Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to install a sprinkler system?

$1,800 – $5,200 average total cost to install
$500 – $1,000 cost per zone

A new sprinkler system costs $1,800 to $5,200 to install on average. An in-ground sprinkler system costs $500 to $1,000 per zone, and most homes need 3 to 5 zones. Lawn irrigation systems cost $6,000 to $10,000 per acre to install. A DIY sprinkler system costs $500 to $1,500 for a 1/4-acre yard.

Get free estimates from sprinkler installation companies near you, or view our cost calculator below.

June 22, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 5 expert sprinkler installation companies on HomeGuide.

Sprinkler system cost

The average cost to install a sprinkler system is $1,800 to $5,200. New in-ground sprinkler systems cost $500 to $1,000 per zone. Lawn irrigation systems cost $6,000 to $10,000 per acre to install. A DIY home sprinkler system costs $500 to $1,500 per ¼-acre yard or $130 to $260 for small irrigation kits.

Average cost to install a sprinkler system - chart
Average cost to install a sprinkler system - chart

Sprinkler system cost
Lawn size Total cost to install
1/8 acre $1,500 – $3,500
1/4 acre $2,000 – $4,500
1/3 acre $3,000 – $6,000
1/2 acre $3,500 – $6,500
1 acre $6,000 – $10,000
Number of zones
1 zone $500 – $1,000
2 zones $1,000 – $2,000
3 zones $1,500 – $2,700
4 zones $2,000 – $3,600
5 zones $2,500 – $4,500
6 zones $3,000 – $4,800
7 zones $3,500 – $5,600

Lawn sprinkler system cost estimator

The following table shows the average cost to install a sprinkler system.

Average cost of sprinkler system
National average cost $3,100
Minimum cost $400
Maximum cost $10,000
Average range $1,800 to $5,200

*Based on 742 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Sprinkler system cost calculator

Enter the yard's square footage to calculate the average sprinkler system cost with installation:

Sprinkler system cost calculator
Square footage
Width of the area in feet
Height in feet

Home irrigation system installation in backyard lawn
Home irrigation system installation in backyard lawn

Average cost to install a sprinkler system

Sprinkler installation costs depend on the system type, lawn size, number of zones, soil type, landscaping design, lawn obstructions, and yard slope.

Average cost to install a sprinkler system
Metric Average cost
Per square foot $0.20 – $2
Per zone $500 – $1,000
Per acre $6,000 – $10,000

Sprinkler system cost per acre

Lawn irrigation systems cost $6,000 to $10,000 per acre installed, depending on the type, number of zones, landscape design, and yard slope. Professionally installed sprinkler systems cost $2,000 to $4,500 per quarter-acre lot, the average yard size in the U.S.

Sprinkler system cost per acre - chart
Sprinkler system cost per acre - chart

Lawn sprinkler system cost per acre
Acres Average cost
1/8 $1,500 – $3,500
1/4 $2,000 – $4,500
1/3 $3,000 – $6,000
1/2 $3,500 – $6,500
1 $6,000 – $10,000
2 $11,000 – $18,000
3 $16,000 – $27,000
5 $25,000 – $45,000

New sprinkler system installation on 1-acre lot
New sprinkler system installation on 1-acre lot

Sprinkler system cost per zone

Sprinkler systems cost $500 to $1,000 per zone with installation. The average yard requires at least 3 to 5 zones. Irrigation zones are areas of the yard with different watering needs based on sun exposure and whether they feature turf, shrubs, or flower beds.

Sprinkler system cost per zone - chart
Sprinkler system cost per zone - chart

Sprinkler system cost per zone
Number of zones Average cost
1 $500 – $1,000
2 $1,000 – $2,000
3 $1,500 – $2,700
4 $2,000 – $3,600
5 $2,500 – $4,500
6 $3,000 – $4,800
7 $3,500 – $5,600
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Follow these tips when creating zones:

  • Separate sunny and shady areas into different zones.
  • Don't mix turf and flower beds in a single zone. They have different watering requirements.
  • Use pop-up sprinkler heads for turf zones and smaller spray heads or bubblers for flower zones.
  • Never put different sprinkler head types in the same irrigation zone. They have different flow rates and water application rates.
A single zone may support 1 to 9 sprinkler heads, depending on the water pressure, flow rate, and type of heads.

Home irrigation system cost per square foot

Home sprinkler systems cost $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot or $2,000 to $4,000 for an average 10,000 square foot lawn. Prices per square foot decrease as the yard size increases. Yards with multiple zones or complex installations are priced at the higher end of the range.

