A lawn irrigation system can be a great source of hydration for any lawn. It conserves water, can save you extra dollars, and can easily deliver water to an area wherever it is needed.
Usually, it is used in agriculture and landscaping but that’s not all it is limited to and you can get amazing benefits from owning one yourself.
So what is a lawn irrigation system and how much will it cost?
Luckily I’ve written this article to tell you everything you need to know about owning and installing a lawn irrigation system and whether your budget will allow you to purchase one.
What Is A Lawn Irrigation System And What Costs Do I Need To Consider?
As I have just mentioned, a lawn irrigation system is a great tool for saving both water and money, whilst also delivering instant water to an area or patch of land that needs it.
However, the effectiveness of irrigation is determined by a range of different factors. This includes the delivery system and the conditions when you decide to use it.
The key to an effective irrigation system is to get as much water to the plants and into the soil as you possibly can. Evaporation however can cause up to 50% of water loss from these systems so bear this in mind.
A lawn irrigation system is not only limited to those in agriculture and farming, but many homeowners across the country could also actually benefit themselves from having one installed in their backyard, especially if it is a large size.
From seasonal gardeners looking to improve the quality of their lawn to enthusiastic sculptures who want their lawn to look in pristine condition, an irrigation system allows for lawn management, whilst taking the responsibility off the gardeners and giving you more time and freedom to get on with other tasks of the day.
However, before rushing into the whole process, there are several things you need to consider before making that all-important decision to have a system installed.
You don’t want to spend hours researching, making the investments, and then finding out an irrigation system is not what you expected. That feels like throwing money away.
So I’ve managed to narrow down our top tips to keep in mind if a lawn irrigation system is on the horizon for you and what costs you will need to consider before installing it, after installing it, and what it will cost to maintain it.
1. How Much You Need It
Before you stumbled across this article had you even heard of an irrigation system before? If you hadn’t, then chances are you don’t need one. How high on your list of priorities is an irrigation system? Do you have the time? What is your budget like? Is it necessary?
If you have a small lawn that you water once every so often, a smaller sprinkler system would benefit you just as much. How often do you care for your lawn and how important is your lawn to you?
Buying an irrigation system just because your friend in agriculture told you it’s the best thing for your lawn, is a waste of time, money, and effort. It needs to be something you want to invest in yourself and commit to entirely.
If it is something you are still considering buying, ask yourself as well, what are you buying the system for?
Admittedly, it’s great for a lawn but it’s also beneficial for trees, flower beds, vegetation gardens, and shrubberies. Each one requires maintenance and individual water needs which a system could provide.
Do you live in a warmer climate? More sun means a higher demand for water to keep these plants alive. Irrigation systems are great if you found yourself answering yes to these questions.
They provide you with more time to do other jobs around the garden and house and you won’t need to wake up through the night or early in the morning to keep your lawn and plants watered.
There won’t be anymore asking your neighbors when you’re away and it can, in a nutshell, just make life easier.
If it’s something you’re still considering, speak to your family and other household members. If you explain the benefits, they will for sure get on board and may help with the budget.
2. The Entire Cost
While I’m on the subject, you will need a budget to work out how much you are going to be spending on your system.
How much are you willing to spend to water your lawn? This is where how much of a priority it is comes into play. Costs for an irrigation system range from around $500 to $5000 which means budgeting is going to be vital.
Budgeting is also needed after installing the system as with all equipment, it will cost to maintain it. This means you will also need to take into account maintenance costs as well.
Depending on location, this will determine how much it costs to maintain your lawn. Costs for lawn care in Pheonix, Arizona for example will be hugely different from costs in Seattle, Washington. This is because wherever there is less water, it will cost you more to source this water and give it to your lawn.
You can always opt for the cheapest irrigation system, but this means you will be sacrificing power and water quality so if you spend those few extra dollars, it’s almost always worth it so that you can cut down the worrying, especially if you plan to be away for a while and you are relying on your system to keep your lawn alive when no one is there to check on it.
3. Land Type And Spacing
The bigger your land is, the more you’ll need to spend on a lawn irrigation system and vice versa, so you’ll end up spending less if you have less lawn to cover. This doesn’t even take into account how new and how up-to-date it is either.
The more specific the target area, the more you will need to consider a system that targets the growth area you want to keep growing.
You’ll also need to consider when your house is located. What I mean by this is not what state you are in but what kind of ground is it built on.
If it’s on a sloping yard, for example, you will end up losing more water than you will retain. This will, in the long term, cost you more money and so needs to come into the budget when planning how to pay for your system.
To work out how much water you will end up using, you need to multiply the length by the width of the yard. This will give you square feet of yardage.
You then need to multiply this number by 0.623 and this will give you the number of gallons expected to be used. Simply put, length x width = yard measurement and yard measurement x 0.623 = gallons of water used.
