 on average for labor based on the hours required to get the job done. Some companies do this in four to eight hours, while others need a few days to cover larger lawns and ensure the drip system is set up correctly. With the drip irrigation system sitting above the ground, that eliminates some of the time-consuming labor dedicated to digging for an entirely in-ground system. Usually, this project requires more organization and planning than a simple above-ground sprinkler.

Cost to Install In-Ground Sprinkler System

Often, homeowners choose to pay more for in-ground sprinkler systems, with labor costing between $640 and $1,600 on average for two days of work. In-ground systems take longer than above-ground sprinklers as professionals need to carefully plan the installation, remove any existing sprinklers, dig up the lawn with minimal disruptions and damage as possible, and clean up after securing the sprinklers in place. Some jobs can be done in a day with around eight hours of work, while others need a full week to complete it. Ask your contractor before starting the project to ensure your timeline matches up, and you have clear expectations.

Professional Installing Sprinkler System

Preparing to Install a Sprinkler System

There are varying local ordinances, including permitting, municipal watering regulations, and backflow prevention, that need addressing before work begins on a sprinkler project. There is also the possibility that utility lines run beneath your yard. Having a pro that is familiar with all of these issues can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

The next step is to map out your sprinkler. A pro will help you determine how many zones will be ideal for your yard. The number of zones is determined by several factors, including obstructions (variety landscaping, sidewalks, driveways, walkways, and sun/shade), sloping of your property, and the gallons per minute supplied.

When the property is all mapped out, the next step is to plan the style and placement of the sprinkler heads. Various sprinkler head styles are used throughout the yard, also depending on landscaping features, walkways and driveways, buildings, corners, and slopes. Within each zone and between each zone, each head's spray will need to overlap opposing heads so that there are no dead zones or dry spots.

Sprinkler System Installation Cost Factors

Every homeowner's budget and property are different. Therefore, a professional installer will guide you through your particular yard requirements, including several factors that affect the cost of a sprinkler system installation.

  • The number of zones. The number of zones needed to water your lawn adequately will depend on landscaping obstructions, non-organic obstructions like driveways and walkways, and the size and slope of your yard.
  • Site preparation. Underground sprinkler system costs may be less if homeowners have the installation done before landscaping is done on new construction. Also, existing homes with landscaped yards in areas where the soil is more amenable to trenching will require less labor. Rocky and hard soils, as well as clay, can increase the labor hours associated with installation. The larger the yard, the more labor and materials needed to prepare for and complete the project.
  • Obstructions. Several flower beds, trees, shrubs, bushes, and non-organic obstacles make mapping and planning the sprinkler system more complicated. Additionally, the obstructions require more zones and specialized sprinkler head risers ($1 to $5 each), increasing the cost of the irrigation system.
  • Lawn resodding. After the installation, your lawn needs to be repaired or resodded. The cost of resodding a lawn, in whole or in part, depending on the breed of grass chosen, carries material costs averaging $0.20 to $0.80 per sq. ft., with labor costs averaging $0.80 per sq. ft.

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Automatic Sprinkler System Cost

Automated in-ground sprinkler systems cost $4,360 to $6,530 on average per ½ acre. Many homeowners find this cost to be worthwhile. Automatic sprinklers help conserve water, save you money on your monthly water bill, and require minimal effort on your part to keep working. Each zone of your yard gets precisely the amount of water that it requires, and you don't have to be available during peak watering hours to lug hoses and equipment around.

Proper watering ensures longevity in your plants and grass. Several options are available, with some systems that can monitor the soil, sense rainfall, and even receive up-to-date weather forecasts to adjust output. This ability to avoid overwatering saves you money and prevents unintentional damage.

Working with a pro to design the ideal sprinkler system for your property will undoubtedly save you time and money and result in an increase in property value that comes with a beautifully manicured lawn and landscaping.

