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Sprinkler system

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  • Sprinkler system

    Does anyone here have any experience installing a sprinkler system for water your yard. I recently acquired a few quotes; and it just seams a little bit on the steep side. The minimum bid for 6 zones is right at $2500; I am seriously considering tackling the project myself. My biggest concern right now is the number of projects I have on my backlog.

    Your input is greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Sprinkler system

    2500 for 6 zones sound cheep. how many heads and what brand of sprinklers and valves. what size main and does the main need running too?

    see if you can work with the contractor. maybe have him mark the ditches and you can dig it out. that's what i offer to my customers. you dig and backfill, i install

    still 2500 sounds cheep.

    phoebe it is


    • #3
      Re: Sprinkler system

      I installed a 11 zone system in my yard flower gardens about 3 years ago when I was temporarily unemployed and needed a project.

      I was lucky in that I got the PVC pipe and fittings at the cost of one of the largest mechanical contractors in the state. (about half the price of Home Depot/ Lowes etc.)

      I wound up with about $1400.00 in my entire system.

      I also got some other freebies such as the three gang valve boxes and control wiring I used.

      Its a project that can be DIY, but be warned that its a heck of a lot of work and will take you longer that you anticipate to finish, unless you have a really small area to cover.

      Without knowing area, number of heads etc, its hard to say if the price is out of line, but for six zones I dont think you are being ripped off at $2500.00.



      • #4
        Re: Sprinkler system

        That is the going rate for a similar system in the NY tri state area. As a temporary measure, I used garden hoses, a 4 spigot hose manifold and Toro Valves and a Toro timer, all on clearance @ HD. to cover our yard. It's onlya 1/4 acre but cost me less than $500. Its fully automatic, including the rain sensor.
        there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.


        • #5
          Re: Sprinkler system

          In my last house I put in 8 zones (3 in the back and 5 in the front) for about $1500. That included the price of the PVC, heads, timer, wiring and renting a trencher. That was in Phoenix and the ground there can be awfully hard with clay and baking sun so the trencher made it way easier (rented from HD) and well worth it for $55 / day as I recall. I took some time to research and work out my zones with as few turns as possible and working out my pressure and flows for max # of heads per zone, etc, etc. Just took time but was happy I did it. My qoutes came in around $3k. Had it all done 2 weekends (probably could have done 1 weekend without the beers ).

          If you do decide to do it yourself some advice I would offer would be:

          1. Call before you dig! You don't want to hit anything nasty buried and fry yourself or have to pay to get a water or phone line fixed.
          2. When making my manifold I plumbed in 2 extra lines in the back and 1 in the front and stubbed them off for any just in case for the future. Worked out well when we later added in another zone for drip to the flower beds.
          3. I admit I wasn't comfortable with my soldering so I did have help from a buddy to connect the manifold to the copper.
          4. Take your time to plan your zones, routing and # of heads per zone as for me that was the hardest part to ensure good coverage.

          The other thing to thing to think about, is professional landscapers/sprinkler installers often have a machine that will simply "pull" flexible tubing in through the ground rather then require digging trenches. It only leaves a small 1" to 2" gouge that is hard to see and heals quickly. But my trenches filled back in well and grass re-grew within a month or so. Obviously a non issue if you don't have grass yet.
          Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


          • #6
            Re: Sprinkler system

            I renovated one that a previous owner had installed 3 zones. I replaced the pump and the heads and plan to relocate some heads this spring. Note, if running off the muni supply, you might have to install some kind of backflow preventer. Also, our local water allows a seperate meter install so your sewer rate doesn't go up for the water on the grass.
            Only a surfer knows the feeling. Billabong ca. 1985 or so


            • #7
              Re: Sprinkler system

              Without knowing the layout and the distances, I can't say. I put my own in in FL 20 years ago for a lot less, so learned a few things. $2500 may seem like a lot, but if they have to go through caliche or a lot of tree/shrub roots, around sheds/patios, etc, it isn't unrealistic.
              I had a shallow well with a 1 1/2hp pump that would put out 55 gpm at 35 psi.
              What I learned was:
              Go with 1" line off the source, drop to 3/4 when you have 3 heads left in the line, and down to 1/2" only for the last head if your heads use 1/2" fittings. If not it is cheaper to stay with 3/4" as the adapter fittings cost a lot more than the pipe. 3/4" pipe carries almost twice as much water as 1/2". If running off house water, and the feed is only 3/4, you may not need the 1". If you are like most, a new addition to the landscape will require revising your system in the future, so you want a large line to make it easier to add a new head when needed.
              For heads, get a screw drive type with a fully sealed case that the top screws off for access to the guts. HD sells a good quality sealed screw drive head for about $10 each (2 yrs ago before I moved) when bought by the case. (they have the 3/4" base threads) The screw drives are better and last longer than the impulse ones. If sealed, (no drain holes) dirt/sand and roots do not intrude into them, stopping them from turning. and the guts can be replaced without digging up the hole sprinkler head. They come with different orifices so the amount of water coming out can be adjusted as well as they have a spray pattern adjustment.
              If you can find an automatic control system with actual knobs to set duration time and number of times per day, they will last a lot longer than the purely digital in any area with a lot of lightning storms. Lawn Genie used to make one but haven't looked in a while. (Found mine at Lowe's originally).
              If you are going to do it yourself, and don't have teenagers to dig the trenches, rent a trencher. In Houston, you can get by with the one that looks like a big saw blade with carbide teeth (as opposed to the chainsaw-like Ditchwitch which will go deeper as needed in the northern climates, but is more expensive to rent). A curved blade pull-cut pruning saw is great for gettin a big root out of the way in you can't go over or under it.
              DEFINITELY get a utility survey so as not to hit water/sewer/gas/electric/cable/phone lines. You may have to get the phone and cable located separately, depends on the area. Here, the "one-call" service only does electric, water and sewer. Gas is LP so its separate as is cable and phone. In FL, they did it all with one call. Hand dig within 2 feet of any buried line.
              Get the pop-up heads and put them low enough that the lawn-mower doesn't hit them for open grass areas. If you are using well water, and it has high iron or sulfur, make sure the spray doesn't hit the side of the house or the sidewalks/driveways unless you want brown rust stains on them. If you have wood siding, make sure it doesn't hit the house, regardless of water source. It will promote wood rot, particularly on the bottom 12 inches.
              As with any contract work, make sure you know what you are getting and it is in writing as far as quality/type of spray heads and zone valves,, size of pipe, how they will run the wires to the control panel, and licensing. You definitely need a backflow preventer if off city water, and may need it off a well in some areas. If you have nice trees/shrubs established, make sure they aren't going to cut through major roots and kill your plants.
              Hope this helps

              Practicing at practical wood working


              • #8
                Re: Sprinkler system

                Thanks for all of your input; I started doing a little research and I found the $2500 estimate is very competitive for our area. I spoke to the contractor earlier today and asked if he was going to pull permits and the brand name of the sprinklers. I found his estimate did not include pulling permits; and he uses Toro parts. He said pulling permits would cost extra. Based on your feedback I already started contacting the utility companies to mark their service lines. I will start doing the layout and get quotes on ditch diggers, and do a cost estimate to see if its worth doing myself.

                Thanks again for your input I greatly appreciate it.

                Last edited by billie_bob; 03-01-2007, 10:17 PM.