Irrigation system cost per square foot - chart
Irrigation system cost per square foot - chart

Irrigation system cost calculator per square foot
Square feet Average cost
1,000 $500 – $2,000
2,500 $1,500 – $2,500
5,000 $1,900 – $3,500
10,000 $2,000 – $4,000
20,000 $3,500 – $6,500
45,000 $6,000 – $10,000

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Irrigation system costs by type

A lawn irrigation system costs $500 to $10,000 per acre, depending on the type. An in-ground irrigation system for a 1/4-acre yard costs $2,000 to $4,500 on average.

Irrigation system cost per acre by type - chart
Irrigation system cost per acre by type - chart

Irrigation system costs by type
Type Average cost per acre
In-ground / underground $6,000 – $10,000
Drip irrigation $500 – $3,000
Commercial / farm $1,000 – $7,000

*Price includes materials and professional installation.

  • In-ground sprinkler systems are the most common and feature sprinkler heads connected to underground pipes.
  • Drip irrigation distributes water directly to plants through tubing on the surface.
  • Above-ground irrigation uses sprinklers connected to hoses on the surface and is typically a DIY project.

In-ground & underground sprinkler system cost

In-ground sprinkler systems cost $2,000 to $4,500 for the average 1/4-acre yard or $6,000 to $10,000 per acre. Underground sprinkler systems feature strategically placed sprinkler heads, zones, and a controller or timer to ensure each area of the yard receives the right amount of watering.

Automatic sprinkler system popping up and watering plants
Automatic in-ground sprinkler system popping up and watering plants

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Automatic sprinkler system cost

Automatic sprinkler systems cost $2,000 to $4,900 with installation for a 1/4 acre yard. Automatic systems feature a programmable controller that ensures each zone is watered for a precise length of time and at the ideal time of day:

  • Standard controllers or timers cost $30 to $100.
  • Smart or wifi-enabled controllers cost $60 to $300 and tap into local weather data and rain sensors to avoid watering on rainy days.

Commercial vs. residential irrigation system prices

Commercial irrigation systems cost $1,000 to $7,000 per acre to install and typically include a combination of furrow, drip, and pivot irrigation. Commercial irrigation systems cost less per acre than residential irrigation systems because the price per acre drops for large-acreage projects.

Drip irrigation system

A drip irrigation system costs $300 to $1,200 per zone or $500 to $4,000 per acre. Drip irrigation is a system of flexible tubing or drip lines that carries water directly to the plant base via drippers, conserving water and reducing weed growth and disease.

Drip irrigation system cost - chart
Drip irrigation system cost - chart

Landscaper installing drip irrigation system in residential planter bed
Landscaper installing drip irrigation system in residential planter bed

Above-ground irrigation system cost

Above-ground sprinklers cost $10 to $40 each on average and cover up to 4,500 square feet. Above-ground sprinklers connect to a standard hose on the surface of the lawn and may be moved to different areas as needed.

Above-ground irrigation system cost
Sprinkler type Average cost Description
Oscillating $8 – $40 A wide tube shoots a fan of water with an adjustable width and arc.
Spot/stationary $4 – $12 Shoots water in a round or square pattern. Only suited for small lawns.
Impulse/impact $6 – $40 Shoots a horizontal spray that rotates around the center in an adjustable arc.
Spike $6 – $25 Pushes into the ground using a spike. Available in a variety of nozzles.
Rotating/whirling $6 – $25 Shoots a horizontal spray that rotates around the center but has less reach than an impact sprinkler.
Tripod $30 – $70 A height-adjustable, elevated sprinkler on a tripod base.
Traveling $50 – $70 Rolls across the lawn, following the path of a hose while spraying from two rotating arms.
Raised/telescoping $20 – $30 Pushes into the ground using a spike and extends up to 40" high to water tall shrubs and plantings.
Misting $2 – $12 Releases a light mist to water delicate plants and flowers without damage.

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Cost factors to install a new irrigation system

Sprinkler system costs depend on the property's size and shape, type of system, number of zones, soil conditions, and more.

  • Lawn size and shape – Larger or irregular-shaped properties require more materials and increase labor costs.
  • Number of zones – Each additional zone adds complexity and requires more labor and materials.
  • Landscaping design – Multiple design features with different watering needs increase the cost.
  • Yard slope – Sloping ground takes longer to trench and requires more water flow and pressure to prevent flooding and pooling.
  • Soil condition and obstructions – Rocky soil and tree roots are more difficult to trench.
  • Quality of parts – Professional-grade sprinkler heads cost more than sprinkler heads from home improvement stores.
  • Automation – Smart and wifi-enabled controllers add $60 to $300 to the system's cost but reduce long-term water and energy costs.
  • Water pressure and source – Homes with smaller diameter water supply lines and lower water pressure require more zones and may require low-pressure sprinkler heads.
  • Location – Irrigation systems cost 10% more in regions that experience sustained freezing temperatures.
  • Water main connection – Sprinkler companies may be required to hire a licensed plumber to connect the sprinkler system to the water main.

