Not all of us are born with a green thumb. In fact, many would readily admit that they are good at killing plants, not keeping them alive.
Caring for plants has varying degrees of difficulty. Some thrive best when left alone and with minimal watering, while others require the kind of TLC that would rival what a mother gives to her baby.
If you don’t see your neighbors watering their lawns every day using a garden hose, yet you wonder why they have such lush, green lawns, the secret to that is a lawn sprinkler system.
On this page:
- Benefits of Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System
- Types of Lawn Sprinkler Systems
- Services Offered by Sprinkler Companies
- How Many Sprinkler Heads Do You Need Per Zone?
- How Much Does a Sprinkler System Cost?
- Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
Are you now considering saying goodbye to your daily watering schedule in favor of a sprinkler system that will do it for you? Then, you should keep reading.
Not only will we talk about the different types available and why you should get one, we will also give you a heads up on why its installation should only be done by sprinkler companies, plus other services they offer that you may need in the future.
And if you are wondering how much it is going to cost you and where you could find a lawn sprinkler and irrigation system installation contractor near your to do it, we also have you covered.
Benefits of Installing a Lawn Sprinkler System
Some homeowners think that getting a sprinkler system installed is a luxury they can ignore. Why get one installed when you can always use a good old-fashioned garden hose that can do the same job?
Lawn sprinkler systems, although admittedly pricey, provide so many benefits; It is not just about making sure that your lawn gets watered every day.
If you get one installed, here are some of the things you will get to enjoy:
- Convenience, since you no longer have to wake up at the break of dawn to water your lawn before heading to work, or rush home after work to do so, and make sure to water every inch of your lawn. No more dragging around the hose all over your property.
- Sprinklers use less water, making it a more environment-friendly option. Some advanced systems can even detect the water level and automatically adjust how much water it releases.
- Since it uses less water, you also get to save on your water bills.
- We all know that oxygen is vital, but what you may not realize is that lawns also produce oxygen. And if you have a lawn that gets enough water, the oxygen it produces is enough to support four people.
- The roots of grass may be threadlike, but their volume and root systems are enough to stop soil erosion and runoff from occurring in any lawn.
- And because runoff is eliminated, nutrients that your lawn needs will remain on your lawn, not washed away.
- If you have plans to eventually sell your home, having a well-maintained lawn can increase the value of your property by as much as 15%.
- While it may not provide you with shade, it does a good job at cooling down the surroundings and trapping allergens in the air.
- Automatic sprinkler systems come with sensors that let it activate only when needed, which lets you avoid overwatering.
- Sprinkler systems will make sure that your lawn is watered efficiently, which results in a greener lawn and healthy-looking plants.
- Since your sprinkler system will only water the sections of your lawn that needs watering, weed growth is minimized and leaf diseases like blight are even prevented.
Unless you prefer spending some time everyday lugging around your garden hose to water your lawn, use up more water than necessary, and get exorbitant water bills, sprinkler systems are clearly a practical choice.
Types of Lawn Sprinkler Systems
A common misconception that homeowners make is thinking that there is only one kind of lawn sprinkler system, which is the one that sprays water from the ground. While this is the type most widely used in homes, there are also other types available that may be more suitable for your needs.
Traditional Automatic Spray System
The type everyone is familiar with, this sprinkler system is commonly installed on the ground and comes with a pop-up head that sprays water in its immediate vicinity. Some systems use fixed heads or exterior pipes that are extended, instead of the pop-up type.
You can also adjust the direction so that the water will be sprayed either in a quarter of a circle, half circle, or full circle. Its disadvantage is that the spraying of water happens too quickly for the ground to fully absorb it first, which leads to overwatering and runoff. This is why this type must involve careful planning to make sure there is overlap only between the heads, aka head-to-head coverage.
Best suited for: flat grounds, small lawns, flowerbeds, and shrubs
Like the traditional type, this one also sprays water from the ground. Their difference is that a rotor system does so at a slower pace, allowing the ground to absorb the water first to minimizing runoff and overwatering. Because of this, it uses less water and is more efficient at watering than a traditional type.
Nozzles of this system are also adjustable, allowing you to configure the amount of water it uses when it runs and how far it will spray water. Head-to-head coverage is easily doable, and this makes the installation of a rotor system much easier.
