How much does a garden sprinkler system cost

What does an automatic irrigation cost?

In the following blog post you will learn more about the costs of automatic irrigation, how they are split up, what options you have and what costs are incurred for which variant.

When realizing a lawn irrigation, the following cost blocks arise in principle:

  • Costs for the sprinklers
  • Cost of the pipeline
  • Control costs

The first cost block includes the costs for the sprinkler itself and the connection of the sprinkler to the pipeline with a connector. The second block contains the pipe connections from the water connection to the sprinklers and connecting pieces that are necessary in the pipeline, e.g. L-pieces for 90 degree turns or a connection piece of the pipeline to the tap. The last block of control costs includes the costs for setting up an (automatic) control. These can be zero if a control is completely dispensed with, i.e. the pipeline is simply connected to the tap and switched on and off by turning the tap on and off. Or, at the other extreme, a few hundred euros if fully automatic control with solenoid valves is implemented.

Sprinkler costs

When it comes to sprinklers, you should always use sprinklers with a coordinated precipitation rate (MPR). Those who save here are saving in the wrong place, apart from the fact that these sprinklers only cost a little more. Ideally, the sprinkler is also pressure-regulating and thus ensures that the same pressure is applied to each sprinkler and that the sprinklers therefore work evenly. Unfortunately, the manufacturers pay somewhat more for this function, but it pays off in practice. For a top sprinkler that masters MPR and pressure regulation, you can calculate with around 25 euros. If you do without the pressure regulation, you can even get it for 15 euros. In the following blog post you will find an overview of which sprinklers are available and which I recommend to buy. If you do without pressure regulation on the sprinkler, you should definitely build the pipeline according to pressure-equalizing principles such as the parallel connection or the sprinkler circuit, which translates into more material and thus slightly higher pipeline costs.

In any case, the sprinklers should be laid with double overlap according to the principle of square or triangular formation. It is not enough if the jet of one sprinkler reaches the jet of the other sprinkler, but the jet of one sprinkler must touch the other sprinkler and vice versa. This is the only way that the lawn gets enough water in the vicinity of the sprinkler. According to these principles, a small lawn measuring 50 square meters would take about 4 sprinklers. If the lawn has 100 square meters more, i.e. 150 square meters, then about 3 sprinklers are added. Here it is taken into account that there will then be fewer marginal areas and that more sprinklers can therefore not only be used in a quarter or semicircle, but also in a full circle. These 3 more sprinklers then apply to all additional 100 square meters (with a very large area it is slightly less, then about 2.5 sprinklers / per 100 square meters are sufficient).

For each sprinkler, a sprinkler connector must also be included, with which the sprinkler is connected to the pipeline. Here you have to calculate about 5 euros. If you want to work with flexible swing joints (which make setting up the sprinkler easier), you have to add about 3 euros each.

The costs can thus be determined as follows:

  • 4 sprinklers for the first 50 square meters (-> 4 times 25 euros for the sprinklers + 4 times 5 euros for sprinkler connectors = 120 euros)
  • 3 sprinklers for every additional 100 square meters (-> 3 times 25 euros for the sprinklers + 4 times 5 euros for sprinkler connectors = approx. 100 euros)

The sprinklers for a 50 square meter lawn therefore cost 120 euros, for a 150 square meter lawn they cost 220 euros, for a 250 square meter lawn they cost 320 euros, etc. etc.

The calculation formula is: Sprinkler cost = 120 + (number of square meters of lawn - 50) * 1

Pipeline costs

For the pipes, I am assuming the use of PE pipes with a PN value of at least 10. The PN value indicates the maximum pressure with which the pipe can be loaded, with a PN value of 10 this is 10 bar. The pipes with a higher PN value hardly cost more than those with a lower PN value. For every 50 meters of pipe length, around 40 euros are estimated.

How many meters of pipe do you need? Of course, that depends very much on how much pressure and what amount of water you have available and how many sprinklers you can operate on one line. Depending on this, more or less pipe strings have to be laid. In my experience, with an average amount of water and pressure, you can calculate roughly 0.5 meters of pipe per square meter of area to be irrigated. I am assuming that the water source is near the lawn, a distance of 10 meters between the water source and the lawn is roughly taken into account. Otherwise you would have to open something. For 100 square meters of area to be irrigated, you therefore need approx. 50 meters of pipe, for 200 square meters of 100 meters of pipe.

The costs for 100 square meters of lawn would therefore be 40 euros (50 meters of pipe), for 200 square meters of 80 euros (100 meters of pipe), etc., etc.

Now all that is missing are the connectors with which you can connect the pipeline to the water extraction point and connecting pieces to make changes in direction in the pipeline. The connection pieces of the sprinklers were already taken into account in the sprinkler costs. Here we simply calculate roughly with 3 connectors each at 5 euros per 100 square meters of lawn.

With 100 square meters of lawn that would be 15 euros for connectors, with 200 square meters 30 euros, etc. etc.
The total pipeline costs are therefore 55 euros for 100 square meters and 110 euros for 200 square meters.