Sprinkler system permit

Sprinkler system permits cost $35 to $200. Most cities require irrigation permits during new construction or when the project exceeds certain square footage. Check local regulations to confirm the current requirements.

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Cost to add a sprinkler zone

The cost to add a zone to an existing sprinkler system is $300 to $700, depending on the zone type, sprinkler head type, and site conditions. Adding a sprinkler zone requires installing a new valve and may require upgrading the controller.

Cost to replace irrigation system

Landscapers charge $50 to $100 per hour to remove an old sprinkler system, plus $1,800 to $5,200 on average to replace it with a new system. Consider replacing the system if the landscape has changed significantly.

Sprinkler repair services can typically fix leaks, broken pipes and heads, and faulty components before replacing the entire system.

Cost of irrigation accessories

Irrigation accessories like smart controllers, rain or soil sensors, and irrigation filters improve a sprinkler system's performance and efficiency.

Cost of irrigation accessories
Accessory Average cost Description
Controller (standard) $30 – $100 Automates the watering of individual zones.
Controller (smart/wifi-enabled) $60 – $300 Uses data from rain sensors and local weather to improve watering efficiency and reduce energy costs.
Rain sensor $20 – $90 Detects rainfall and signals the controller to skip the next watering cycle.
Soil moisture sensor $90 – $140 Detects moisture in the ground and signals the controller to delay the next watering cycle when plants don't need water.
Irrigation filter $35 – $80 Keeps sprinklers and tubing free of contaminants that decrease efficiency and reduce performance.
Rain barrel & diverter $100 – $240 Redirects water from rain gutters into a barrel for use on lawns, plants, and gardens.

Cost to install a sprinkler system and sod

Installing a sprinkler system and sod costs $5,000 to $15,000 for an average lawn. New sod installation costs $1 to $2 per square foot on its own. To avoid lawn repairs, the best time to install an in-ground sprinkler system is before laying new sod.

Lawn and landscaping repair

Installing a sprinkler system in an existing lawn or planter bed requires repairing lawn damage. Hire lawn care or landscaping services to help with:

  • Grass seeding costs $0.10 to $0.25 per square foot and can repair minor lawn damage.
  • Sod prices are $0.30 to $0.80 per square foot for materials or $0.90 to $1.80 per square foot with installation, and repairs areas damaged by trenching or pipe-pulling.
  • Landscaping costs $50 to $100 per hour or $4 to $12 per square foot to repair damaged planter beds.

Sprinkler system planning

Professional sprinkler installers provide detailed maps showing irrigation zones, sprinkler head types and locations, water pressure and flow rates, underground water supply lines, valves, and controllers.

Keep these steps in mind when planning a new sprinkler installation:

  • Make a map – Indicate the house location, turf, planter beds, trees, driveways, walkways, sheds, swimming pools, and other structures. A land survey costs $380 to $540 and may be required before installation.
  • Label zones – Separate the yard into zones based on areas with different watering needs and sun exposure. Avoid putting lawn and flower bed areas in the same zone.
  • Choose sprinkler heads – Select sprinkler heads with the optimal spray pattern and intensity for each zone. Avoid placing different sprinkler head types in the same zone.
  • Locate underground pipes and buried utility lines – Contact local utility companies to mark buried lines before digging.
  • Measure water pressure and flow rate – Use a pressure gauge on an outdoor faucet to find the water pressure (PSI). Use a 5-gallon bucket and a timer to find the flow rate in gallons per minute (GPM). Make sure no water is running inside the home during each test.
  • Select a location for the controller and sensors – Choose the best location for a rain sensor, soil moisture sensor, indoor or outdoor controller, and the water shutoff valve.
Sprinkler manufacturers like Rain Bird and Orbit provide free design tools and services to plan an irrigation system.

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DIY yard sprinkler system cost

DIY sprinkler systems cost $500 to $1,500 for materials, permits, and digging equipment rental to install an in-ground system. Smaller DIY sprinkler kits from Rain Bird and Orbit cost $130 to $260 and cover 1,000 to 3,000 square feet.

