The average cost of sprinkler system installation is $3,150, with most Americans paying $2,400 – $4,200. Lawn size and sprinkler system type are the most influential cost factors, and you should expect to pay $0.20 – $1.00 per square foot of yard.
Sprinkler systems are a great way to reduce water usage, boost curb appeal, and effortlessly manage your lawn’s watering needs. Read on to get the lowdown on sprinkler system pricing, including money-saving tips.
In this cost guide:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- Pro cost vs. DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average sprinkler system costs in 2023
|National average cost||$3,150|
|Typical price range||$2,400 – $4,200|
|Extreme low-end cost||$825|
|Extreme high-end cost||$8,300|
Our data is based on the typical American yard, which is ⅛ acre – ½ acre, with the average lawn size being a quarter acre. If you’re on a small budget and want your costs to be close to the extreme low end, consider a stationary above-ground system.
Sprinkler system cost estimator by lawn size
The size of your lawn plays a massive role in sprinkler system costs, so expect to pay about $0.20 – $1.00 per square foot of yard. The price accounts for more sprinkler heads, tubes, piping, and labor. Please see estimated prices by lawn size in the table below.
|Lawn size||Typical sprinkler system cost|
|5,000 sq. ft.||$1,000 – $5,000|
|10,000 sq. ft||$2,000 – $8,000|
|20,000 sq. ft.||$4,000 – $10,000|
Also, keep in mind that the average American yard is about 10,000 square feet and per-square-foot costs typically decrease as yard size increases.
Other factors that affect cost
To accurately estimate the cost of a new sprinkler system, you must also look at:
Sprinkler system type
When pricing lawn sprinkler systems, there are several types of sprinklers to compare, including:
- Above-ground vs in-ground sprinklers
- Stationary vs rotary sprinklers
- Additional options
Above-ground vs. in-ground systems
The chart below shows typical price ranges for above-ground and in-ground sprinklers (not including labor).
Please see the pros and cons of above-ground sprinklers in the table below.
✓ Easy to customize
✓ Easy to move around
✓ Affordable part replacement
|✗ Can be an eyesore|
✗ Exposed tubes are susceptible to damage
✗ Most aren’t automated
Next, take a look at the pros and cons of in-ground sprinklers below.
|✓ Usually automated|
✓ Easy to schedule proper watering
✓ Tubes and pipes are out of sight
|✗ Expensive upfront cost|
✗ Costly repairs
✗ System need winterization
Stationary vs. rotary sprinklers
Some sprinkler systems are stationary, and others rotate:
- Stationary sprinklers are less expensive, but each one only covers a small area.
- Rotary sprinklers are typically more expensive than stationary systems but can cover large areas with rotating sprinkler heads. You can control the flow of water, making them safe to use on a cornucopia of vegetation.
Other sprinkler options
Some in-ground sprinkler systems are modified to do the following:
- Drip irrigation: Gardens thrive with drip irrigation because water goes straight to the plant’s roots. In-ground systems can be modified for drip irrigation, and some brands sell extra parts to perform the task. Drip irrigation typically costs $300 – $1,200 per zone.
- Rainwater collection: In-ground systems can be customized to utilize a rainwater collection system. Although they save you money on your water bill, the upfront cost of a rain collection system is usually $1,000 – $3,500. A single rain barrel typically costs $120 to $160.
You may also want to consider misting sprinklers for delicate yard areas, such as flower beds. Small misting systems are relatively affordable, but larger systems can get expensive.
Irrigation systems divide the land into watering zones (aka irrigation zones). The higher the number of zones, the more the sprinkler system will cost, as shown in the table below.
|Number of zones||Typical cost|
|1||$550 – $1,000|
|2||$1,200 – $2,000|
|3||$2,000 – $3,200|
|4||$2,500 – $4,150|
|5||$3,400 – $5,200|
After five zones, add about $500 – $1,000 for each additional zone.
How many zones will I need?
Each zone gets its water supply from the same water value; thus, there are two reasons why homeowners need more water zones:
- Different homes allow for different amounts of water pressure; most can’t water the entire property simultaneously.
- Vegetation differs in its watering needs, including the amount of water, water pressure, and watering frequency. For example, your lawn’s needs probably differ from the flower beds, so they must be in separate watering zones.
Sloped yards present irrigation challenges because they are prone to flooding. If your yard is sloped, you probably want an in-ground system with a timer, and you will also benefit from the following features:
- Soil moisture sensors typically cost $90 – $140 and automatically shut off if the ground gets too wet.
- Rain sensors are usually $20 – $90 and ensure sprinklers don’t turn on after it rains.
- Smart controls cost $60 – $300, allowing you to control the sprinklers from your smartphone.
All of the water-saving features above are also great for homeowners who are concerned about the environment, water shortages, and utility bills.
Sloped yards also benefit from drainage solutions, such as a french drain. French drains typically cost $2,800 – $6,500.
There are ongoing maintenance costs associated with a sprinkler system, including:
- Winterizing a sprinkler system typically costs $60 – $120 and is a yearly expense for homeowners with in-ground systems in climates that get cold weather. The cost to winterize sprinklers depends on the size of your yard and the number of watering zones.
- Sprinkler inspections are recommended every 5-10 years and typically cost $200 – $400.
- Sprinkler heads sometimes need to be cleaned or unclogged. Expect these services to cost at least $50.
