irrigation system?

cottonpennyAugust 23, 2012

I know this is gardenweb and there are a whole host of landscaping and gardening forums I've never explored. But DH and I have never had our own yard before (lived in city), so our 0.5 acre lot seems overwhelming.

We met with a landscaper yesterday just to get ideas. Bed here, tree here, etc. That kind of thing. He's going to send us formal quotes.

One thing I noticed when walking around the neighborhood was that those lawns with built in sprinklers have much nicer appearance and greener grass. Our new neighbors new grass died when he went away for a few weeks during a dry time this summer. So I asked the landscaper how much those systems cost.

He said $7-8k!!!

Is that reasonable? I figured an irrigation system was just hoses in the ground hooked up to sprinklers. I thought the cost would be a lot more reasonable, but I don't know anything about these things. We're obviously going to get more quotes, but still!

Are you getting and irrigation system with your new build? How much is the cost?

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Seems kinda expensive to me if its just for the front yard so I would shop around. Is that for the front yard or front/back yard and how much land do you have? I will suggest you contact your city/county about installing a seperate water meter for the irrigation system. Here (TN) we have to pay for water as well as sewer. If you have a seperate water meter for irrigation you will only be charged for water.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Our lot is a little smaller ( b/w 1/3 and 1/2 ac) and it cost $4780 for a 6 zone system with drip lines for shrubs. Ditto what xclusive said about getting a separate meter...the irrigation already makes our water bill jump A LOT...if we were paying sewer fees for the irrigation it would be even worse. Glad we have it, is very difficult to get shrubs and the lawn established without one in our area. Plus, if you are sodding like we did...that sod needs so much water after it is first laid!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Is the separate meter something that needs to be installed first? I will ask the landscaper about it.

That quote was for the whole yard (0.5 acres).

We're not sodding because they say they can get grass pretty well established if we plant seed in October which is when we'll be finishing up, so good timing on that. But definitely don't want it to die and have to redo...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:50AM
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We were told that it's pretty easy to add on later. We have never watered our lawn so I cant imagine doing it in the new house. Seriously, our current lawn already grows too quickly! We are getting sod so we will be concerned about keeping it alive, but we just can't justify many more thousands for that. We made sure to add a few extra hose bibs outside to that we could use sprinklers if necessary.

Also, we are not going to be putting in a back deck, patio, or playset yet. (And hopefully a couple fruit trees and a small garden too!) We are hoping to get a feel for the yard, trees, and sun exposure prior to commiting to anything. We honestly have no idea where we will put things. Seems like a waste for us to have an irrigation system installed now only to have to remove things later.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:50PM
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We have sprinkler system, our grass would be dead if I relied on DW to water. Would not live w/o them.

My experience:
1) I would not install sprinklers for backyard. Watering 1/2 acres is way to expensive and serves no purpose.

2) My system 3 zones front (sprinklers), sides 2zones (sprayers, bublers etc), one drip zone for all bushes, roses, flowers, rhododendrons, etc all around the house.


fair price should be $500 - $600 / zone; drip $300; timer, hookup tap dig for valvs, etc - $600.

So if your house has three front zones + side + hookup = I would expect from $2500 - $3000. $3500 would be slightly over, 7k - absurd.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Costs vary dramatically in different areas and for different reasons.

In my area, when you do irrigation, you must do a separate meter, a back flow prevention valve and a plumber must do the install of that portion. Add $2000 to the actual irrigation system. An impact fee for a municipality could be $4000 so I don't think anyone can judge whether your price is reasonable.

Obviously the need for irrigation is regional and so is the cost so I strongly disagree with a blanket statement that a backyard system is "too expensive and serves no purpose"

In my area, doing sod without irrigation is pointless but that may not be true everywhere.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 5:16AM
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OP: that number sounds normal for my area; however, David is completely right. The cost and need is regionally dependent.

We NEED them here to keep things alive, unless we want to hand water every single day. It's hot and dry for months. There isn't a chance I would let my backyard be sprinkler-free..... it would mean I couldn't enjoy the backyard space, have no privacy from trees, have to contend with some nasty weeds, etc. I know this since I lived with nothing for over a year as I planned how I wanted everything landscaped.

Also, I'm on a well. The OP probably isn't, but we wouldn't need a meter. My other option was to hook up to irrigation canal water (which would have a yearly fee and require more trenching, but wouldn't put a drain on my well pump or well water.) So, the OP needs to know their options. Are they hooking up to city water? Can they hook up to irrigation water instead? OP should ask the neighbors what they did.... and what is required. Some states or counties mandate a meter or regulate use.

Finally, is your ground all rock? clay? something really hard to trench and work in? That is certainly a factor in the price.

I think you should get quotes from at least a few companies....

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:27AM
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