How Much Does a Drip Irrigation System Cost to Install?

Typical Range:

$1,800 - $2,500

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated August 18, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Residential drip irrigation systems, found primarily in landscaping and gardens, use a system of pipes or hoses with perforations that allow grown-level watering without a spray. On average, residential drip irrigation systems cost $350 or between $200 and $850

DIY solutions start as low as $20, while agricultural or large-scale systems can cost up to $3,500 per acre. You’ll need to choose between surface level and subsurface irrigation, with the latter costing a bit more.

Average Drip Irrigation System Costs

Average Cost$350
High Cost$3,000
Low Cost$50

Subsurface vs. Above-Ground Drip Irrigation System Costs

Residential drip irrigation systems tend to cost about $0.50 to $3 per square foot, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever pay more than about $2,500. Agricultural subsurface systems tend to run twice that but are typically reserved for agricultural applications.

Type of Drip SystemCost Per Acre
Subsurface$1,000 – $4,000
Above Ground$100 – $2,500


The cost of a subsurface drip system ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 per acre on average. Pros place tubes beneath the ground in a subsurface system. These are great to install during landscaping and garden installation. However, you’ll likely find these more in agricultural applications and less often in residential settings. These systems are typically more expensive than above-ground drip systems.


Above-ground drip systems cost $80 to $750 for most home gardens up to ¼ acre. Agricultural sizing starts from $2,000 and up per acre. This system involves laying drip irrigation tubing on top of soil. While highly efficient, this system can be a tripping hazard. Mowers, weed whackers, and other lawn equipment can cut above-ground systems in some cases.

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Sprinkler Conversion Costs

Adding or converting your current in-ground sprinkler system to one with a drip irrigation system or extension costs $300 to $1,200 per zone. You can also use a DIY sprinkler system for about $50 to $75

Using this method, you can extend your current watering system to include a drip irrigation extension for distant landscaping or a garden instead of running a new line.

Foundation Drip System Costs

Drip systems for a foundation cost $1.50 to $5 per linear foot, including the sprinkler system installation costs. You’ll use these to maintain moisture content near your foundation, which avoids erosion and settling. You can also use a soaker hose, but these don’t always infiltrate lower depths. 

Drip Irrigation Installation Cost Factors

A few of the cost factors that go into a drip irrigation installation include the:

  • Quality of materials: Better materials may cost more upfront, but they’ll hold up in the long run.

  • Time of installation: Pros may offer deals for installation in the off-season.

  • Above-ground vs. subsurface: Below-ground systems are typically more expensive.

  • Size of project: The larger the square footage, the higher the cost. A row of shrubs costs significantly less than a half-acre garden.

  • Density of coverage: More water lines with denser coverage are pricier. 

Drip Irrigation System Cost per Square Foot

Drip irrigation systems cost anywhere from $0.50 to $5 per square foot. But how much you pay depends on the application and the type of irrigation. 

  • Residential above-ground: $0.50–$2 per sq. ft.

  • Residential subsurface: $2–$3 per sq. ft.

  • Commercial surface: $2–$3 per sq. ft.

  • Agricultural subsurface: $3–$5 per sq. ft.

Drip Irrigation System Cost per Acre

Acres Average Cost
¼$300 – $850
½$900 – $2,000
1$500 – $3,500
2$1,000 – $10,000
5$2,500 – $17,500
10$5,000 – $35,000

Lawn Drip Irrigation vs. Agricultural Systems Prices

Residential lawn drip irrigation is typically less expensive to install than an agricultural or farm system. It’s easier to install a drip system on a small, residential plot than on an acreage or farm. Many homeowners choose to DIY this project to save on installation costs. It can cost as little as $200 to professionally install a small home garden drip system.

High-end agricultural systems can cost as much as $3,500 per acre or more, depending on the project.

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Pros and Cons of Drip Irrigation

Benefits Drawbacks
Water goes directly to the plant without evaporationDoesn’t get the leaves wet, which some plants need.
Minimal runoff and wasteAbove-ground version can cause a tripping hazard
More efficient than a regular sprinkler systemMore prone to clogging

DIY vs. Hiring Irrigation Professionals

It’s possible to DIY install a drip irrigation system on a small area. Homeowners can buy a drip irrigation kit for their garden for as little as $20. You’ll want to hire a professional irrigation installer for large areas and commercial drip irrigation projects.


How much do drip irrigation lateral pipes cost?

Drip irrigation system lines generally cost from $1.50 to $5 per linear foot, installed. You can also calculate it as $0.50 to $3 per square foot. However, you’ll likely install these in a garden or landscaping areas with single lines.

Why is drip irrigation expensive?

Drip irrigation systems come with more upfront costs but can often save money in the long run. This kind of irrigation saves water and is highly efficient. The water flows into the soil directly, so there is very little evaporation and runoff. Its efficiency means better performance and money saved over its lifespan. 

Do irrigation systems add value to a home?

Yes, irrigation systems can add value to a home. Keeping lawns and gardens fresh and watered increases a home’s curb appeal. This can make it more appealing to buyers, which helps to sell your home quickly. However, it doesn’t always add value to the appraisal price, which depends on local market conditions. 

Do you need a permit to install sprinklers in my yard or on my land?

You typically do not need a permit to install a sprinkler system in your yard or on your land. However, you’ll want to check with your local municipality to see if you need a permit to install sprinklers on your land. Each location is different and has varying degrees of regulation.

How do I maintain my drip irrigation system?

A local irrigation professional can help you check your drip irrigation system to make sure it’s in good shape. You’ll want to make sure the water pressure is in a good range, repair any leaks as soon as possible, and cover the cost to winterize your sprinkler system as needed.

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