Traditional garden watering methods aren’t always the best option. Not only do they use more water, but they’re also more time-consuming. Installing a drip irrigation system in your garden ensures efficient watering and excellent plant health while eliminating the need to move around sprinklers, refill watering cans, or haul your garden hose around.
Installing a drip irrigation system can be done in a few hours, or it might take a week. It depends on your yard size and shape. It also depends on whether you’ve hired a professional or are planning on doing it yourself. The average cost of a bigger drip irrigation system is around $350.
So, if you’re looking to determine how long it’ll take to install a drip irrigation system, you’ll have to consider a few factors. Let’s take a closer look at how to figure it out, and we’ll also consider the cost of installation to see if it fits in your budget.
What Is a Drip Irrigation System?
Drip irrigation refers to a low-volume, low-pressure garden and lawn watering system that utilizes a drip, stream, or spray to deliver water to home landscapes. These systems use less water compared to other irrigation techniques to ensure that the roots are moist but not soaked.
How Long Does a Drip Irrigation System Take to Install?
It can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days or a week to install a drip irrigation system, depending on the following factors:
- Area Size: The bigger the area, the higher the cost and the more time it’ll take to install a drip system.
- Skill Level: It’s possible to undertake drip system installation in your garden as a DIY project. However, this is going to take more time compared to hiring a professional who’ll be able to install the system in a day.
- Garden Shape: Installation of a drip irrigation system in a regular, flat garden will take less time, while installing a system in an oddly shaped garden or on uneven terrain will take longer.
- Density of Coverage: A denser foliage will require more tubing and emitters, which will increase the installation time.
How Much Does a Drip Irrigation System Cost?
Drip irrigation systems, typically found in home gardens and landscaping, use a network of pipes and emitters (on Amazon) to water the plants. The cost of a residential drip irrigation system ranges between $200 and $850.
Some starter kits start as low as around $20, like this one from Flantor (on Amazon), while the cost of large-scale or agricultural systems can go up to $3,500 per acre. On average, a drip irrigation system costs $350.
Cost of a Subsurface Drip Irrigation System
The average per-acre cost of a subsurface drip system lies between $1,000 and $4,000. In this system, the tubes are laid beneath the ground, which is ideal for landscaping and home gardens. However, these systems cost more compared to above-ground drip systems.
Cost of an Above-Ground Drip Irrigation System
An above-ground drip system involves the laying of tubing on top of the soil. The cost of an above-ground drip system in a ¼-acre home garden ranges from $80 to $750. Although this system is highly efficient, it can be a tripping hazard.
But if you’re thinking of one single flower bed, or one smaller area of your property, you may only need a simple drip irrigation kit like this one (on Amazon). This can be a super cheap and easy weekend project, costing less than $100.
Sprinkler Conversion Costs
You can convert your in-ground sprinkler system to a drip irrigation system. This will cost you about $300 to $1,200 per zone.
Foundation Drip System Costs
A foundation drip system costs between $1.50 and $5 per linear foot. This includes the cost of the installation of a sprinkler system. A foundation drip system helps to maintain moisture content near the foundation, preventing settling and erosion.
Cost Per Square Foot of a Drip Irrigation System
The per square cost of a drip irrigation system ranges from $0.50 to $5. However, the amount you’ll have to pay depends on the type of irrigation and its application. The per square cost of a drip irrigation system is as follows:
- Residential subsurface: $2 to $3.
- Residential above-ground: $0.50 to $2.
- Agricultural surface: $3 to $5.
- Commercial surface: $2 to $3.
Is a Drip Irrigation System Worth It?
Although you can use a traditional sprinkler system to water your garden, you’re going to need large amounts of water. You can get the same job done by using less water with the help of a drip irrigation system. A drip irrigation system is a great way to water your yard without wasting resources.
This versatile system can be used in different types of yards; however, it’s best suited for smaller yards or gardens where you wish to water individual plants. The drip system is also ideal for people living in water-scarce areas.
Installing a drip irrigation system in a large, expansive yard isn’t considered practical. For such areas, choosing the traditional sprinkler system can be more effective.
Another thing to keep in mind is that installing a drip irrigation system is a bit more complicated compared to hand watering or using a sprinkler. Customizing the tubing to fit the unique requirements of your plants can be tricky, especially if you aren’t familiar with common irrigation methods.
With water becoming scarce, it’s time to seriously rethink our water conservation techniques. Installing a drip irrigation system is a great way to keep your garden healthy without endangering the environment.
Although drip irrigation might not be the best solution for every home, it’s an excellent option for small gardens and people who want to take environmentally-friendly measures.