Sprinkler System Installation cost guide

Your beautiful green lawn is your pride and joy, but it takes so much effort to keep it in perfect order. While mowing is a job that can be done at longer intervals, watering is something you have to do every day including holidays and weekends. That's especially true if you live in a hotter climate. The best way to free up your time and still have the same ideal lawn and yard is to install a sprinkler system. The guide below will help you understand how much this project may cost you on average.

Here you will learn about:

A sprinkler system comprises a controller, valves, pipes, and sprinkler heads. While homeowners can purchase all of these components and install them on their own, there are many things involved that can affect the total cost and efficiency of a new system down the line. Therefore, professional help is highly recommended, at least for the most important stages of the project. The total cost depends on a number of factors such as the square footage and landscape of the lot, quality of materials, professionals' fees, number of sectors in the yard the system will serve, and permits homeowners may need to obtain. The average price range is from $1,780 to $3,350. The lowest amount is $550. The largest budget is $4,650.

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Price-related questions

How much do the basic sprinkler system components cost?

In general, professionals recommend investing in good-quality materials, even if they are more expensive. That way you can avoid frequent repairs in the future.


There are two main options as regards pipes for a sprinkler system.

Flexible PVC pipes

This is a costlier type. Expect to pay approximately one dollar for one linear foot of a pipe that has a diameter of three fourths of an inch. It's simple in installation, requires few joints, and can be placed even in trenches that are not quite straight.

Inflexible PVC pipes

These cost much less: only a quarter of a dollar for one linear foot of a pipe that has the same diameter. However, they need more connections and trenches for them must be perfectly straight.


These components actually spray water around the yard. Depending on their purpose, sprinkler heads are divided into these categories:

Standard sprinklers

In the inactive state, they are recessed into the ground, waiting for being called to action. When you launch the system, they pop up and start sprinkling water on the lawn. Typically, standard heads are sold between $3.50 and $4.50 a piece. You'll most likely need around 12-15 for watering your lawn.

Bubble sprinklers

These are smaller heads that are necessary for watering flowers and other tender plants without damaging them. You will spend around 15-20 percent less on bubble sprinklers than on standard heads.

Sprinklers for trees and shrubs

These are taller than their counterparts and on average cost somewhere 50% more than the standard variety.

If you have a small garden, the rule of thumb is to purchase smaller heads and place them not far from each other. A larger yard, on the other hand, requires a smaller number of more powerful sprinkler heads that can reach farther.


These components are responsible for opening/closing the water flow along the piping. Each head may have its own valve. The average price range for one valve is from $14 to $16.

Automatic timer

This set-and-forget feature allows you to activate the system at specific times throughout the day. That way you may attend to your affairs without worrying about watering your garden. Prepare to spend $220-$320 to have the chore off your schedule.

What's the cost of the labor?


If you decide to hire professionals for the installation of a new sprinkler system, their fees normally amount from $50 to $80 per hour. A standard project usually takes 2-3 days. Thus, expect to pay from $2,200 to $3,000 and more per project. For this money, however, you get speed and quality, which can save you a great deal of money and time down the line.


Doing the work on your own will cost you around $1,600. However, you may also need help from the following service providers:

  • An electrician to connect the system to an automated timer ($90-$115 for sixty minutes). This work usually takes a couple of hours.
  • A plumber to connect the sprinkler system to your main water system ($250-$310 per project).

To make trenches for the piping, consider renting a special tool working on gas ($110–$150 for one day). While this price may seem hefty, the tool will greatly facilitate your work by making perfectly straight trenches of the required width and depth.

What other factors may influence the final figure in the bill?

Square footage

It's obvious: the larger is your plot, the more money you'll spend on materials and labor if you hire landscapers. One way to cut down on the total cost is to have only one sector in your yard covered by the sprinkler system at first, and then add more sectors as the opportunity presents itself.

Restoring the lawn

The best approach to a sprinkler system installation is to perform it when no landscaping work has been done yet. If it has, you may need to restore the lawn afterward. That will increase the overall cost of the project.

Slopes, shape

If your lawn is not flat, but has slopes and various landscaping elements, it may send the overall price up to as much as 20 percent.


Many modern sprinkler systems come with advanced functionality. For instance, a computer may determine if the ground has a sufficient amount of moisture and then either activate the system or keep it inactive. The more sophisticated the system is, the more money it costs.

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Information to check


Contact you local building department to learn if you need to obtain any permits for a sprinkler system installation. For instance, in many places the depth of trenches for piping is restricted to a certain value. You may also need the services of a licensed plumber who will connect the water system in your home to a new sprinkler system. This professional will ensure water will not flow in the reverse direction.


Make sure you hire a well-respected contractor with several years of experience, who is licensed, bonded, and insured.

Lawn restoration

Before the project begins, discuss whether the professional will need to restore the lawn when the work is done.


It's customary for contractors to show homeowners a detailed plan of the future system. Ask the professional about each component included in this plan: where it will be installed and how exactly it will operate. An expert will always create an optimal system design, so that not a single drop of water is used inefficiently.

Other frequently asked questions

What's the best time for installing a sprinkler system?

The recommended time is the beginning of spring or fall. Most contractors have few orders then.

I already have an irrigation system in my yard. How much will it cost me to connect this existing network to a new sprinkler system?

On average, expect to pay from $550 to $1,100 for a combined network.

Bottom line

The sprinkler system installation cost is determined by such factors as the size of the lawn, number of sectors for watering, need to restore the lawn after the project completion, quality of materials (pipes, valves, heads), and other factors. An average project will cost you between $1,780 and $3,350.

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