Sprinkler Head Watering the Lawn

Cost to Install Sprinkler System and Sod

With in-ground sprinkler installation, homeowners should consider the cost of installing sod, which averages $2,000 to $5,000 per 1,500 sq. ft. lawn. The cost of installing sod and an in-ground sprinkler system at the same time averages $6,000 to $12,000, depending on the size and any special enhancements. Sod is a good option for properties with dull, dry, and dying grass that struggles to grow. Sod is grown in a special environment before it’s added to residential lawns. Combining sprinkler systems and sod projects is popular. You can get all the labor done at the same time, rather than pulling up fresh grass or sod to put in-ground sprinklers in at another time. Plus, sod requires more water during the first two weeks, and a new sprinkler system can meet those demands.

Sprinkler Replacement Cost

If your sprinkler system is less than 20 years old, it is more likely that replacing a broken component ($75 to $500) will be recommended over replacing the entire sprinkler system ($5,553). The active parts of your sprinkler system will, over the years, need replacing.

Sprinkler Head Replacement Cost

One of the most common problems is faulty sprinkler heads, which can even affect the water pressure. The majority of sprinkler head replacements are pretty simple and inexpensive (average $10 each) but addressing them sooner than later is critical for maintaining the health of your lawn.

Sprinkler Valve Replacement Cost

At times, the sprinkler valves 2 will need to be replaced. The valves open and close to allow the right amount of water to be released for each zone. These parts are vital to the operation of the system and should be replaced immediately to ensure your lawn stays healthy. The cost to replace a sprinkler valve 2 is $60 to $275.

Cost to Add a Zone to Sprinkler System

In some instances, it may be necessary to add a zone to a sprinkler system. Suppose a certain area isn’t getting enough water, or the existing heads or sprayers are not far-reaching enough. In that case, a homeowner may decide to add an additional zone to an existing system. The cost per new zone is $500 to $650.

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Varying Water Needs

The division of your property into zones allows each area to receive the precise amount of water it needs. For instance, shrubbery and flower beds need less water than grass. If you were to have your lawn and shrubs in the same sprinkler zone, the shrubs would be getting too much water, or the grass would not be getting enough water. Too much water for plants can be as damaging to plants as too little. Any plant or grass in a particular zone should have the same water needs.

The amount of water needed by specific plants, grass, shrubs, flowers, and groundcover is primarily dictated by their natural habitat. The EPA has WaterSmart recommendations that include choosing native and low water plants, using mulch 3 around beds to reduce evaporation, and grouping plants according to water need.

Ground cover, shrubs, and trees need much less watering. Alternatively, most grasses require roughly an inch of water per week. This amount varies, however, and some drought-resistant species will do well with much less.

If you already have your landscaping in place, your sprinkler installer will suggest the appropriate equipment. If your sprinkler installation is a part of a new landscaping project, the installer will work with you and your landscape designer to install a system appropriate for your plans.

Sprinkler Head Watering Grass and Red Flowers

Sprinkler Water Pressure

Your water supply has two pressure measurements. The first is a static measure, which is the amount of pressure in the system when the water is off. The second, called the working pressure, is measured while the water is running and is the determining factor when choosing sprinkler system 1 components. Most sprinkler systems work within a range of 30 to 50 psi.

The working water pressure coming from your home, for a variety of reasons, may be less than the optimal psi. In this case, your installer will suggest one of several low water pressure sprinkler options that can work with a psi as low as 20.

Contrarily, you may have a landscape design that requires both high pressure and low-pressure heads. In this scenario, a high-pressure sprinkler can be outfitted with pressure-reducing valves to regulate the flow and lower the pressure to certain areas, for instance, bubblers and misters. These pressure-reducing valves can also be installed if you notice that instead of a steady spray, your sprinkler heads are misting. The irrigation components will wear out more quickly with a sprinkler system water pressure that is too high.

Sprinkler System Timer Cost by Type

The convenience of sprinkler system timers is well worth the nominal cost. Easily set the timer to engage the system to start and stop automatically, and you guarantee your lawn will get the appropriate amount of moisture without any hassle for you. They are available with a variety of options, including moisture monitoring, zone management, and more. Installation costs are minimal and typically incorporated into your new sprinkler system with manual or electronic timers. However, if you are purchasing a high-level programmable sprinkler, you may pay between $40 and $100 for electrical work.

