Sprinkler system required?

We recently had our offer accepted on a SFH. It needs some minor repairs and a lot of landscaping. In Colorado Springs, we don’t get enough rain to keep grass watered, and we don’t want to rock the entire large backyard. Is it necessary to install a sprinkler system in a rental to encourage the renters to keep the grass alive, or is it reasonable to expect a renter to manually water the grass? The other scenario is that the renter turns of the sprinkler system to save on the water bill, and lets the grass die.

If you want green grass, then pay the water bill as a factor of the rent or lease, then the tenant does not care how much you water.

Sprinkler system is best, renters and leesee’s are not the best at keeping up with watering lawns.

What’s your return on the sprinkler system? You’d spend several thousand dollars to install it and the tenant might not use it anyway to save on utility bills… Do you really care if the grass looks nice while the tenant occupies the property and sends you checks every month?

Herman is right. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to ensure that the grass is watered (except water it yourself). Most tenants could care less whether your grass survives or not. In addition to the expense of adding a sprinkler, the sprinkler system adds more complexity and one more system to maintain. The tenants will hit the sprinkler system when they plant things and their kids may destroy it, just for the fun of it.

Just say NO to sprinklers!



I think the answer depends on the neighborhood. You want your property to look at least as nice as the neighbors, in order to attract quality tenants.

Colorado Springs I remember as a pretty up-scale place. I would definitely pay the water bill, unless the tenant is getting a break on the rent. Also provide sprinklers, sprayers and hoses this year, and see how it goes. Your first year you have a lot of expenses; you can plan to add the sprinkler system later.

I like in-ground sprinkler systems because those properties look better and tenants like them. Some of our tenants are so fussy that they call if the grass is getting too high and the yard guy is late.

Half rock and half grass seems to keep everyone happy.


Here not only do properties have sprinklers but most landlords pay for gardeners. Why? Does it increase the amount you can collect in rent? No. Is it to attract higher paying tenants? No. Is it because it makes the property look better? No. It’s because code enforcement will issue citations with stiff fines to the property owner for dead grass or failing to mow the lawn. Can you guess that this is in a blue state? :banghead

Can you guess that this is in a blue state?

Socialism at it’s best!


Thank you for the responses. I’m certain the current tenants won’t have a problem keeping the yard up, so we may wait on the sprinkler system after more time to evaluate the situation. We will be doing all the work ourselves, so the cost will be relatively minimal, but time consuming.

This depends entirely upon the tenants. There are tenants who enjoy yard work, and they will keep the yard looking nice.
You can get an automated system and install it for a few hundred dollars and a couple of days work. This is more likely to keep the turns quick and make it easier to make the yard look nice while the place is vacant.
In my experience, most tenants do not care at all about the yard. They will not water it, and they will not even tell you if all of the plants are dying.
Of course when everything is dead you’ll be getting a call…