Anyone who has an acre of property knows that it takes a good sprinkler system to keep everything beautiful, luscious and green. Of course you’re probably wondering: what is the cost of a sprinkler system for 1 acre?
There are many different aspects of putting in a good sprinkler system, and in this article we cover them all, including:
- What type of system should you put in?
- Should you do it yourself?
- Should you hire someone?
There are positives and negatives to weigh when making these choices, and I’ll help you decide what is right for you based on convenience, budget, and your personal skill.
Cost of Sprinkler System for 1 Acre
First, let’s look closely at the major decision you’ll have to make when installing your lawn sprinkler system. Should you do it yourself, or hire a professional?
General cost for having a sprinkler system installed professionally on 1 acre of land
According to Homeadvisor.com, based on actual project costs as reported by 6,030 HomeAdvisor members, the national average for ¼ acre residential lawn sprinkler system was $2455. The costs ranges from $1745-$3394 but the entire spectrum ranged from $475-$4800.
This means that for a project that is 1 acre, the costs will increase by a factor of about 4.
If you’re planning to have a professionally installed sprinkler system on your 1 acre property, you should expect to pay somewhere in the range of $5,000-$9,000.
Of course there are regional differences, so your mileage may vary. If you’re going the professional route, though, I recommend getting quotes from at least three companies, and asking them for client references from at least 2 years ago (so you can see how their systems have held up over time).
DIY installation cost of a one acre sprinkler system
Unless you are completely versed in sprinkler installation, you may be a bit timid in wanting to install your own sprinkler system.
I’m not going to lie to you – installing a sprinkler system is a lot of work. Your 1 acre property will never feel bigger.
The primary benefit of installing your sprinkler system by yourself is the dramatically lower cost.
Most experts expect that the DIY costs of a high quality lawn sprinkler system falls in the range of $700-$1500 per ¼ acre which is almost half the cost of professional installation.
For an acre this will be anywhere from $2,600-$6,000 (plus your time).
DIY Installation Tips
If you do go the DIY route, I recommend planning to do this work over the course of several weekends, completing the work one zone at a time.
If you do decide to install your own system, there are a few websites that offer guides to show you how to plan and design your system.
Rainbird and Toro are two of these sites.
Also according to houselogic.com, manufacturers “go out of their way to provide planning help. After you give them some info on the size of your lot and your water supply system, they give you an irrigation plan tailored to your property.”
If you are good at following directions this can be a good option, and make the project manageable even for someone who has never done this sort of work before.
Challenges You’ll Face
Some of the difficulties involved with installing your own system, besides obtaining permits, are mainly involved with manual labor.
You will probably have to contact a plumber as well to connect your new system to a water line, though there are some decent spigot connections with back-flow preventors.
The manual labor involved with creating your own irrigation system requires trenches to be dug around 18 inches. In a warmer climate, you may not have to go as deep, so check with your local code officer before you start work.
Break down of DIY Installation Costs
- Trenching: Digging channels for the water supply and sprinkler heads. You will need string lines, powdered chalk, or lawn marking paint. This will be $5 per ¼ acre.
- Gas powered trenching tool: Unless you enjoy digging 2 foot holes across an entire acre, this will cost you around $100–$160 per day to rent a trenching tool. It’s well worth the money – definitely rent one.
- PVC pipe: ¾-inch diameter pipe is about 25 cents per lineal foot which is not a high cost. There is also Flex PVC, which can be a better option because if your trenches are not completely straight, you won’t have as many issues. This costs about $1 per lineal foot.
- Electrician: You will need to hire someone to connect your system to an automatic timer. Unless you are versed as an electrician as well, you will need to hire someone for at least 3-4 hours usually billed around $90-$120 per hour. This depends on what part of the country you live in.
- Plumber: You will have to hire a plumber as well to connect your new system to the water system in place on your property. to tap into your household water system. This could cost up to $500.
- Sprinkler heads: There are many different types of sprinkler heads and bubblers that you can choose from. The cost will depend on coverage and shape.
- Plans from Rainbird or Toro: Around $25-40 and you will have your plans in a few days.
- Permit costs: Dependent on where you live this will change, a bit more about permits is explained at the end of this article.
Things to Remember if Doing it Yourself
If you do decide to install your lawn on your own there are a few things to consider.
- When possible, buy thicker PVC piping to prevent leaks and breakage.
- Additionally you may want to put valves in that are above ground rather than below due to the mud it can make things tricky.
- Also in terms of pipes you should color code them differently when placing multiple pipes in one trench. Write down either in your phone, or on a safe piece of paper, what each of these pipes corresponds to. Save this! It will come in handy if you ever need to make changes or have issues.
- Pipes should be buried deeper than you think so that if you make changes to your sprinkler heads in the future there will be no issue what height they are. You do not want your sprinklers sticking up too high due to the fact that people can step on them. You don’t want your kids tripping as they run around in your beautiful yard!
Do not underestimate the importance of zones when installing a large one acre sprinkler system.
At first it may seem easier to do the entire property on a single system. It won’t be.
It’s easy to cut corners here when you start to get tired. Don’t do it. There are different areas which receive less sun, more sun, different soil etc. If you’re going to the trouble of installing a one acre sprinkler system, don’t cut corners and skimp on the price of sprinkler heads … this will make a difference and better quality heads will last longer.
Make sure you flush all pipes before installing the sprinkler heads, and do a test run before you bury everything. You do not want a leak after burying all of your pipes.
If you plan to hire someone, it is a good idea to do so in the early spring or fall. This is when companies are not as busy with normal lawn maintenance activities.
The positives surrounding professional installation are basically everything besides cost. A professional will do your job quickly and avoid making mistakes. They will deal with the planning. Your installer will determine how many zones you need for you. They will also pay attention to the types of landscaping you plan to put in and different types of systems.
A professional irrigation company will also come with ideas. They’ll help you to design your system to maximize the quality of your acreage.
If you are willing to invest a bit more money, it will be much less of a hassle. And the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job will be done properly is valuable.
For most people with large properties I recommend going this route.
Factors that Will Impact the Cost of a Sprinkler System for 1 Acre
There are a few different things that will influence the cost of installing a sprinkler system on an entire acre of land.
- First you will have to consider that you have a much larger size space than just a regular home lawn.
- The location of where your property is located and permits are also something that will influence the cost of your project.
- Whether or not you decide to install it yourself will greatly impact the cost as mentioned before. The materials you decide to use will as well.
- If the expected difference between DIY and professional installation for a 1 acre property is $1,000, hire a professional. If you’re in doubt, get an estimate.
Permits for Irrigation System Installation Projects
Permits are something that everyone needs to obtain when putting in sprinkler systems.
You should check with your local HOA to confirm what the rules obtaining to sprinkler system installation are. In some parts of the country there are strict water usage restrictions as well. This is something you will need to know beforehand.