Best suited for: large lawns and odd-shaped or uneven lands, but its adjustability makes it usable even for small lawns
Think of a garden hose full of holes – that is what a soaker hose looks like. But instead of rubber, it has a membrane that allows water to ooze or spray out when water is supplied to it. While these can just be placed on the ground, it is more often buried underground to let roots directly absorb the water.
Customizing its operation is done by connecting it to a solid hose and timer; these allow you to set when to water and where to do so.
Best suited for: dense lawns and landscaping that need deep watering that cannot be done by traditional systems
Considered as the best in terms of water efficiency, this type does not spray water like the other systems. Instead, it literally drips water directly to the roots. This slow dripping allows the soil to fully absorb the water and prevents runoff.
Drip systems generally consist of drip tubes that are installed on plant beds, but they also come in different kinds, namely inline emitters or soakers, micro-sprayers, bubblers, and drippers. Although different kinds can be installed in a single system, each distribution line or zone should only use the same kind.
Best for: windy areas and those with no turf and use clay soil
If you plan on getting one installed but have no idea which suits for your needs, it is best to consult a sprinkler contractor. You don’t want to waste money on an unsuitable one that will not meet your needs or end up destroying your lawn.
Services Offered by Sprinkler Companies
While most homeowners get the services of sprinkler companies only for installation, the services they offer are not limited to that. These companies also do various maintenance works and repairs to make sure that these systems will be efficient for the longest time possible.
Here are the most common services they offer:
Sprinkler System Design
Sprinkler system design costs $800 on average, but this also covers other necessities like inspections and permits
To be efficient, the layout of any sprinkler system must be carefully thought out. Whether you get a Rain Bird or a Hunter sprinkler system, or basically any other brand, you may not get to maximize its features or benefits if your system is not well-planned.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot just place the sprinkler heads or hoses anywhere you think is appropriate and call it a job well done. It must be carefully designed for you to get the most out of it without spending too much, not just on its installation but also for its use.
But if these are not enough to convince you, how about the thought of potentially killing your lawn and all the plants you carefully grew because of overwatering? All these can easily happen with a poorly designed sprinkler system.
Your contractor will take all these in mind when designing one for your needs:
- Proper spacing between the sprinkler heads
- Number of zones to be made. These zones are determined by the amount of sunlight, water, plants, type of soil, and area of your lawn that you want your sprinklers to cover
- Flow and water pressure available
- Type of sprinkler system to be used and their individual components
- Size of your turf or yard
Sprinkler installation cost ranges from $1,700 to $3,400 on average
Installing sprinkler systems is intensive work, that is why it can get expensive. The larger the lawn covered by one, the more expensive it can get. Its installation is quick and only takes a day or two for contractors to finish.
If you have a one-acre property that you want a sprinkler system to be installed in, prepare to pay roughly $6,000 to $8,000. Half-acre ones can cost you somewhere between $3,500 to $5,500, and quarter-acre properties will set you back by $2,500 to $3,500.
Basic sprinkler systems that require straightforward installations and will only cover a small lawn or plant bed will cost $2,000 to $4,000.
Average sprinkler systems typically used on suburban properties that cover 6 to 10 zones, use different components, and require an installation of medium difficulty will cost $3,000 to $6,000.
More advanced sprinkler systems that cover a large ground and use top of the line components are more difficult to install, as they normally consist of 8 to 15 zones and likely require digging under slab. This costs $4,000 to $10,000 on average.
Since lawn sprinkler systems are commonly installed underground, expect your contractor to do some digging and trenching. Yes, this will temporarily ruin your landscaping; don’t worry because it can be fixed afterwards. But to avoid this, it is best to get your system installed before hiring a landscaper to design or enhance your lawn.
