Drip irrigation for your garden can take a lot of the guesswork out of watering your plants and save you a great deal on your monthly water bill. Installing it can be a bit pricey, however, with an average cost of $490. Typically, the range goes from $295 to $775, with a rock-bottom price of $50 and a high-end cost of $3,000. However, none of these are concrete numbers.
The price for a drip irrigation system will depend on a wide variety of factors. Yard size and the complexity of the system’s drip lines will play a major part in deciding the cost. Read this helpful guide to see what you need to take into account when budgeting for this project.
- Average Costs
- Cost Estimator by Size
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
- Cost by Location
Average Drip Irrigation Cost In 2023
|National Average Cost||$490|
|Typical Range||$295 – $775|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$50|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$3,000|
A drip irrigation installation isn’t the priciest home improvement project a homeowner can tackle. On average, it should only be a few hundred dollars. However, the price will vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the type of irrigation system you use and whether you’re irrigating just your garden or your lawn as well.
Drip Irrigation Cost Estimator by Size
One of the biggest factors that will affect the total cost of your drip irrigation system is the size of your garden. A larger area will have a greater cost to install the system as well as a higher cost over time for the water.
|Project Size||Overall Average Cost|
|Small (50 square feet)||$80 – $200|
|Medium (100 square feet)||$160 – $400|
|Large (200 square feet)||$320 – $800|
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Of course, there are also other factors that will affect the cost, most of which have to do with your individual choices.
Type of System
When it comes to your new drip irrigation system, there are a few different types to choose from, each with its own installation cost. Here are the different types along with their average costs:
- Above-ground system. An above-ground drip irrigation system is exactly what it sounds like. The tubes run above ground to deliver water to your plants. This kind of system is good for vegetable gardens and raised flower beds. It typically costs between $220 and $2,000 per water zone.
- Subsurface system. A subsurface drip irrigation system is the opposite of above-ground. It runs underneath the soil to bring water directly to plant roots using drip tape instead of a dripper. A subsurface system is good for grass lawns and large acres of plants and crops and usually runs for $815 to $4,335 per acre.
- Sprinkler conversion. If you already have an existing sprinkler system in your yard, you can convert the water zones to a drip irrigation system. Doing so costs about $300 to $1,200 per irrigation system, making it one of the less expensive options.
- Foundation drip system. A foundation system is used to apply moisture to the soil surrounding your home’s foundation in order to keep it moist and prevent problems. This is particularly good for clay soil that would otherwise expand and contract frequently. A foundation system costs about $1.50 to $4.75 per linear foot.
Another factor is how many water zones you’re going to need. This is somewhat connected to the size of your lawn or garden, but relates more to the different plants and their individual watering needs. If you have more than one watering zone in your irrigation system, you can expect to pay between $250 and $775 each.
Quality of Parts
The quality of the parts you buy or that your contractor uses also matters. More expensive parts will add on to your initial cost, but they’re higher quality and won’t need as much maintenance or require replacements as often, which will save you in the long run.
Drip Irrigation Parts:
|Adapter||Converts pipe thread to hose pipe fittings||$3 – $9.50|
|Backflow Preventer||Ensures water flows only one way, preventing contamination||$4 – $6.50|
|Connector||Attaches pipes/tubes together||$4.50 – $13.50|
|Drip Tubing||Carries water to the plants||$15 – $40|
|Drippers/Emitters (10 pack)||Control the flow rate of the water||$5 – $10|
|Mainline Distribution Tubing (100 feet)||Circulates water throughout the system||$13 – $45.00|
|Pressure Regulator||Reduces water pressure for a steady flow||$7 – $20|
|Moisture Sensors||Prevents over-watering||$20 – $150|
|Tubing End Cap||Seals the ends of the tubes||$1 – $3.50|
|Valve||Turns water on and off||$4 – $60|
Grass and Flowers
The price of your drip irrigation system will also depend on the kind of grass in your lawn and the plants in your garden. Grass and flowers with higher water needs may require an additional water zone, which will drive up the price. In addition, a lawn works best with a subsurface irrigation system, which costs more than above-ground drip systems.
Conversely, grass and plants that need a lower amount of water will cost much less. Native plants in particular are easier to care for than non-native ones. Xeriscaping is another good way to have a beautiful outdoor space without spending a ton of money on water.
