How Much Does A Sprinkler System Cost?

Sprinkler systems save you tons of time and money. Instead of dragging a hose and sprinkler to certain areas of the lawn (and maybe accidentally leaving it on for hours), the sprinkler system has you covered. It simplifies the process of maintaining a lush, thick, grassy lawn for picture-perfect curb appeal.

However, like most things in life, sprinkler systems aren’t free. So, how much do they cost? Can you save money by doing it yourself? If you’re asking yourself these same questions, continue reading to learn more.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Sprinkler System?

The national average for sprinkler system installation sits at about $2,538. On the low end, homeowners might pay $1,714. For larger or more expensive installations, homeowners might pay as much as $3,520 or more. 

These costs are based on professional installations, not DIY projects (although you can DIY this installation). Additionally, these costs are for a ¼ acre lot, which is a standard residential lawn size. 

Generally, the cost to install a new sprinkler system ranges from $0.20 to $1.00 per square foot of lawn. If you have an old system installed, you’ll have extra expenses associated with the removal. The additional cost ranges based on the company, but you could end up paying an extra $50 to $100 per hour for the labor to remove the system. 

What Factors Impact The Cost Of A Sprinkler System?

Sprinkler System

Although the average cost of sprinkler installations is roughly $1,700, this is based on a specific scenario. Sometimes, homeowners can pay as little as $400 for their sprinkler installation. Or, on the extremely high end, the system installation might cost $5,000. 

The fluctuation is due to the variation from one situation to the next. Professional installers often look at the yard before giving you a quote, and this is because their quote may change based on things like steep slopes, rocky terrain, or other factors that can lead to a tricky installation. 


If you have your heart set on installing an in-ground, out-of-the-way sprinkler system, you (or your installer) will have to dig trenches. The cost to complete this part of the project depends on how you go about it. 

For example, if you dig the trenches using a shovel and you already have a fully-functioning shovel, you won’t have to pay extra. Or, if you rent a trenching machine (which is what professional installers usually use), you’ll have to tack on renting costs. 

If you have a professional handle the installation, they’ll probably use a trenching machine. Usually, the cost of the machine they use is factored into their quote. So, you won’t need to worry about adding extra expenses associated with the machine. 

Types Of Systems

Sprinkler systems come in a few different varieties, which further affects your price. For example, a standard in-ground sprinkler usually costs anywhere from $1,740 to $3,400 per acre, whereas an above-ground system usually runs between $1,800 and $2,000 per acre. 

If you want to add an automatic smart controller, it could cost anywhere from $10 to $325. Or, if you install a drip irrigation system, you might pay anywhere from $1,800 to $2,500 per acre.  


As you’d probably guess, the bigger the lawn, the more expensive the system will be. The national average we mentioned earlier is based on a standard ¼-acre yard. Now, if you have a bigger yard, you can expect to pay more.  

For example, if your home sits on a full-acre plot, it could cost $10,280 for a sprinkler system installation, which is the average for a property of this size. 


Some communities require homeowners to obtain a permit before installing a new sprinkler system. Not all communities require this, but you’ll have to pay more if they do. Usually, the sprinkler company passes the cost on to the customer. 

Sometimes, system inspections are required. If this is the case, a city inspector will have to come out and look at how the installed connected the piping and valves. They’ll either note what changes need to be made or give approval. This inspection doesn’t usually add extra costs, as it’s usually part of the permit cost. 

If you’re unsure if your area requires these permits, call your local building authority. They can tell you if you need a permit and how much it’ll cost. They can cost as much as $200, but prices vary. Permits might not be necessary for above-ground sprinkler systems. 


Underground Sprinkler System

Labor costs fluctuate from one community to the next, so there’s quite a bit of variation here. Most sprinkler system installers charge the same rate for their services, regardless of if they’re installing or removing a system. 

Usually, the labor cost per hour is between $50 and $100 per hour, but even this is subject to change. For example, if the employer offers benefits to workers, like health insurance or a retirement savings account, you might end up paying more. 

Additional Costs

Aside from the significant factors that can impact the cost of your new sprinkler system, there are a few potential additional expenses. These extra costs may include:

  • Landscaping designs: Sometimes, sprinkler systems are part of a larger landscaping project which translates to extra expenses. If it’s not part of a larger installation, factors like shrubs and bushes may require higher sprinkler heads, which are pricier. 
  • Parts for the system: Like most products, the higher quality parts are more expensive. If you opt for high-quality components, expect to pay more. Or, if you want a higher-end system, like one with a rain sensor, you’ll end up paying more. 
  • Soil type: If the soil in your yard is hard to work with (dense layers of soil or rocky soil), the company will have to spend more time trenching for the system. This translates to higher installation costs. 
  • Watering zones: In many cases, there’s not enough water pressure to water the entire lawn at once. So, the installer may have to incorporate watering zones. The more zones you need, the higher the cost. 
  • Lawn repair: You might have to repair parts of your lawn, but it depends on what type of equipment the company uses to install the system. You might have to have new sod laid, or the area overseeded. 

How Hard Is It To Install A Sprinkler System?

Installing a sprinkler system is on the complex end of the DIY spectrum. Even experienced DIYers may outsource parts of the project to licensed plumbers or electricians. The project requires digging a trench at least 8 to 12 inches deep for the pipeline, then connecting the system to your water service line. 

Can I Install A Sprinkler System Myself?

Rain Bird 32ETI Easy to Install In-Ground Automatic Sprinkler System Kit

Yes, you can install a sprinkler system yourself. You can even build your own sprinkler system if you don’t want to buy one. In some cases, you might be able to create one for less than  $1,500, but it depends on the size of the system. 

While you can install a sprinkler system yourself, the project can be complicated. If you’re not an experienced DIYer, you might want to pass this project off to the pros.