Depends on the issue, but it normally costs between $130 to $380 to repair your sprinkler system
Sprinklers are not invincible. It is inevitable for them to succumb to wear and tear, regardless what brand or type you use. Even if you have the most expensive Hunter sprinkler system or the best Rain Bird sprinkler heads around, you may still encounter different issues with them, such as:
- A broken sprinkler head
- A sprinkler head that won’t rotate
- Leaks, especially around zone valves and sprinkler heads located far from a valve
- Non-working sprinkler controller
- Clogged sprinkler heads
- Malfunctioning indexing valve that leads to some watering zones being skipped
- Unnatural sounds, such as sudden buzzing noises or chattering sounds after pump installation
- Different zones gushing out water simultaneously
- Backflow preventor is damaged
To give you an idea, here are the parts most often damaged in a system and how much it costs on average to repair them:
- Wiring – every square foot costs $1
- Controller or timer – $10 to $90
- Sprayer heads – $10 to $90
- Pipes – $15 to $500
- Backflow preventer – $25 to $500
- Valves – $100 to $200
While some fixes can be done yourself, such as to replace sprinkler heads, most will require the expertise of professionals. If you want to avoid costly repairs and additional problems with your system, get a professional to do it for you.
Each professional checkup or service call ranges from $50 to $120 for basic sprinkler maintenance
We normally associate water with cleanliness, so we tend to ignore practicing regular upkeep on any water-related aspect of our home. Sprinklers are one of those that are not on a homeowner’s typical list of things that need to undergo regular maintenance.
If you practice it, you are aware that maintenance is the key to preventing any costly repairs in your home. For sprinklers, it involves the following:
- Cleaning and removal of debris on sprinkler heads when needed
- Blowing out or winterization
- Trimming of your turf or landscaping regularly
- Activation or de-winterization during spring
- Readjusting its settings, particularly in terms of time of activation, use, and water usage
- Checking whether all sprinkler heads pop up normally when needed
Since sprinkler systems operate nearly every day, it is good practice to get a sprinkler system contractor to check yours out twice a year at minimum. To save on costs, some contractors offer yearly plans that make each service call cheaper and provide other helpful services.
Winterizing/Blow Out a Sprinkler System
Costs between $50 to $120 on average for those with a maximum of 6 zones for the entire service, or a hourly rate of $45 to $200 to winterize your sprinkler system
If you love seeing the lush greens and colorful blooms of your yard, you probably hate winter when everything looks gray and lifeless. And without any preventive measures, it can cause havoc on your outdoor space and its features, including your sprinkler system.
It is not enough for you to shut off your sprinkler system during winter. All the water that remains inside the pipes must be removed, as the cold temperatures can easily freeze water. If water freezes inside these pipes, it will expand. This expansion will result in cracks or breaks on the pipes, sprinkler heads, and other components of your system. Repairing and replacing them can be very expensive.
This is why winterization or blowing out a sprinkler system is vital before the cold season starts. And if you are curious, here is how the pros normally do it:
- Cut off the water supply to the sprinkler system via the master shutoff valve.
- Open all the valves to drain the water. If the water pressure is too strong, use the hose bib to reduce it.
- Because some water may remain inside the pipes even if there is no more water coming out when manually draining it, blowing out your system is highly recommended. It starts by making sure that the compressor valve is in the closed position before being connected.
- Connect an air compressor to the sprinkler system, specifically one with an 80 to 100 CFM, or cubic foot per minute rating, for a main line that measures a maximum of 2”. Configure it to the appropriate settings for your system, e.g. 80 psi for those that use PVC and just 50 psi for the PB ones.
- Use your sprinkler system’s controller to activate the zone that is furthest away, with the highest elevation, and nearest to the water supply.
- Switch on the compressor valve and gradually increase the pressure released until the sprinkler heads in that particular zone start popping up.
- Allow the air to spray out all the water, but make sure not to do so longer than 2 minutes. If needed, blow out the same zone only after letting it rest and cool down for a few minutes. The gears of sprinklers tend to heat up quickly when blowing out air instead of water, that is why it has to rest when being blown out.
- Once a zone is done, do the same thing with the rest until all zones are blown out. Make sure that the last zone is the one furthest from the water supply. Keep the valve of that zone open until the compressor is shut off.
When blowing out a system, mist will be sprayed out of the sprinkler heads. As soon as only air is being sprayed out, it means there is no water left in that particular zone and it is time to work on the next zone.