If you’re installing a drip irrigation system, there are also some other services that you may need done to help your lawn and garden look beautiful and stay healthy.
If you’d like, you can use drip irrigation in conjunction with a conventional sprinkler system. A sprinkler system will need periodic repairs, however, which will vary in cost depending on the specific job. A sprinkler installation ranges from $2,400 to $4,200, while repairs typically cost about $110 to $365. If you live in an area with cold weather, you can also have your system winterized for $60 to $120.
A rain barrel is a good way to store rainwater to use as a water supply for your drip irrigation system or sprinklers. Take care, however, as some states have restrictions for collecting rainwater. Do your research and ensure that you’re allowed to collect and store it before purchasing a rain barrel. If you can, it will be about $120 to $160 for the barrel.
If you have creepy crawlies in your garden, you’re going to need to do some pest control before you start work on a drip irrigation system. The cost will depend on the pest in question. A professional exterminator typically charges about $250 to $525 for a single home visit, but this can go up quickly in the case of a big infestation.
Aerating your soil can decompact it and help your plants absorb nutrients and water better, leading to less water being lost to runoff. This involves removing small plugs from the soil either by hand or with a machine. Having this done professionally costs around $145.
Just like plants need water to grow, they also need the proper nutrients. Fertilizing your lawn or garden is an important part of caring for them, and helps them grow and stay beautiful. Fertilizing from a professional typically costs about $380, but this can vary depending on your grass and plants.
Garden and Flower Beds
If you’re installing a drip irrigation system, you may want to consider adding some dedicated flower beds to your lawn or garden. Raised or standard garden beds are a great addition to your outdoor space.
You have two choices when it comes to flower beds; raised beds or ones embedded in the ground. Raised beds are less expensive and better for plants and flowers, but you lose more water to evaporation. A DIY raised flower bed costs around $150 to $210, while a professionally embedded one is about $2,500 on average.
Once you’re done with your irrigation system installation, you might need to fix your lawn, especially if you put in a subsurface system. It depends on the species of grass and its cultivar, but a professional sod installation typically costs about $0.90 to $1.80 per square foot.
Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost
If you want to save some cash on your drip irrigation system, you can also try to DIY it. Installing the system yourself doesn’t carry too many dangers–– as long as you know what you’re doing, it can be a great way to save on labor costs.
You can either buy a premade DIY drip irrigation kit or purchase all of the system components individually. All put together, the parts you’ll need to DIY a drip irrigation system will cost anywhere between $75 and $360. A DIY kit will run you about $25 to $200, covering about 150 to 750 square feet, so it’s the more affordable option, especially compared to the $295 to $775 typical pro cost.
Cost of Drip Irrigation by Location
Another big factor that will affect the cost of your drip irrigation system, in the short and long term, is your location. Some states offer tax incentives for water-efficient irrigation like drip systems, which makes it a better deal. If you live in an area with a particularly dry climate, it can also save you a lot of money on your water use.
On the other hand, location can also make this project more expensive. The farther that landscapers have to drive and parts have to be delivered, the more the price will go up. Labor for the installation will cost more in certain areas, and will increase further if you have a difficult soil type to work with, such as clay or rocky soil.
FAQ About Drip Irrigation
Overall, yes. Drip irrigation has many benefits, such as lower water costs and fewer weeds, and the initial cost is relatively low and easy to keep down. If you have a nice garden, a drip irrigation system can make it easier and less expensive to maintain. A well-installed drip irrigation system can also add value to your home.
Unfortunately, drip irrigation does have its downsides. The primary one is that the system clogs easily. The main causes of these clogs are impurities and bacteria in the water. Thankfully, this can be prevented with proper chlorination and disinfection.
Yes, so long as it’s properly winterized. If your system isn’t winterized before the cold weather arrives, it can be severely damaged by the water inside freezing.
While it can be pricey initially, drip irrigation can keep your plants watered with minimal work on your part and save you money in the process. Whether it’s a big crop of plants or just a little plot of vegetables in your backyard, it can make growing a lot easier.
If you want a drip irrigation system in your home, but don’t know where to start, reach out to your local professionals for help with installing one.
Note: LawnStarter may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
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