How Much Does it Cost to Install a Sprinkler System?

When you're looking to install a lawn sprinkler system, you can typically expect to pay from $1870 to $3320 for the sprinkler system plus supplies and labor.

The cost to install a sprinkler system will vary according to:

  1. size of your lawn
  2. amount of water pressure you have
  3. accessibility of your water meter 
  4. quality of the system components
  5. standard vs. programmable "smart" watering system

Benefit from a Lawn Sprinkler System

The good part is that a sprinkler system installation will help to give you the healthy green lawn that you've always wanted (and that forms such a positive impression if you're planning to sell), while saving you the time and hassle involved with dragging around an old-fashioned sprinkler or -- worse yet! -- a garden hose.

The best news of all? A good quality sprinkler system will actually save water compared to the more old-fashioned methods. 

Size a Sprinkler System … and Adapt It

For the most efficient sprinkler system, sit down with a landscape professional to plan for your needs. Have your landscaper design a system suited to your local climate and your soil. It should be divided into zones, each including a pipe and 5 to 10 sprinkler heads.

The zoning makes it easy to adjust the size of your sprinkler system, once the system has already been set up. All you'll need to do is add -- or remove -- zones. This will come in very handy later if you decide to add garden beds or turn part of your yard into a paved patio.

Cost Breakdown

Cost to install a sprinkler system will normally include:

  • Materials and Supplies -- The system will comprise pipes and sprinkler heads, according to the number of zones your landscaper has planned, plus a timer.
  • Labor -- your landscape pro will assess your yard to determine what size system you'll need. Next he will design the layout and have his crew dig trenches where the pipes will be placed. The lawn sprinkler installation cost may be higher if your yard is full of established tree roots, which will complicate the digging. Ask your landscaper to repair and reseed the lawn when the sprinkler is successfully in place.
  • Estimate -- The initial estimate, which may include an onsite inspection, is often free.

Get the Most for Your Money

Hire an experienced, licensed landscape contractor to install your sprinkler system -- the right way. He or she will ensure that the system is correctly designed and installed, so that the water is directed exactly where it is needed -- on the grass, not onto the pavement. Your landscaper will also ensure that protective devices such as a backflow preventer are in place and that there is minimal damage to your yard during the installation.

Important: contact a "one-call" center before the crew starts to dig to make sure they don't accidentally hit any buried utilities. In addition, a permit may be required for the excavation.

Install a "smart" timer which adjusts the water flow to current conditions. For instance, it will shut off the system during a rain shower to save on water.