Because the use of an air compressor is vital and it is easy to damage the components of your system while winterizing, you should let the pros handle it. You will hardly save through DIY work because if you don’t have an air compressor, the rental fee for one is nearly the same as the cost of hiring a pro to do it.
How Many Sprinkler Heads Do You Need Per Zone?
To be effective, each zone in your sprinkler system needs to have multiple sprinkler heads or rotors. But this begs the question: exactly how many should there be in each zone?
Each turf has a different number of zones, and each zone also has varying measurements. This is why there is no exact number of sprinkler heads to be installed in each zone that will apply to all.
Determining how many sprinkler heads are needed in a zone will ultimately depend on these factors:
- Gallons per minute or GPM of the sprinkler system (water capacity)
- Pounds per square inch or PSI of the sprinkler system (water pressure)
- GPM used by each sprinkler head
The GPM and PSI of your system will rely on the conditions of your property. Fortunately, it is quite easy to find out.
To know the GPM or water capacity:
- Switch off all the taps or faucets in and out your home.
- Place a bucket or container under a faucet.
- Switch on that faucet and note the time it takes to fill up the bucket. Make sure to record the time in seconds for easier computation.
- Divide the number of gallons in that container by the time it took (in seconds). Multiply this number to 60 to get the actual GPM.
To know the PSI or water pressure, aside from inquiring with the water company:
- Make sure that all faucets in your property are switched off.
- Get a pressure gauge or calculator and connect it to the faucet nearest to the water meter.
- Turn on the faucet where the gauge is connected and wait until it shows the PSI.
After you find out the GSM and PSI, find out the GPM of your chosen sprinkler head to know how many you need to install in a zone.
You only need to divide your system’s GPM flow to the GPM of the sprinkler head at the current pressure. If the GPM is 10 and the sprinkler head uses 3 GPM and has 35 PSI, you can install 4 sprinkler heads in every zone.
Manufacturers have charts that can be used as reference for it, since they also indicate the spray radius of the sprinkler head and GPM of flow for varying pressures. Do note that sprinkler heads generally use up more GPM the higher the pressure present.
How Much Does a Sprinkler System Cost?
Between $3,000 to $6,000 for systems covering multiple zones is the usual cost when you’re installing a sprinkler system.
Now a necessity more than a luxury, sprinkler systems are becoming more and more common on various households. If you are planning to get one for your property as well, you need to familiarize yourself first with its components, namely:
- Controller – lets you set when your system will activate and how much water it will use each time. But if it has a built-in sensor, it will automatically adjust the amount of water released based on the moisture on the soil
- Pipes – used to transport water from the sprinkler heads from the water supply
- Valves – blocks or allows water to flow through the interconnected pipes
- Sprinkler head – sprays water to your lawn. Most households use either rotary or rotator nozzles, rotors, or traditional spray heads for their lawn sprinkler system. Choose one that only pops up when it is operating to prevent common accidents, like tripping.
Here is a list of various components necessary in a sprinkler system and their respective prices to guide you:
- Controller – $6 to $500, depends on whether it is manual or automatic
- Pipe – ½-inch to 3-inch pipes range from $0.30 to $1.30 per linear foot
- Riser – $1 to $10
- Valve – $11 to $100 each
- Sprinkler head – $5 to $20, depending on type
- Rain sensor – $15 to $50
While most manufacturers sell ready-to-install sprinkler systems, you can mix and match these parts according to your needs.
Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors
Are you now ready to say goodbye to your trusty garden hose and get a sprinkler system to do all the watering for you?
The first step is to find a reputable lawn sprinkler system contractor near you to do the job.
No idea where to start looking? Let us do it for you and for free!
All you have to do is spare a few minutes to fill out our form and send it back to us. Then, just wait for the contractors themselves to get back to you and get up to four quotes.
And because these contractors know that their rivals are also sending in their respective quotes, expect to get very competitive ones from them. They know that the key to a client’s heart is by offering tempting quotes and value-added services, and that is what they will give you.’
It is possible that none of their offers are up to par with what you expect. Don’t be obligated to accept one of their offers, even if you don’t want to; you are free to turn them all down. We will never require you to hire one of the interested contractors who reply to you once you use our service.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s start working on having a sprinkler system installed on your lawn today!