Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011
One of the key elements of a great-looking lawn is enough water to keep the grass hydrated and green. The easiest way to achieve that is through a sprinkler system. However, there are so many systems on the market that it can be tough to decide which one is best for your lawn. That's where the help of a sprinkler contractor can come into play.
Choosing the best sprinkler system
The cheapest sprinkler system is simply a hose that has small holes cut through it, which is then placed across your lawn and allowed to run until enough water has been captured by the soil. Unfortunately, this is also a difficult method to measure and maintain.
More advanced sprinkler systems, including drip systems that run above the ground and irrigation systems that run underneath the soil, are much more reliable and easier to use. However, they are also more expensive. According to CostHelper.com, underground sprinkler systems can cost between $1,500 and $2,500 for a 2,500 square foot yard.
However, the more ground you cover, the cheaper a sprinkler system might be; CostHelper.com reports a cost of between $2,500 and $3,500 to cover 5,000 square feet of ground. This is because the most expensive parts, the plumbing connections and the controls for the system, are pricey compared to the tubing itself.
If you choose to do the work yourself, a do-it-yourself kit can run between $700 and $900. However, keep in mind that the proper design is crucial to get the most out of your sprinkler system. Rather than deal with trial and error--and dig up much of your lawn in the process--it might pay to hire a contractor.
Setting the sprinkler: contractors can help
Sometimes choosing the sprinkler is the easy part, and installation is the hard part. Landscaping specialists and lawn companies often serve as "sprinkler contractors" as well--not only can they help you choose the right sprinkler system, they can handle the installation for you.
Choosing a contractor starts with doing a bit of research. Get referrals from neighbors who have great lawns. Ask the contractor for references, information on previous jobs and any warranties offered on their work. Narrow down the options and then ask for estimates from two or three contractors. Make your choice based not only on price, but on reputation and experience as well.
Finally, don't forget about the long haul. Make certain you can handle the maintenance requirements for your chosen sprinkler system; if you are unsure, consider hiring the contractor to handle any follow-up that might be needed throughout the changing seasons.