How Much Does a Lawn Irrigation System Cost?

Are you considering installing a lawn irrigation system, but don’t know how much it will cost? You’re not alone. Maintaining a healthy and lush lawn costs time and money, and many homeowners are interested in irrigating their lawns, but they’re not sure what the associated costs will be.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the average cost of installing a lawn irrigation system, what the benefits and drawbacks are, and give you some tips on how to keep the price down.

How much does a lawn irrigation system cost? Read on to find out!

What is a Lawn Irrigation System?

A lawn irrigation system is a system that you can use to water your lawn. The lawn irrigation system includes a lawn sprinkler, an irrigation controller, and irrigation pipes and valves.

The lawn sprinkler is used to spray water over the lawn and garden. The lawn irrigation controller is used to control the lawn sprinkler. The lawn irrigation pipes are used to carry water to the lawn sprinkler, and the irrigation valves are used to regulate the flow of water through the lawn irrigation pipes.

Why Would You Need One?

Many people believe that lawn irrigation systems are a waste of water, but the reality is that they can actually save you money and help to keep your lawn healthy.

An irrigation system ensures that your lawn receives the right amount of water, and it can be programmed to run at specific times of day to minimize evaporation. This means that your lawn will always have the moisture it needs, and you won’t have to worry about over- or under-watering.

In addition, lawn irrigation systems can help to reduce runoff and protect against soil erosion. They also allow you to target specific areas of your lawn for watering, which can be especially helpful during hot, dry periods. Each zone in your yard, like the grass, garden, vegetables, shrubs, and others, can get the exact amount of water it needs.

Types of Irrigation and Cost

There are five main types of irrigation systems you can purchase for use in your backyard. Here, we’ll go through each one of them and describe what they do and how much they cost.

In-Ground Irrigation Systems

Surface systems, which spray water out of a spray head, are the most popular and traditional irrigation system. They have the disadvantage of not being particularly efficient since they shoot in many different directions. They are more effective when they cover a larger surface area and are planted deliberately on the edge of lawns pointed inward.

This is the most costly type of irrigation system. It will most likely cost you between $3,000 – $5,000 for a 1/2 acre and up to $8,000 for a full acre.


A rotor irrigation system is similar to a regular in-ground system. They cover a large area of your lawn. However, they can rotate as well, meaning they are more efficient and effective, and you have more choices about where to install the rotor heads.

A rotor irrigation system tends to be less expensive than a traditional one, but still is typically around the same price, because the vast majority of the structure is the same.


An automatic irrigation system is just a normal in-ground system that can be programmed to turn on and off automatically. These help to save you water if you are inclined to forget your sprinklers are running, but the extra software needed to make them automatic means they cost more as well.

An automatic irrigation system can cost upwards of $5,000 for 1/2 acre and even up to $10,000 for a whole acre.

Drip Irrigation Systems

With a drip irrigation system, very little quantity of water is used, and only in small areas that require water. This technique, also known as micro sprays, works by forcing water out slowly, allowing the water to seep into the ground. The plants are fed directly from the root, and require less watering as a result.

Less watering in general means the associated costs of this irrigation system are much lower. For a 1/2 acre plot, you can expect to spend between $500 – $800, and potentially less than $1,000 for a full 1 acre.

Furrow Irrigation Systems

A furrow irrigation system is a simple method for producing water channels that are slightly on an incline. Gravity guides the water down the slope, where it spills into the field.

This method uses a lot less water than typically sprinkler heads as well. Therefore, the cost is roughly as inexpensive as a drip system, and could cost around $500 – $800 for 1/2 acre, and $1,000 for 1 acre.

Above-Ground Irrigation System

An above-ground system is one of the most cost-effective means of watering your lawn. This type of system generally includes a garden hose, a water timer, and an above-ground sprinkler.

This is the cheapest type of irrigation system, because it has little-to-no set up, and doesn’t involve any digging or planting hoses or irrigation channels underground. It can cost as little as $50 for a 1/2 acre lawn, depending on the type of sprinkler heads you use.

Commercial Irrigation Systems

This type of irrigation system is usually reserved for large scale commercial projects. It consists of a combination of many of the irrigation systems listed above, like drip, rotor, and furrow irrigation.

Although commercial irrigations cost lest per acre than residential ones, because the price per acre drops when you have a much larger scale project, they still cost anywhere from $1,000 – $7,000 per acre.

Sprinkler Head Types and Cost

There are many types of sprinklers, as well as sprinkler heads, which can make things a bit confusing when you’re trying to decide which system is right for your lawn.

Here we have listed some of the most popular models, as well as their associated costs with using them in your irrigation system.