If you are looking to install sprinklers, you may also want to take a look at the cost of the following services:
The typical sprinkler repair cost is $110 – $365, as seen in the table below. In-ground systems usually cost more to repair than above-ground sprinklers because they are more difficult to access.
|National average cost||$240|
|Typical price range||$110 – $365|
|Extreme low-end cost||$55|
|Extreme high-end cost||$650|
Common sprinkler repairs include:
- Repairing damaged piping
- Sprinkler head repairs
- Replacing sprinkler heads
- Replacing a backflow preventer
- Wiring issues
Out of the above repairs, replacing a backflow preventer is the most expensive and can cost more than $800 on some systems.
Most homeowners purchase sprinklers to maintain their lawns, and the best way to care for your lawn is to hire professional support. The cost of professional lawn care varies by service. Please see typical lawn care service prices in the table below.
|Lawn care service||Typical cost|
|Mowing||$50 – $190|
|Aeration||$75 – $225|
|Dethatching||$160 – $225|
|Fertilization||$120 – $480|
|Pest control||$55 – $170|
A landscape architect can help you plan the perfect outdoor living space, incorporating style and functionality. The typical cost to hire a landscape architect is $1,610 – $5,490.
|National average cost||$3,510|
|Typical price range||$1,610 – $5,490|
|Extreme low-end cost||$375|
|Extreme high-end cost||$11,875|
After installing sprinklers, you may want to spend more time outside, admiring your green lawn with friends and family. Pergolas are great for outdoor socialization, and most pergola installations cost $2,100 – $6,000. However, handy homeowners can save money by building a DIY pergola.
|National average cost||$4,000|
|Typical price range||$2,100 – $6,000|
|Extreme low-end cost||$1,050|
|Extreme high-end cost||$11,000|
Pergolas have grid-style roofs that allow partial sun to enter the structure. However, if you don’t want to bask in the summer sun, consider an outdoor structure with a solid roof (see below).
Gazebos are outdoor structures with solid roofs that provide full sun coverage and can also protect you from rain. However, gazebos cost more than pergolas, with an average installation price of $7,590.
|National average cost||$7,590|
|Typical price range||$5,365 – $9,025|
|Extreme low-end cost||$325|
|Extreme high-end cost||$27,000|
Pro cost vs. DIY cost
If you are looking for an above-ground system, you can save money by installing it yourself. However, in-ground systems are best left to the professionals.
DIY in-ground sprinklers
Rain Bird sells small DIY in-ground sprinkler kits for $130 – $260 that cover 1,000 – 3,000 square feet. However, these kits require intensive labor, and it is easy to make costly mistakes. For example, improper installation can lead to water waste or an inoperable system.
The table below shows the typical cost of a small DIY in-ground kit vs professional installation for a similar-sized system.
|DIY in-ground kit||$130 – $260|
|Professional installation||$500 – $1,500|
Building an in-ground sprinkler system is a complex DIY project. Even homeowners with a lot of DIY home improvement experience will probably need the assistance of a professional to get the job done right. If you are looking for a sprinkler system to water the average-sized American yard, DIY installation isn’t a viable option.
DIY above-ground sprinklers
Above-ground sprinklers are much easier to install than in-ground systems. The table below shows the pricing of typical parts used to build an above-ground system.
|Sprinkler part||Typical cost|
|4-inch pop-up sprinkler||$9|
|4-inch pop-up spray heads (4)||$45|
|PVC spray head riser||$2.50|
|MP sprinkler rotators (2)||$20|
|MP Rotary spray nozzles (6)||$50|
|Sprinkler tool pack||$8|
If you want to know how to build your own above-ground sprinkler system, watch this tutorial from Ryan Knorr Lawn Care:
A similar-sized above-ground system installed by a professional will typically cost at least $500.
|Small DIY above-ground system||$165|
|Small professional above-ground system||$500|
Cost of installing sprinklers by location
Your geographic location affects the cost of sprinkler installation for the following reasons:
- Soil type varies by location, and soil conditions affect the cost of digging trenches. You need trenches for in-ground sprinkler systems.
- Sprinkler parts cost more if shipped to you, and the more they travel, the more they cost.
- Permit prices vary by location, and sprinklers that connect to city water usually need a permit. However, prices and guidelines vary by municipality.
- Water prices also vary by location. Professionally installed systems with a timer and sensors typically use less water than manual methods. However, water is still used, and you are probably paying the city for that water.
- The local cost of living influences labor prices. If you live in an expensive area, expect a sprinkler system to cost more than average.
A professionally installed in-ground system increases curb appeal and can add up to 12% to the value of your home. Not only is having the system a perk to potential buyers, but it also helps keep your lawn and landscape looking their best. A well-kept yard is essential to curb appeal.
Sprinkler systems use about 15 liters of water per minute. They use a lot of water compared to relying on rain, but during dry seasons and drought, your lawn probably needs more water than the rain can provide. Sprinkler systems with timers and sensors help conserve water while keeping your grass and landscape hydrated.
In most cases, an in-ground sprinkler system is worth it. They save you time, conserve water, and increase curb appeal:
• Most in-ground systems have a timer, so watering the lawn takes little effort.
• Systems with sensors can automatically shut off if it rains or the ground becomes too moist.
• Automatic sprinkler systems ensure your lawn and garden are adequately hydrated.
A professionally installed sprinkler system can save you time and money while helping you maintain a lush lawn and gorgeous gardens. So, if you want your yard to look its best, contact a local pro today for a sprinkler system quote.
Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
Main Photo by: RawPixel