On average, a sprinkler irrigation system costs $225. However, this price can vary widely. A typical cost range for homeowners is between $90 and $800, but higher-end sprinkler and irrigation systems can cost $1,320 to $5,650.
Cost to install a sprinkler system:
National average cost
Average cost range
$90 – $800
High-end cost range
$1,320 – $5,650
Do you have broken sprinkler heads or valves — or an entire system that needs to be replaced? Maybe you are installing an irrigation system for the first time? Whatever your lawn watering needs, you can get a quick and accurate estimate by searching for sprinkler installers in your area on Thumbtack — and then asking pros for quotes.
What’s in this cost guide?
One of the most important factors in your sprinkler or irrigation system's cost is how the professionals set their prices for installation services. Some sprinkler companies may charge a flat rate based on lawn size and materials needed, among other factors. Other professionals may charge by the hour to install an irrigation system.
Irrigation system cost (hourly rates):
Average hourly rate
Low-end hourly rate
High-end hourly rate
Both fixed and hourly rates have their pros and cons. A flat rate is better for budgeting, but it carries the potential for overspending. An hourly installation charge can go above or below the estimate, depending on the circumstances.
If you’re looking to have a lush, green lawn, it’s likely going to need some form of irrigation. An underground (or in-ground) sprinkler system is an excellent option. It costs approximately $2,500 to $3,500 for a quarter-acre lot, or $1,000 to $1,400 for a two-zone system.
An underground sprinkler system is an efficient way to water your lawn. Sprinkler heads sit flush with the soil when they’re inactive — and then rise up to spray water over your flower beds, lawn and other areas in need of irrigation. An underground system can consist of several different zones for different areas of your property, and also allows you to automate your watering schedule.
Automatic lawn irrigation sprinkler systems cost $2,000 to $3,000 and can save you time and energy. You won’t have to remember to turn the hose on or move the sprinklers around. Instead, you can schedule them to turn on at the best time of day for your climate, making watering a breeze. For example, you can set your automatic sprinkler system to water the lawn during the early morning, so the water soaks into the ground before the sun has a chance to evaporate it away.
In addition to the type of sprinkler system you choose, here are some other cost factors to consider:
Your cost to install a sprinkler system will increase with the size of the area that needs watering. However, the price of a sprinkler system per square foot (or per acre) may decrease with larger lawns. This largely depends on the company or contractor doing the installation work.
Lawn shape and slope
Irregularities in your lawn may require more installation time — and more installation time equals more money. If your lawn is irregularly shaped or aggressively sloped, installation costs can increase.
Soil condition and texture
What type of soil do you have? Your soil’s texture and condition can impact the cost to install sprinkler heads and other equipment in your lawn. For example, pulsating sprinklers (which have a slow watering speed) are recommended for clay soils. That’s because clay soils don’t require frequent watering like sandy soils.
Number of zones and sprinkler heads
More zones and sprinkler heads mean more PVC pipe and additional valves — which means more time spent on installation. This will lead to a higher cost.
Installing a sprinkler system in your area could require a permit, which will incur additional costs.
Depending on how easy (or complicated) your project is, the labor cost of your sprinkler system may be affected. Professionals may also set their prices based on the demand they’re experiencing at the time. For the most accurate cost estimate, gather quotes from at least three professionals near you.
Installing a brand new system costs thousands of dollars, but replacing parts (sprinkler heads, valves, pipes etc.) will add up and may be more expensive in the long run — especially if the whole system needs to be replaced anyway.
Ask your sprinkler professional what the best course of action is, and research sprinkler repair costs to find out how much a new valve or sprinkler head may cost you. On average, sprinkler repairs cost $70 to $85.
Sprinkler repair cost:
Broken sprinkler head
Broken broadcast head
$10 – $15, depending on style
$5 for unions, PVC joint and glue
PVC schedule-40 pipe (1-inch pipe)
$1.50 per foot
PVC schedule-40 pipe (¾-inch pipe)
$1 per foot
Broken timer (6-zone timer)
Broken timer (9-zone timer)
*Figures above represent material costs only.
Note that some repairs can total hundreds of dollars, especially if you include parts and labor into the final cost. For example, the average cost to repair PVC piping can total $500, and replacing a valve may cost up to $250.
Related: How to repair your sprinkler system.
Here are some ways homeowners can save money when choosing a sprinkler system:
- Shop around. Different professionals may offer different quotes. Consult several professionals to get a feel for pricing.
- Ask for free estimates. Don’t be afraid to ask for free cost estimates — many professionals are willing to oblige. Remember, you should strive to get at least three quotes from three different professionals.
- Install in the off-season. Spring and summer are peak times for installation. You may be able to get off-season rates if you install in the fall or winter, weather permitting. Talk to pros in your area to figure out the best time of year to install sprinklers or an irrigation system.