Type Of Lawn Irrigation
Telling you how much a system would cost is not possible. I could not give you a round figure and the main reason for this is because there are actually 5 different types of irrigation you need to consider.
I am now going to go through these, what they are used for, how they can benefit you, and the cost of each system measured per a third of an acre, half an acre, and one whole acre.
1. Surface Systems (Traditional)
This is the most common type of irrigation system and they are used by spraying water onto your lawn through a spray head.
Although they are commonly used throughout the country, they are slightly limited when it comes to how effective they are as they shoot in no obvious direction.
They can however cover a larger surface area and when fixed in the ground properly can be very useful on big lawns.
If you want to cover a third of an acre with this system it will cost you between $2000-$3000 whereas half an acre will cost you $3500-$5500 and a whole acre will cost between $6000-$8000.
2. Drip Sprinkler Irrigation Systems/ Micro Sprays
As the name suggests, not as much water is needed for this system to work. It works in a specific area to target where water is needed. It works by pushing water slowly out and allowing for it to seep deep into the soil.
It means that your plants are watered from the root and there’s reduced water usage and superior plant growth.
A third of an acre will cost just $250-$500, half an acre will only cost you $500- $750 and a whole acre will cost between $750-$1000.
3. Furrow Irrigation
This is the most simple lawn irrigation system and works through water channels that are created and favor a slope in the land.
It works through gravity as gravity can carry the water down towards the slop and spill it into the field and across the lawn that you need to water.
The benefits to using this simple system are that it uses less water and there are fewer overall costs because there is less to pump. A third of an acre will cost around $250-$500, half an acre will cost around $500-$750 and a whole acre will cost around $750-$1000.
4. Rotor Systems
This is the final system on our list and is similar to a traditional water sprinkler system. It does, however, cover a much larger area of lawn and land.
Similar to drip systems, they release water slowly and this results sometimes in extra seepage. However, they are better at targeting specific areas and you have more control of where the water sprays.
This means you won’t be watering the sidewalks, walkways, or your neighbor’s lawn by accident.
For a third of an acre, this will cost you between $250-$700, half an acre will cost around $700-$1000 and a whole acre will cost you from $1000-$1500.
Should You Buy A Professional System Or Make It Yourself?
This is an essential question you need to ask yourself when budgeting as hiring a professional can make the costs considerably higher.
A way to cut these costs would be to install the system yourself. However, whether this will be possible, depends on a number of factors.
It will depend on the type of system, how much time you are willing to dedicate to installing and building it, how much you enjoy digging and getting your hand dirty and how much patience you have.
Knowing the type of system you want and how much you are expecting to pay will allow you to get a good deal with a professional and so sometimes this is worth it, especially if you don’t like getting your hands dirty.
Hiring A Professional
Lawn irrigation systems cover huge amounts of lawn and so if you just have a patch of dead grass by your outside picnic table, it might not be worth it. You need to keep in mind if you go ahead with it, you are more than likely going to need help from an expert.
Finding the right professional takes time. You don’t want to end up with someone unreliable and overly expensive, yet you want to end up with someone who will do the job right but not add significant costs to your overall budget. Consider your contacts already.
Do you have friends or family that can help? This could cut the costs of a professional and make the whole installation process slightly more fun too.
Hiring a professional, however, is always recommended. This prepares you for any structural mistakes, lose or broken material, or even wrong estimations.
These mistakes will set you back and so having a professional to help you out is maybe the best idea if you don’t have the skills or mentality to correct these mistakes by yourself.
Professional Or DIY?
To sum up, the main pros of hiring a professional are that your system will be built for you, you won’t have to worry about materials, and you’ll have a policy in place in case these materials breaks.
It’s also a very labor-effective option. However, it is costly. You will not only be paying for materials but also labor and time.
Doing it yourself is much more cost-effective and gives you a lot more flexibility. You’ll also know just how things are set up, and how they are working below ground, helping you easily troubleshoot any future problems.
However, there are many more cons. There is a risk of failure as you don’t have proper qualifications and this might then come with costly repairs.
It can also take up a lot of your time and time you might take out of your job to install the system, could cost you more money in the long run.
To summarise, whether you hire a professional or not is completely up to personal preference. However, if you lack the confidence, skills, or knowledge, I would always recommend setting a slightly higher budget, to begin with, and going ahead with the hire. I promise it will be worth it!
In this article, I have gone through some of the factors you need to consider when buying and installing a lawn irrigation system, as well as whether it is worth hiring a professional and what type of system would work best for your lawn.
However, simply put, it comes down to two main considerations. Before buying, make sure you have not only talked with family and other household members but ensure you have considered how much you need the system and how much of a dent it is going to put in your wallet. If you’re happy with both of these things, go for it! I promise a brighter, greener lawn in no time at all.
Hi, Alex Kuritz. here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.