Calculation formula: Pipeline cost = square meters of lawn * 0.55

In my calculation I assume that no drainage valve is used to empty the pipeline. I don't recommend using it either. If it is desired, a valve must be installed on each irrigation line. The costs for the valve and the matching connector to which the valve is mounted are incurred here. For every 100 square meters of lawn, roughly 15 euros would have to be added.

Control costs

Here the costs depend very much on the extent to which you want to automate the control of the irrigation. The following variants are conceivable:

Manual control via the tap

This is only possible if the irrigation consists of only one sector, i.e. for very small irrigation. Apart from the connection piece, which we have already taken into account in the pipeline costs, there are no further costs. Automation is therefore not possible, watering is started by turning on the tap and stopped again by turning it off.

Cost = 0

Manual control via a manual water distributor

A manual water distributor is installed between the water connection and the pipeline, with which you can control up to 4 sectors manually. Only possible for irrigation with a maximum of 4 sectors. Automation is not possible here either, irrigation is controlled by manually opening / closing the valves on the distributor.

Cost = 20 euros for the manual water distributor

Automatic control via an irrigation computer and automatic water distributor

For this solution an irrigation computer is required, which lets the water through to the automatic water distributor according to a mode set in the computer. The water distributor has 6 outlets and rotates one outlet after each irrigation so that all sectors are passed through one after the other. This means that up to 6 sectors can be irrigated with it and the irrigation can be fully automated.

Cost = 200 euros (80 euros for the irrigation computer, 90 euros for the automatic water distributor, 30 euros for connecting parts)

Automatic control via an irrigation computer and solenoid valves

Solenoid valves are locks that open or close when an electrical pulse is received. The control of these electrical impulses takes place via a watering computer (different type than that in the previous point). The computers are each designed for a specific number of solenoid valves. I calculate generously with a computer for up to 8 solenoid valves in the slightly more expensive outdoor version (i.e. for hanging outdoors) = approx. 180 euros. In addition, there are 20 euros per solenoid valve and a fixed amount of 120 euros to connect the valves to one another and hang them up or to place them in a valve box. You have to look a bit here, in some cases significantly more expensive valve boxes are offered. The valve box shouldn't be the most expensive part of the whole irrigation system. With 120 euros you can get by for up to 3 valves. From the 4th valve onwards, you need a larger solution and an additional 30 euros must be added to the 120 euros. A valve box for 6 solenoid valves would therefore (without valves) cost 120 + 3 x 30 = 210 euros.

Thus, the costs for the control of irrigation with up to 8 valves result as follows:

Cost =180 euros (computer) + Number of valves * 20 euros + 120 euros (Valve box for 3 valves) + for more than 3 valves (Number of valves - 3) * 30 euros

Using the example of a solenoid valve control with 4 valves: 180 euros + 4 * 20 euros + 120 euros + 1 * 30 = 410 euros

total cost

The total costs are now obtained by adding up the three items "sprinkler costs", "pipeline costs" and "control costs". 3 examples:

  • 150 square meters of lawn controlled by a manual water distributor -> 220 euros sprinkler costs + 83 euros pipeline costs + 20 euros control costs = 323 euros
  • 300 square meters of lawn controlled by an irrigation computer and automatic water distributor -> 370 euros sprinkler costs + 165 euros pipeline costs + 200 euros control costs = 735 euros
  • 500 square meters of lawn controlled by an irrigation computer and solenoid valves (6 valves) -> 570 euros sprinkler costs + 275 euros sprinkler costs + 510 euros control costs = 1,355 euros

In addition, there are optionally costs for things that are not absolutely necessary but practical, e.g.

  • Water socket / quick coupling valve approx. 30 euros
  • Rain sensor around 40 euros
  • Soil moisture sensor from 40 euros

Micro-drip cost

If bed or hedge irrigation is implemented using a micro-drip system in addition or instead, the following costs will be incurred:

    • The control costs are the same as stated above, depending on which variant is implemented
    • The pipeline costs are as follows: The narrower micro-drip pipe costs around 60 euros per 100 linear meters. For the price you can get the pipe, if you want, as a ready-made drip hose, i.e. provided with the drip holes. For the connector you can again calculate with about 5 euros per piece. In addition, you need a pressure reducer for each micro-drip sector in order to slow down the pressure to the pressure required for micro-drip, cost 15 to 20 euros.
    • There are no sprinkler costs; instead, depending on what the micro-drip system is doing, there are costs for drippers or sprayers. If drip pipes are implemented, the drip holes are either already included, then nothing is added. Or drippers still have to be screwed into the pipe. You can calculate with approx. 30 droppers per 10 meters, these cost approx. 10 euros for 30 pieces. Sprayers cost around 1 to 2 euros per piece, for any extension pieces that may be required, another 2 to 3 euros per piece are incurred.


Running costs

Finally, briefly on the running costs of irrigation. These consist primarily of water costs and vary from place to place. In addition, there may be costs for the power or battery supply of solenoid valves and / or irrigation computers. However, these are comparatively low. If you use water from your own well, the water costs can also be reduced to zero. Instead, there are only the comparatively low costs for the power consumption of the water pump.