Cost to Install Manual, Electronic, Zone, or Programmable Sprinkler System Timer

Cost to Install Manual, Electronic, Zone, or Programmable Sprinkler System Timer

Type of TimerAverage Costs
Manual$10 - $25
Electronic$20 - $50
Zone Timer$35 - $70
Programmable$100 - $300

Manual Sprinkler Timer

At an average cost of $10 to $25, a manual timer is as cheap and simple as it gets. Simply set the timer for the time and duration you want the sprinkler to run, and you are good to go. Unfortunately, these models don’t offer any other helpful options like monitoring flow or valve function or multi-zone control, but they are an affordable solution, especially for smaller lots.

Electronic Sprinkler Timers

There is a wide variety of simple electronic timer models, averaging $20 to $50 each. Many homeowners find these to be more reliable and easier to use than a manual sprinkler. Some are programmable for multiple zones, but they only come with limited monitoring. The more you pay for an electronic sprinkler, the more eco-friendly control features it has.

Sprinkler Zone Timers

Sprinkler zone timers have an average cost of $35 to $70. These timers offer the option of simultaneously running multiple-zone timing within one unit. Small residential lots around ¼ or ⅓ of an acre may need just 1 to 3 zones. Larger multi-acre properties could have six or seven. You can have different water temperatures and pressure for lawn and garden areas.

Programmable Sprinkler Timer

Programmable sprinkler timers range in price from $100 to $300. Usually referred to as controllers because they offer much more than time setting, these systems are unlimited with the monitoring options available. Some can be linked to mobile phones and computers so that you can set the sprinkler from anywhere. Weather detection features help conserve water when it rains with daily adjustments to the irrigation schedule offered in the top-of-the-line sprinklers.

Smart Irrigation Systems

The recent advancements in home automation and smart irrigation systems ($200 to $500) are almost unbelievable. In a very short time, we have gone from hand watering with a hose, to integration into an all-encompassing smart home system with the capability of regulating up to sixteen separate zones controlled from anywhere on your mobile device.

Today, advanced smart timers connect in real-time to weather reports, or communicate with rain sensors 4 ($20 to $70) and wind sensors ($40 to $100) to adjust their own output. Developers are still working on smartphone irrigation technologies, but there are already some companies with apps.

Leading the pack with its third smart system incarnation is Rachio, with simple controller installation, user-friendly app set up, and 5G internet capability, available in both 8-zone ($250), and 16-zone ($300) versions.

Once programmed with the specifics of your yard, the app's Weather Intelligence upgrade prompts the system to forego watering if it is too wet, windy, or if there is a freeze warning in the forecast. For an additional cost ($100), an integrated leak monitor will detect any leaks in the system and shut down the affected zone(s).

If you are installing a brand new sprinkler system, your professional installer will guide you as to which smart system will best suit your needs. If you would like to add a smart controller to your existing sprinkler system, while they are relatively easy to install, you should check with your sprinkler pro to ensure proper compatibility.

Smart Irrigation System

Efficient Sprinkler Systems

As eco-friendly options rank higher in consumer trends, sprinkler component manufacturers are continually working to advance their products for better efficiency. These ever-evolving products are as good for your wallet as they are for the environment.

Inexpensive rain gauges and sensors are available for as little as $10. On average, most lawns require one inch of moisture per week. When the environment has provided enough water, the system engages an automatic shut-off and won’t resume until necessary. Soil-based moisture sensors($35 average), similar to rain sensors, communicate current soil conditions to adjust timing and water needs.

Similarly, new weather-based smart system technologies ($250 average) communicate real-time weather information to the system, automatically adjusting output based on moisture or potentially drying winds. These technologies are used in conjunction with various energy-efficient sprinkler heads and drip systems.

Energy-efficient sprinkler heads ($7 to $15) reduce water waste due to wind and poor absorption. Using multiple sprays with lower water flow provides greater, more consistent coverage without over-watering and/or dry zones. Drip systems ($3.50 per square foot, primarily used in smaller areas and with shrubs and flower beds, provide low water flow, preventing waste from run-off and evaporation.

