Sprinkler systems are becoming more and more present in the yards of people all across the world. The advantage of having your garden watered for you is enormous, since this is a daily chore for most. There are people who avoid installing a sprinkler system because they are scared of how big of a hole it would make in their budget. But we’re here to tackle that subject and give you a better perspective on the variable factors you need to consider so that you can value this whole project as accurately as possible.
Sprinkler System Advantages & Disadvantages
Whether you own a garden or are just looking for a more automatic way of watering your lawn, sprinkler systems are the way to go. Aside from relieving you from this daily physical stress, they can help you save and be more efficient on many levels:
- Sprinkler systems distribute the water more evenly across your lawn/garden. That’s because they have adjustable spraying patterns and will do the job like clockwork.
- They also help save water. Especially if you install a timer or a smart irrigation controller. You can adjust the watering schedule according to your garden’s needs and, with irrigation controllers, you can even connect to the internet and have the device customize a watering schedule by default, taking into consideration the upcoming weather forecast.
- These systems are suitable with any kind of soil, with the exception of heavy clay.
- If you’re a garden owner, sprinklers can also spray out soluble fertilizer, which provides an even application on your crops.
While there are little to no disadvantages to sprinkler systems, there are some we have to mention.
- First, if you live in a windy climate, there is a chance that your yard won’t be watered accordingly, as the fine droplets are easily carried away by wind.
- Second, you have to be very careful with overwatering your lawn/garden. If the weather in your area is unpredictable, you will have to keep your eye on your sprinklers even if you’ve previously installed a timer. You want to avoid any water puddles that eventually lead to plant drowning.
Variable Cost Factors
Investing in something of long-term usage, like a sprinkler system, requires a little bit of research before making the actual purchase. The very first thing that you have to consider is that once you’ve installed a sprinkler system, you can’t pull pipes out of the ground and return them. That’s why you need to understand all the implication and cost variations of such an investment. The total price of installing a sprinkler system depends on the square footage that the irrigation channel has to cover. We’ll approach the subject in depth when we discuss prices. The layout of your yard is also a determining cost factor.
Unless your yard is a big square or rectangle, then you will have to divide the space into spraying areas, each with its own configuration and sprinkler requirements. As you can imagine, the quality of the materials you use is also decisive as far as price is concerned. If there are walkways or driveways, that could also influence the price. As you can imagine, digging ditches and installing underground pipes is going to cost you way more than just attaching a sprinkler head to a garden hose. So, underground irrigations systems are more expensive. Another important factor that determines cost is the proximity to the valve that will supply the system with water.
There are cases where you’ll have to connect to a central valve that’s placed outside your yard and that automatically adds up to the cost. If you plan on purchasing a system controller, that is an extra investment that needs to be put down on paper. System controllers are smart remote devices that allow the customization and smart watering of your lawn. It also depends if you’re planning to install the system on your own or if you want to turn to a professional.
The latter option is quite costly, but it’s also the wisest choice if you’re not passionate about DIY projects. In the end, there could be some hidden costs related to yard repairs. For example, if a patch of lawn is damaged when digging the ditches, which will cost you extra to replace.
Here’s where things get a bit tricky, considering the many variables that contribute to the price of installing a sprinkler system. For example, if you own a total space of 6,000 to 8,000 square feet (including the house), the price can vary between $2,500 and $3,500. For larger properties, of up to 44,000 square feet, the costs can rise to $8,000 – $10,000. If we were to divide the costs into 3 main categories, you’d have the basic, standard and advanced configurations: The price of a basic sprinkler system varies from $1,500 to $4,000 and is suitable for small to medium yards. This setup is great for homeowners who have the most basic type of lawn, with a few plant beds included. If you live in the city and own a small yard, this type of system is perfect for you.Standard systems cost between $3,000 and $6,000, and include about 10 different zones, each with its own sprinkler heads, separate dripline and rotor heads. Such a system is more difficult to install, as it requires digging various ditches and would be easier to manage with the help of a smart controller. Advanced systems are best suited for yards that have between 8 to 15 different zones. The price range varies from $4,000 up to $10,000.
If you’re looking to save money with installing a sprinkler system, there are some costs that you can tweak and maybe end up with a total that’s more suitable to what you‘re willing to spend. Before hiring a contractor, think about the complexity of the project. Can you do this yourself? Do you have the time/patience/experience required? If you do decide to hire a professional, try to get at least 5 price estimates before choosing one in particular.
If you’re not in a hurry with your new sprinkler system, try to buy items when they’re on sale (typically in the fall or winter). You should also check out the price of materials at several retailers/online stores before buying them.