DIY sprinkler system cost - chart
DIY sprinkler system cost - chart

DIY sprinkler system cost
Type Coverage (square feet) Average cost
6-head sprinkler kit 1,000 – 3,000 $130 – $260
Custom build* More than 3,000 $500 – $1,500

*Custom build includes materials, permits, and digging equipment rental.

  • DIY sprinkler system installation is a time-consuming and labor-intensive project.
  • Improper design may result in wasted water or system failure.
  • Professionally installed systems come with warranties.
  • Some states only allow licensed installers to connect the system to the city's water supply.
Before installing DIY, consult with a sprinkler professional. View Pros

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Is it worth installing a sprinkler system?

Installing a sprinkler system is worth it for homeowners seeking convenience and the curb appeal and higher resale value a healthy lawn provides. High upfront costs may outweigh the benefits for homeowners with small yards.

Residential sprinkler system pros and cons

Sprinkler systems provide convenience, maintain curb appeal, and improve resale value by 7% to 15%, but have a high upfront cost and require annual maintenance.

Sprinkler system pros and cons
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Convenience
  • Consistent lawn hydration
  • Healthy and well-maintained plants
  • Increases property value by 7% to 15%
  • Reduces water bills and water usage compared to manual watering
  • Improves safety by removing hose trip hazards
  • High upfront cost
  • Lawn damage during installation
  • Requires annual maintenance
  • Complex repairs

How does a sprinkler system work?

A lawn sprinkler system works by sending a specified amount of water through underground PVC pipes to sprinkler heads in planned zones throughout the yard. An electronic controller signals the valves in each zone to open when scheduled, releasing water into the pipes and forcing sprinkler heads to pop above ground.

Does a sprinkler system add value to a home?

A well-maintained lawn with an in-ground sprinkler system increases a home's property value by 7% to 15% on average. An automated sprinkler system maintains curb appeal and conveys convenience to potential home buyers.

When is the best time to install a sprinkler system?

The best time to install a sprinkler system is in early spring or late fall when the ground is not frozen. Most sprinkler companies book installations several weeks in advance to ensure enough time for planning, design, and permit approval.

How long does it take to install a sprinkler system?

Installing a sprinkler system takes 1 to 3 days on average, depending on the yard size and number of zones.

How much to maintain a sprinkler system?

Maintaining a sprinkler system costs $50 to $150 per year to winterize, which prevents freeze damage and cracked pipes. Spring start-up service costs $75 to $160 per year, depending on the number of zones. Additional sprinkler maintenance may include:

How much does a Rain Bird sprinkler system cost?

Rain Bird sprinkler systems cost $2,000 to $5,000 with professional installation, including a rain sensor and automated controller. A DIY Rain Bird sprinkler system kit costs $130 to $260 and supports up to six sprinkler heads.

How much does a fire-safety sprinkler system cost for a house?

Installing a fire-safety sprinkler system in a house costs $1 to $2 per square foot for new construction or $2 to $7 per square foot to retrofit an existing home. According to the National Fire Sprinkler Association, fire sprinklers control fires 96% of the time, preventing injury, death, and property damage.

Homes with fire sprinkler systems may be eligible for a homeowners insurance discount.

How much water does a sprinkler system use?

Sprinkler systems use 623 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet each time the lawn is watered.

Still have questions? Ask a sprinkler company. View Pros

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Getting sprinkler system installation quotes

Before hiring a sprinkler installer, be sure to:

  • Get at least three in-person quotes to compare.
  • Select companies with experience installing and maintaining sprinkler systems.
  • Look for installers certified by the Irrigation Association.
  • Look at their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Choose a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured.
  • Request a sprinkler system design plan detailing the water pressure, zones, type and placement of sprinkler heads, and head-to-head water coverage.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Avoid companies with the cheapest quotes as quality may suffer.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.

Questions to ask

  • Do you have any professional certifications or training in water efficiency or sustainable landscaping?
  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • What type of sprinkler system do you recommend to minimize water waste in my yard?
  • Would my landscape benefit from a smart irrigation controller?
  • Which sprinkler system brands do you recommend, and why?
  • Will you dig trenches or use a pipe puller instead?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Are permits required? Will you pull them?
  • What additional costs can I expect that aren't in the estimate?
  • How long is the warranty, and what does it cover?
  • What type of maintenance will my sprinkler system require?
  • How much do you charge for a sprinkler system maintenance plan, and what does it include?
  • Will I need to drain or blowout the system before winter to prevent freeze damage?
  • How should I adjust the system seasonally to accommodate my yard's changing water needs?
  • Will my system need an annual backflow test to comply with local regulations?

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