Integrating any of the above options into your sprinkler system will help conserve water and, in the long run, money spent on the water. However, hiring an Irrigation Association certified contractor that partners with the EPA’s WaterSense program is the best way to ensure you get a sprinkler system that is both energy-efficient and ecologically sound.

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Sprinkler System Water Usage

According to the EPA’s WaterSense, the average household in the U.S. uses 400 gallons of water per day and landscaping uses a third of the residential water of the entire country, or 7 billion gallons. What makes this number even more extraordinary is that they believe that as much as 50 percent is wasted due to evaporation and overwatering.

The average water usage cost for a household in the United States is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons. Of course, some areas of the country may use significantly more or less water on lawns because of climate and humidity differences. However, regardless of the cost, we should all be doing what we can to conserve this resource.

If you add a weather-based controller to your sprinkler system, the EPA estimates that you may cut your water usage by as much as 37 gallons per day. Even more encouraging is that using native plants and grasses can reduce your outside water requirements by 20 to 50 percent.

Sprinkler System Maintenance Cost

Maintaining your sprinkler system is another way to ensure that you are not throwing money away.

During the summer months, you should consider having a professional do a mid-season check-up. Looking for visible signs of malfunction, or potential problems, a professional will swiftly identify small issues that could develop into big problems. This peak-use check-up will cost, on average, $75.

In between regular professional check-ups, you should check out your sprinkler once in a while. You might notice that one of your sprinkler heads is spraying wildly, not spraying at all, or not popping up or retracting when it should. The fix for this may simply be removing debris around the sprinkler head. Or, individual heads may get damaged by weather, lawn equipment, or even errant footfalls.

Sprinkler System Repair

Sprinkler Winterization Cost

One of the best ways of protecting your lawn sprinkler system is with winterizing. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are prevalent, having a professional winterize your system will cost around $60 annually. However, many contractors will provide this service with an additional spring tune-up for about $100. Winterizing will help prevent unwanted cracks and leaks throughout the system.

Sprinkler Repair Cost

Repairing broken sprinklers costs around $100 to $400 on average, depending on the type of sprinkler and the extent of the damage. Leaks are another common problem that may start as a small irritation and develop into something greater. A leak repair can involve the replacement of a sprinkler head, a section of the inground lines, or a valve box. Always keep an eye out for dry spots or overly soaked areas in your lawn and for any sprinkler heads acting out of the ordinary. The sooner a professional can diagnose the problem, the better it will be for your lawn, sprinkler, and wallet. Also note if the pressure of the system has changed, even slightly by water not being released from even one head. Pressure changes within the system are never ideal and could cause more significant problems in the long run.

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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Rainwater Collection System

You may decide to install a rainwater collection system, which will cost, on average, $2,500. In areas where seasonal low rainfall or drought are common, collecting rainwater is a great way to make use of the natural moisture when it’s available and save some for when it’s not. A rainwater collection system can be connected directly to your irrigation system, allowing you to redirect the water from your roof to where it is most useful. Keep in mind that several states have regulations regarding the collection and private use of rainwater.

Drain Back Valves

In areas where frequent and prolonged freezes occur, drain back valves may be required. These valves are placed at the end of each line, particularly in lower-lying areas. They will automatically release any standing water when the sprinkler is not in use, preventing damage from unexpected freezes. Also, these make winterizing the system much quicker and easier. Drain back valves cost, on average, $2 to $4 each.

Rain Sensor

Rain sensors ($25 to $50) are what they sound like--they detect the amount of moisture already supplied naturally and tell the controller when to decrease the water delivery to account for rainfall.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

