Spring will be here sooner than most homeowners realize. This means the seasons of watering the lawn and garden will soon be upon us! One of the top home renovations to consider as spring approaches is installing a sprinkler system. Many homeowners may avoid adding this feature to their home though, simply due to the cost. Here we want to discuss how much it really costs to install a sprinkler system, and all the steps necessary to start this project.
Each year Americans spend over 6 billion dollars to ensure that their lawn is greener than anyone else on the block, according to The Lawn Institute. Is it any wonder, considering a nice lawn not only adds curb appeal to your home, but also reduces your carbon footprint. A healthy, green lawn increases air quality, helps purify water runoff, and the average lawn has as much of a cooling effect as 8.5 tons of air conditioning!
For this reason, taking care of your lawn is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner. Maintaining nice, green grass is a lot of work though. The solution? Installing a sprinkler system.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sprinkler System?
Most homeowners spend between $1,820 and $3,331 to have a sprinkler system installed, with the average cost being $2,462.
Factors to consider:
The size and location of your property
Slope of your yard
Number of zones
Types of landscaping
Quality of the sprinkler system components
Labor and materials
Permit (should it be required)
Size of Your Property and Quality of the Parts
The two most important of these factors, which affect cost, are the size of your property and the quality of materials. If you have a large yard, it will require more piping and additional sprinkler heads which will cause the price to rise. If you are worried about having a huge upfront cost, consider starting smaller with the initial plumbing and system, then gradually adding a couples zones at a time. Adding more zones over time is far more cost-effective than installing the whole system at one time.
The next factor that greatly affects cost is the quality of the piping, sprinkler heads, and timer system that you use. Since sprinkler heads are the most active component and do most of the work, you will want to choose high quality ones to start. By investing in good quality parts initially, you will save money on maintenance and repairs in the long run.
Although the cost of the sprinkler system upfront may seem daunting, the addition of a sprinkler system can actually save you money on your water bills. Sprinklers evenly distribute water across the yard, and since you can set the time and duration of each watering, water is conserved and use most effectively.
In order to fully understand the cost of a sprinkler system, it is necessary to explain how all the components work together to water your lawn.
Controller: A sprinkler system controller is a small computer which is typically installed in the garage, or another area out-of-the-way, which controls the timing and activation of the sprinkler system.
Valves: Each sprinkler system has a network of valves, placed in underground boxes which open and close to control the flow of water through the pipes to the sprinklers.
Pipes: PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, pipes are buried 1-2 feet under the lawn's surface, and are used to carry water to the sprinklers.
Sprinkler Heads: The final component of the sprinkler system is the sprinkler heads. Your lawn will be divided into zones (discussed below) which each have 5-10 sprinkler heads, depending on the size of the yard. The sprinkler heads pop out of the ground when activated, and distribute water to the surrounding area.
When you decide to install a sprinkler system in your yard you will want to first determine the different zones which need watering. Some zones may require more water than others, or need to be watered at certain times of the day. These zones can include:
Garden Areas: Your garden will require special sprinkler heads which water more gently than the ones watering your grass. Tiny spray heads or bubblers carefully water areas which have flowers or vegetables. This will ensure that edibles are not bruised, and that delicate petals are not torn off.
Shrubs and Bushes: A landscaped area with shrubs and bushes will require high-rise sprinkler heads that cover taller plants.
Lawn: The areas of your yard which have large patches of grass will require the most common sprinkler heads, which deliver a consistent, even spray over the entire area of grass. The reach of the spray should cover the lawn, without hitting areas like sidewalks or porches.
After determining the different zones of your yard, you are ready to establish a plan for the sprinkler system installation.
Make a Map: This map should include the size of your yard, location of your house, and major landscaping features such as trees and gardens.
Label Zones: Next, you will want to label each zone of your yard, so that you know which areas need certain amounts of water and what time day each zone needs to be watered.
Determine the Location of Pipes: Before any work can be done, it is necessary to call out a professional to determine the location of pre-existing pipes and underground cables. Once you have this information, you can then decide where the piping can run for your sprinkler system.
Make a List of Types of Sprinkler Heads: Based on the different zones in your yard, you can then make a list of the types of sprinkler heads you need for various areas and where they will be located. This includes traditional sprayers for the lawn, bubblers for the garden, and high-rise sprayers for landscaped areas.
Determine Location of Sensors and Shutoff Valve: The last part of your plan will be determining where automatic sensors will be placed throughout the yard. You will also want to choose a location for the water shutoff valve in case of an emergency.
While adding a sprinkler system to your yard is an excellent way to maintain a beautiful lawn and garden, there are a couple other factors to consider.
Professional Installation or DIY: Once you have made the decision to install a sprinkler system in your yard, you will want to determine whether it is a project you can handle yourself or if you want to call in professionals. If you decide to DIY, you should make sure you have all the knowledge, tools, and materials needed to install the sprinkler system. If you are seeking out professional installation, consider asking friends and family for references for the best company to hire.
Lawn Repair: In order to lay the piping for a sprinkler system, you will need to dig trenches in your yard. While it is ideal to install a sprinkler system in your yard before you have planted grass or flowers, it is possible to install one in an existing yard. If this is the case, you will need to account for the cost of reseeding and repair into the cost of the sprinkler system installation.
Ultimately, installing a sprinkler system in your yard is one of the best ways to create a landscape full of lush, green grass and a healthy garden. Sprinkler systems also conserve water since you are in full control of the distribution of the water and length of time that the sprinklers are watering.