By Gene and Katie Hamilton
An in-ground sprinkler, also called an irrigation system, dispenses water to a lawn or garden when it's needed, where and for how long. It is made up of a controller that tells valves to open or close; the valves work like a faucet turning on and off, and control a group of sprinklers connected by hoses. A backflow valve prevents water in the garden hose from being sucked back into the water supply of the house. The system prevents damage from under- or over-watering, and improves the health of the lawn or garden, and actually may lower your water bill because it regulates the water flow so it's not wasted. That watering will take place even if you're not home because it can be controlled and timed to when the water is needed. And of course, you'll never again have the drudgery of dragging a garden hose around the yard, which in itself makes the installation a benefit.
An irrigation contractor will charge $2,214 to install an underground sprinkling system in a 2,000 square foot area. This includes the labor and material. You can buy the components and make the installation for $660 and save 70 percent. You'll find systems sold at lawn and garden centers where you can pick up a planning guide to help plan and lay out the design. Check with your local building department about any requirements. This is not a trivial project so figure on spending a lot of time planning the job and making the installation.
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When you’re planning an irrigation system for your yard, remember that with established plants the top 2 inches should dry out between waterings. If you overwater them, the soil becomes saturated and prevents oxygen from getting to the roots so they can develop. It’s a case of too much of a good thing. For information about how much to water that’s prescribed in the planning guide of the irrigation system you choose.
To learn more about what's involved go to www.lawnbeltusa.com.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install an in-ground sprinkler you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020