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How Much Does a Drip Irrigation System Cost?

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Drip irrigation systems, which are sometimes called trickle, localized or micro irrigation systems, are great investments for homeowners because they are more efficient than traditional sprinkler systems. While drip irrigation systems have been around since ancient times, they are less common. However, this type of irrigation system has been growing in popularity. Below is a more detailed breakdown of the cost of having a drip irrigation system installed as well as some advantages and disadvantages of such a system.

The Costs

  • Minimum - $300 per 500 square feet
  • Maximum - $750 per 500 square feet


Having a drip irrigation system professionally installed can run between $300 to $750, and the system can be run off any outdoor nozzle. Most of the money that is spent on professionally installing one of these irrigation systems goes toward labor costs. This is because there is a lot of digging that is required in installing such a system. It is best if the homeowner chooses to have this kind of irrigation system installed when other landscaping is being done in the yard. However, the job of installing a drip irrigation system is made easier and less costly if the homeowner already has some type of irrigation system installed.

Pre-packaged drip irrigation systems cost between $25 and $50. These kits include the rubber tubing that is used to carry water from your outdoor nozzle to the rest of your yard, a filter, end caps, back flow preventer and a pressure regulator. Higher-end kits also include an automatic timer.

Factors That Will Affect the Cost

There are many factors that will affect the price that a contractor charges a homeowner to install a drip irrigation system. That is why there is nearly a $500 difference between the minimum and maximum cost to install this type of irrigation system. Some of the factors that will affect the cost are listed below.

  • Yard Size - The bigger the yard, the more materials the contractor will need to finish the job, and the more time it will take.
  • Quality of Parts - High-end parts will increase the price of the overall project. However, they are likely to last longer before needing to be replaced.
  • Uneven Ground - Slopes and hills can make the installation of any kind of irrigation system more challenging. It can also cause a number of problems with the flow of pressure, which means more pressure regulators will need to be installed.
  • Soil Type - The type of soil the homeowner has will play a big factor in the cost. Rocky and sandy soil require machinery. Otherwise, it becomes very time-consuming to install a drip irrigation system.
  • Large Trees - If there are large trees on the lot, there is a good chance that their roots might get in the way of the installation.

Different Uses

Traditionally, drip irrigation systems are used to slowly introduce water to a lawn. This prevents the water from evaporating before the grass has time to absorb it, so it saves water. Due to the rubber tubing, these irrigation systems can be run all over the property. Drip irrigation systems are not limited to the front or back yard; they can also be used in flower beds to ensure that plants get the perfect amount of water. A flower bed drip irrigation system can sometimes be more expensive, costing around $40 to $100 just for the materials.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Just like any other irrigation system, drip irrigation has its pros and cons. It is important for homeowners to consider both the positive and negative aspects of such a watering system.


  • It helps prevent diseases that can set in when plants come into contact with too much water on their stems or leaves. This is thanks to drip irrigation systems only releasing water by the plants roots.
  • It reduces the chance of weed growth because the rows between plants in your flower bed stay dry.
  • It saves money by using water nearly 25 percent more efficiently than traditional irrigation systems.
  • It prevents less runoff on uneven ground.


  • It can lead to poor root development in plants. Since the roots do not have to grow very deep to find moisture, shallow growth is very common.
  • Tubing has to be checked and flushed to make sure there is no buildup. Since the tubing is rubber, a buildup in water pressure can result in the tube bursting.
  • Over time, the tubing has a way of working up to the surface. As it does, it becomes less effective and has to be pushed back into the ground.

Possible Issues to Consider

There are a few factors that can cause issues with the installation of a drip irrigation system. For example, if the property suffers from low water pressure or low water flow, the contractor might have to install a water holding tank. This tank will hold water to allow it to build up pressure before releasing it. Since a drip irrigation system relies completely on pressure, it is extremely important to get the setup just right. Sometimes low water pressure can also be solved by increasing the size of the main water line, which is another job that would have to be handled by a contractor.

Another issue that some homeowners run into is hard water. This is usually an issue when the home is set up on well water. This type of water usually has minerals in it, and these minerals can block up irrigation systems over time. If this is the case, contractors might suggest adding a filtration system to the property. This will be a good investment and will actually increase the lifespan of the irrigation system.

Get free estimates from local sprinkler system contractors

Last updated on Jan 12, 2017

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