Depending on the region, some homeowners rely on their lawn sprinkler systems for peace of mind in case of a brush wildfire. Other fire protection options for inside the house include installing fire sprinkler systems for $1.30 to $2.00 per sq. ft. Generally, fire suppression systems that use water to put out fire cost between $20 and $1,000.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Licenses and permits. It is best to consult a sprinkler system professional about permits, licensing, inspections, and backflow requirements in your area. Every state, county, and city regulate sprinkler systems differently. In almost all cases, you will need a permit if the system connects to city water, and backflow requirements are becoming the norm in most areas.
  • Finding a contractor. A qualified sprinkler installation contractor will have at least five years of experience, the appropriate license for your locality, and adequate insurance. Check reviews from other homeowners for a better idea of their services and what you can expect.
  • Be aware of scams. Be leery of a contractor that asks for payment upfront. Some states restrict down payments on contracting services to ten percent of the total. In other cases, some contractors may require forty percent. This is up to the homeowner’s discretion, but certainly never pay more than forty percent before the job is complete.
  • Lawn and landscaping modifications. Existing lawn and landscaping may be damaged during the installation of your sprinkler system. However, professional installers have special equipment that is designed to mitigate that possibility. A certain amount of cutting of sod is necessary for the install, but the lawn should return to normal within two to four weeks.
  • DIY. Taking on a sprinkler install as a DIY project will save a homeowner a significant amount of money, but the lack of proper tools, machinery, and expertise will cost a lot in terms of time and frustration.
  • Warranty. Sprinkler systems come with a manufacturer warranty. Workmanship guarantees should be discussed with the installer and secured in writing before the work begins.
  • Time of the year. Depending on your location, the best time of the year to install a sprinkler is typically in the early spring or fall before heavy rainfall and significant lawn growth.
  • Homeowners Associations. Depending on where you live, a state may allow HOAs to regulate when and how often you may run your sprinkler system. Also, many locations have regular city or county-wide watering restrictions or may institute them temporarily in the case of drought.


  • Does a sprinkler system add value to a home?

A high-quality automated sprinkler system that is convenient and easy to use will add to the value of your home. Additionally, a well-maintained sprinkler system will contribute to the curb appeal, which doesn't directly affect the home price but does impact salability.

  • Can I install a sprinkler system myself?

You may decide if it is permitted by local regulations, that you would prefer to save money by installing yourself. However, it is a long and complicated process that requires many hours, planning, and specialty tools and machinery.

  • Do you need a permit to install a sprinkler system?

A permit to install a sprinkler system that taps into the city or county water source is required in most locations.

  • What is the average cost of installing a sprinkler system?

The average cost to install a sprinkler system in the United States is between $0.20 and $0.30 per sq. ft. or $4,356 to $6,534 for ½ acre.

  • How many zones do I need for my sprinkler system?

The number of zones that you need for your yard will be determined by several factors, including how level your property is, the fixed landscaping that is present, and any obstructions like walkways, driveways, and buildings.

  • How deep should a sprinkler system be?

Your sprinkler system should be between 6 and 12 inches deep, depending on the soil.

  • How many sprinklers can I run on one line?

You will have to determine the design capacity based on the size of your yard, the furthest distance in your yard from the main water source, and the working pressure of the water source.

  • How many sprinklers do I need per square foot?

The choice of sprinkler will be the deciding factor. For a fully covered lawn without any dead zones or dry spots, the recommendation is that the spray from one sprinkler should fully overlap the spray from the opposite head. Therefore, the diameter of the sprinkler head spray will dictate the distance between and the number per square foot.

  • How often should grass be watered?

On average, most lawn grasses need between 1” and 1½” of water per week. It is best to achieve this with two or three waterings per week.

  • Is it bad to water grass at night?

Yes. Watering your lawn at night can promote the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus. Predominantly in areas with hotter evenings and high relative humidity, lawns watered at night are susceptible to a condition commonly referred to as “root rot”. A variety of fungus and bacteria in the soil will rapidly reproduce and damage your grass under these conditions. All that being said, watering at night is a better option in arid areas away from the coast.

  • How many sprinklers per zone?

The number of heads per zone can be found by calculating the gallons per minute and pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the water pressure, the stronger the sprinklers. You may need fewer sprinkler heads to water the same amount of grass.


Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Sprinkler System 1 Irrigation systems: (Also known as Sprinkler system) Set of equipment used to irrigate lawns
glossary term picture Sprinkler Valve 2 Sprinkler valves: Device used to deliver pressured water to the sprinkler heads when watering a lawn
3 Mulch: A natural substance derived from plant, animal, or mineral matter that is added to soil in order to make it more fertile
glossary term picture Sensor 4 Sensors: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal

Cost to install a sprinkler system varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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A Sprinkler Watering a Lawn


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