The cost of a sprinkler system depends on numerous variables such as size of yard, number of valves, length of piping, whether or not you need drip systems for gardens, quality of materials used, and cost of labor for professional installation.
The national average cost for a professional sprinkler system installation is just under $2,600 with a typical range of cost between $400 and $5,000. That range narrows to about $1,700-$3,400 if we normalize for a quarter-acre lawn. The cost of raw materials for a DIY sprinkler system assuming a quarter-acre lawn ranges between $280 and $450, depending on the quality of materials used.
It is no secret going the do-it-yourself route saves money on a sprinkler system installation, but did you know it could save you that much? The remainder of this article will break down exactly how much money and where can be saved by installing your own sprinkler system and will go over pertinent questions and answers. Visit out sister article for a step-by-step guide on how to install a sprinkler system yourself!
DIY Sprinkler System Cost Breakdown
Although it might seem daunting at first, do-it-yourself sprinkler installation is a gratifying, humbling and cost-effective project that any weekend warrior can accomplish in just two weekends. Typical materials needed and associated costs are as follows:
|Required Material (Quantity)||Cost|
|Sprinkler Valves (3-5)||$45-$125|
|Sprinkler Heads (15-20)||$135-$180|
|PVC Pipe (100-200 feet)||$25-$50|
|Timing Control Box||$42-$60|
|Control Wire Bundle (50-100′)||$26-$32|
As you can see, even taking worst case scenario into account, the cost of installing your own sprinkler system is far lower than most people would have originally thought.
There are a number of issues that could arise when installing you own sprinkler system including broken or cracked PVC pipes, lacking knowledge of connecting to the main water line of your house, broken sprinkler heads or risers, or hidden existing water lines or gas lines in your yard.
To avoid the hassle of having to dig up a line with a leak after installation is complete, I suggest turning on the system to check for leaks or cracked lines prior to filling in the trenches. This will allow you to see if there is anything wrong with the system prior to covering it up.
If you simply don’t know how to connect your sprinkler system to the main water line, a licensed plumber can be hired for a fraction of the cost of hiring a landscaper to do the entire project. Search online for the best price and get a plumber to add a line or connect to an existing spigot to supply your sprinkler system with water.
Broken sprinkler heads or risers are an easy fix. Simply unscrew the sprinkler head and riser from the connector and replace with a new one!
To avoid digging into utility lines hidden underground, call the national call-before-you-dig hotline by dialing 811. Local utility representatives will be able to tell you if there are existing utility lines in your yard prior to you breaking ground.
If there is an existing sprinkler or irrigation system in your yard, simply cut and cap the areas to be removed so you can dig up the old lines or leave them in place and not have to worry about leaking pipes.
Professional Sprinkler System Installation Cost Breakdown
The national average cost of a sprinkler system installation of just under $2,600 means the average cost of labor is anywhere from $2,100 to $2,300, a steep price to pay for an average of two days of work. The pros of hiring a professional include:
- No trips to the hardware store
- No hours spent in the sun digging trenches
- Quick turnaround
- Peace of mind that the job is done by a licensed professional
- Opportunity to negotiate free maintenance visits
If you decide to let a professional handle your sprinkler system installation, knowing the true cost of the job will allow you to have the negotiating ammunition to make sure the project is done at a fair price. Always remember that you don’t have to hire the first person or company you speak with. Call around and do your homework on the available labor in your area to find the best mix of price and reliability for you job.
Related Questions and Answers
How much time do I save by hiring a professional?
The time required to install your own sprinkler system varies depending on your unique situation. DIY sprinkler installations can typically be completed in two weekends, assuming one person working eight hours a day for four days. A professional crew of experienced landscapers can typically install a sprinkler system in one to two days.
Where can I learn to install a sprinkler system?
Visit our sister article on how to install a sprinkler system or head to YouTube to watch a video or two to give you the confidence you need to install your own sprinkler system!
How can I save time on a sprinkler system installation?
The most time consuming and labor intensive aspect of installing a sprinkler system is digging the trenches where your sprinkler lines will rest. If pinching all the pennies you can, a simple pick axe will get the job done, but a full day of labor can be saved by renting a motorized trenching tool from your local hardware store. Typical costs for trencher rentals range from $140-$180 for a daily rental.
Something as simple as an additional set of hands can help cut down the time required by a day or two. Ask a friend for help in return for a future favor and get the job done in a single weekend!
Where can I go to shop for the best price on labor?
Online truth-in-business agencies like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Thumbtack or Yelp are often free-to-use services that help pair prospective clients with retailers. You can search professionals by job type and price range to see the best businesses in your area. If simply looking for cheap labor, online community forums like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace allow users to search for varying job opportunities or available labor in your area.
How do I avoid hidden fees or charges from professionals?
You are now armed with the required knowledge to speak intelligently on the subject of sprinkler system installation which is a deterrent of price gouging. You also have the information about where to go to shop for the right price should you choose to hire a professional. I suggest asking a professional where they buy their materials from and if they will provide you with an itemized list of the materials required in addition to labor costs prior to the start of work.
The average money saved by installing your own sprinkler system compared to hiring a professional is just under $2,300! If that kind of money is inconsequential to you, or if installing your own sprinkler system is simply not feasible, hiring a professional is probably your best bet, but not many people realize just how cost-effective installing a sprinkler system yourself can be. With the right know-how and motivation, you too can save money and enjoy a new lawn for years to come!
Ultimately, the decision to install a sprinkler system by yourself or to hire a professional to do the work is a personal one. Weigh the pros and cons of each method and come to a decision that is best for you and your family. Regardless of whether or not you choose to tackle this project on your own, at least now you have a sound understanding of the required materials, the required labor, how much that labor is going to cost by hiring a professional landscaper, and how to avoid paying too much for their services.