Here are some of the reasons why installing a sprinkler system is worth the cost:
- Saved time. Automatic, in-ground or drip installations save you time lugging hoses and sprinklers from place to place.
- Better targeting. Water is targeted toward the spots that need it. This prevents waste and helps plants grow.
- Clean lawn and yard. No more hoses and portable sprinklers cluttering the yard anymore — you’ll have a sleek system that’s hidden from view when it’s inactive.
- More flexibility. Because your lawn care is mostly automated, you have more time to do other things than take care of your lawn.
Start your search for a sprinkler installation professional by reading customer reviews online and paying extra attention to customer-uploaded photos of completed jobs. Contact several different professionals who look promising, and ask them questions. For example, you can ask:
- What is your availability?
- How do you charge (hourly/flat rate)?
- Can I get a free cost estimate?
- Are you licensed to install irrigation systems?
- Do you belong to a professional association?
Let the professional know your yard’s shape and condition, its square footage and any details on your existing system.
Your state may require a license to install irrigation systems, according to the Irrigation Association. Check to see if you live in one of them, and be sure that the professional you choose is complying with local regulations.
For more tips, read our guide on How to Hire a Contractor.
Imagine green grass, vibrant flowers and rich soil — all without ever having to reel out your hose. Put your landscaping in good hands by hiring a top-rated professional. Turn to Thumbtack to get free estimates from sprinkler companies near you. Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for a pro:
- Read their reviews and ratings. Narrow your search by only contacting pros who have mostly positive reviews and ratings (consider the pros who have 4 or 5 stars).
- Give the pros details about your lawn. Remember those cost factors we mentioned? Make sure you give the pros as much information as you can about your lawn’s size and terrain, as well as your soil’s texture. And be prepared for the pro to request to see your lawn in person so they can give you an accurate quote.
- Ask plenty of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable moving forward with a pro. For example, you can ask how the pro sets their prices, what their experience is, their license and credentials — or even how long the project will take them to complete.
- Get at least three quotes. This is a good rule you should apply to every home project. Contact three of the best pros you stumble upon, and ask for estimates. That way, you can ensure you’re paying a fair and competitive price for your sprinkler installation project.
Have more burning questions about irrigation system costs? Read the answers to these FAQs.
Is an irrigation system worth it?
For many homeowners, an irrigation system is worth the cost and effort to have installed. Here are the top benefits of investing in a lawn sprinkler or irrigation system:
- They help you lower your water bills. Sprinklers and irrigation systems can help you control how much water you’re using for your lawn, plants, flowers and garden. Sprinkler systems have smart controllers and timers you can use to conserve water, and drip irrigation systems are great at watering individual plants to avoid runoff and wasting water.
- You can recoup most of the cost when it comes time to sell. A 2018 study by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the National Association of Realtors found that you can expect to recoup 86% of the cost to have an irrigation system installed.
- You’ll boost your curb appeal. Let’s be honest — a garden hose thrown across your grass is not pleasing to the eye. A sprinkler system takes care of that problem, giving your front yard a cleaner look.
- It promotes healthy lawns. Perhaps most importantly, an irrigation or sprinkler system will help ensure your lawn is properly hydrated throughout the year.
How much value does an irrigation system add to your home?
Installing a sprinkler system in your home may improve your home’s value. It depends on what buyers in your market value most in a home. However, it seems that a smart sprinkler system may help you sell your home faster. According to a Zillow report, homes that have “energy-efficient features such as double-pane windows, programmable thermostats and smart sprinkler systems can sell between 5 and 7 days faster than expected.”
How long do irrigation systems last?
Sprinkler heads tend to last about 10 to 14 years. However, some irrigation systems can last for up to 20 years. It depends on the quality — and whether or not you take good care of your system and stay on top of repairs.
Can you install a sprinkler system yourself?
Yes, you can install a sprinkler system yourself if you have the right tools and skills. However, it’s not an easy DIY project and is often best left to the pros.
How do I know if my sprinkler line is leaking?
Here are some tell-tale signs of a leak:
- A drop in water pressure
- Mold or fungus growth
- A spike in your water bill
- Holes or bubbling in the yard
- Signs of animals burrowing
If you suspect your sprinkler is broken, contact repair professionals near you.
How often should lawn sprinkler heads be replaced?
Lawn sprinkler heads should last around 10 to 14 years — and you should replace them whenever they break.
How much does a fire sprinkler system cost?
Installing a fire sprinkler system in a home costs $1.35 per square foot, according to the National Fire Sprinkler Association. If you want to install these types of sprinklers, contact fire sprinkler professionals near you and ask for free cost estimates.
- Popular Mechanics
- This Old House
- The Spruce
- United States Department of Agriculture