Bubbler Sprinkler Head

A bubbler sprinkler head is used to water flower beds and trees, saturating the ground soil and reaching plants that might be unable to be irrigated in full. This low-cost sprinkler starts at $1 and goes up to $10 per piece.

Misting Sprinkler Head

Misting sprinkler heads aid plants in growing by providing additional moisture, especially if the foliage in question a needs continual, low-flow water source.

Mist sprinklers are often used by homeowners with container or hanging plants to provide uniform, controlled water just above the ground’s surface. The typical cost range for misting or micro-sprinklers is $3 to $15 per unit.

Pop Up Sprinkler

Pop up sprinkler heads are excellent for large regions where you don’t want the head above ground when it’s not in use. They usually come with an adjustable spring mechanism that allows you to conceal them when you’re done watering.

This is a popular choice among homeowners who just want to have their lawn watered on a regular basis without having to deal with sprinklers all over the place. A pop-up sprinkler head costs between $7 and $20.

Fixed Sprinkler Head

Fixed sprinkler heads have small holes and are perfect for narrow and curved regions of above-ground sprinkler systems. These sprinklers stay securely in place, provide rapid and dependable watering, and are frequently chosen as side gardens and walkways leading between the front and rear yards.

Fixed spray is ideal for locations that require frequent watering several times per week or even more often. The average cost of their fixed spray is $7 to $22.

Gear Driven Sprinkler Head

Gear-driven sprinklers operate with uniform rotation to water large flat regions and are quieter and less costly than other types available. Gear-driven sprinkler heads are also more popular than impact rotor sprinkler heads right now, owing to their even distribution and dependable watering.

The cost of gear driven sprinkler heads for above-ground installation can vary from $8 to $25.

Rotary Nozzle Sprinkler Head

Most rotary nozzle sprinklers cost between $9 and $30, and they may be used above ground or in the soil. These high-efficiency sprinkler heads are great for slopes and clay, as they minimize run-off and erosion. Water conservation advocates frequently advocate replacing traditional sprinkler heads with these nozzles due to their small mist output and water-saving ability.

Impact Rotor Sprinkler Head

An impact sprinkler head covers an area of 18 to 50 feet, which is less consistent than a rotary nozzle sprinkler head. The rotor makes a ticking noise as it moves back and forth and delivers sharp sprays of water.

You may select from a wide range of multi-stream sprinkler heads, either in-ground or above-ground, to cover more lawn. On average, an impact rotor sprinkler head costs between $11 and $35.

Sprinkler System Cost Per Square Foot

Sprinkler systems range in price from $0.20 to $0.30 per square foot on average. The cost of a new sprinkler system varies by region and the company you choose, depending on how sophisticated it is and what features it includes.

Last but not least, keep in mind that sprinkler and irrigations expenses vary by location, how long you need to water your grass for, as well as the company and materials you use.

DIY Vs. Hiring a Professional

Many homeowners take pride in completing projects around their house by themselves. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes with being able to say “I did that myself.”

However, when it comes to installing a lawn irrigation system, it is generally best to hire a professional. Although it may be tempting to save money by doing the work yourself, there are several risks associated with this type of project.

First of all, lawn irrigation systems require a significant amount of digging. If you are not experienced in this type of work, you could damage your yard or accidentally hit a water or gas line.

In addition, installing an irrigation system is not as simple as connecting a few pipes – there are complex valves and controllers that must be installed correctly in order for the system to work properly. If you are not familiar with this type of equipment, it is easy to make a mistake that could be costly to repair.

Finally, most professionals who install lawn irrigation systems offer a warranty on their work. This means that if something goes wrong with the system, you can have it repaired or replaced without having to pay for the repairs yourself.

When it comes to lawn irrigation systems, the risks generally outweigh the benefits of trying to save money by doing the work yourself. Hiring a professional is usually the best option.


A lawn irrigation system can be a great investment for your home. Not only will it save you time and money in the long run, but it can also help improve the health of your lawn and keep it looking green and lush.

So, how much does an irrigation system for your lawn cost? The price of an irrigation system can vary depending on the type and size of the system. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider a surface or subsurface irrigation system. You also have several sprinkler head options, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

For a general guideline, systems range in price from $0.20 to $0.30 per square foot for installation. If you are thinking about installing a lawn irrigation system, it is important to consider all your options and choose the best type of system for your needs.

If you’re not comfortable installing the system yourself, don’t worry – you can always hire a professional to do it for you. This will incur a larger expense, but it is well worth it when you factor in the time, effort, and stress you will save! Please let us know if you have any comments or concerns below, and thanks for reading!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.