How Much Does It Cost to Build a Hydroponic Garden?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Reviewed by Tara Dudley
Updated December 13, 2021
Three-tiered home hydroponic garden
Photo: JADEZMITH / Getty Images

The typical cost to build a hydroponic garden is between $300 and $1,000

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Unlike your average garden, which requires soil, hydroponic gardens use water and nutrients to grow plants, hydroponic gardens grow plants by using mineral nutrient solutions—all without soil. 

But before you install a hydroponic garden, knowing exactly how to estimate your costs is an involved process. This guide will help you discover how much it might cost you to build a hydroponic garden based on your budget.

How Much Does a Hydroponic Garden Cost by System?

By far, the biggest factor in determining how much it will cost you to start a hydroponic garden is the hydroponic technology you choose.

Low-Tech Hydroponic System

A low-tech hydroponic system is the most budget-friendly option. These systems might not contain any fancy features, but if your goal is simply to grow a small herb garden, then a low-tech system will do the job. Expect to pay between $50 to $200 on one of these systems.

Medium-Tech Hydroponic System

For a hydroponic system that performs better and has more features, your next best option is to go for a system that is ready to be installed. These hydroponic systems cost between $300 to $1,000 and often come with nice add-ons, such as lighting or a remote-controlled water flow.

High-Tech Hydroponic System

If you’re looking for the best hydroponic garden, a high-tech system is the best choice. High-tech hydroponic systems are designed for farmers who want to make a high yield of produce from hydroponic technology. As a result, this can cost you more than $10,000.

How Much Does a Hydroponic Garden Cost Near You?

The best part about starting a hydroponic garden is that prices don’t noticeably vary based on your location. The biggest factor in determining your total expenses is how much you’re willing to spend on technology.

While the technology itself won’t vary in price depending on where you live, it is worth mentioning that costs for installing your hydroponic garden might go up depending on your location and the size of your project.

For instance, you’re likely to pay more to have a hydroponic garden installed in the booming and costly city of San Francisco than you are for a more rural area of California.

Likewise, a small hydroponic garden in the city might actually be cheaper than a large hydroponic garden out in the countryside. We recommend checking your local area to get an estimate on your hydroponic landscaping project.

What Hydroponic Garden Can I Get on My Budget?

To make it easy for you to decide what you can afford to spend on your new hydroponic garden, we’ve done the math:

$50 to $200

For this price range, you can install a small hydroponic garden that can grow three to nine small herbs.

$200 to $500

You should be able to grow around 12 to 24 plants with a hydroponic garden in this price range.

$500 to $1,000

This price range is where you can explore the features of higher-end hydroponic technologies. Be it changing lights or a cascading flow, your budget can reasonably accommodate a small but impressive hydroponic garden.

$1,000 to $5,000

Small farmers hoping to invest in hydroponic technologies can expect to spend somewhere within this price range. You can afford to build either an indoor or outdoor hydroponic garden with this budget, but you might not be able to yield a high quantity for mass-producing.

$5,000 to $10,000

At this budget, you can afford a hydroponic farming design that produces a lot of plants.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Hydroponic Garden Yourself?

Want to save money on hiring a hydroponics installer by DIYing it? If you remove the costs of hiring a professional, you can almost certainly guarantee a decrease in your overall costs. Keep in mind that how much you can save depends on your skills and ability to do it without a professional.

Here is an estimate on what you might spend on materials, tools, and time:

  • Materials: Other than the hydroponic technology that you’ve chosen, which can cost between $50–$10,000, you will need a reservoir container, ranging from $50–$300, and pots for the plants, which are relatively inexpensive. You might be able to avoid these additional costs with a ready-made hydroponic garden that needs minimal assembly.

  • Maintenance supplies: To keep your plants alive and thriving, it is important to maintain your hydroponic garden. Common supplies for maintaining your garden include a pH meter, measuring cups, trimmers, substrate, nutrients, adequate lighting, and more. Meters alone can range from $20–$300, so estimate a good $200–$400 in additional costs.

  • Time: Lastly, your time spent on DIYing it and maintaining your garden are worth factoring in. If you’re new to hydroponics, it can take you hours to set up a standard hydroponic garden. Similarly, even a skilled DIYer can find themselves taking on a major project that takes days or weeks to design and build.

Hydroponic Garden Cost Breakdown

There is a lot of information to take in as you calculate the cost of your hydroponic garden. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:

Type of Hydroponic Gardens

The quality of the technology you use for your hydroponic garden can make all the difference in how much you spend. You can spend between $50 to $10,000 on a hydroponic system.

Hiring a Professional

Depending on your location and the extent of your project, a professional hydroponics landscaper can charge anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more.

Maintenance Costs

You’ll also want to factor in the maintenance costs for your garden. A productive garden varies according to the climate, lighting, and supplies. Generally speaking, a small hydroponic garden costs approximately 6% of its total cost to maintain, while a large garden can take an average of 13% to maintain.

Lettuce growing in a hydroponic setup
Photo: songdech17 / Getty Images

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Hydroponic Garden by Type?

Another factor in how much it can cost to start a hydroponic garden is the type of hydroponic system you install. Here are five popular hydroponic systems:

  • Wick system: Wick systems are probably the most simple and easy hydroponic systems to install. Ranging from $300–$1,000, they come ready-made and are considered a middle-tech system.

  • Ebb and flow system: Another classic but intermediate hydroponic system is the ebb and flow. This one costs between $500–$1,000 to set up. Nutrients are brought to the roots through a pump system to keep them moist.

  • Water culture system: As the name sounds, the water culture system involves using water and nutrients to keep the roots of your plants hydrated. This is done through a floating platform, an air pump, and an air stone, which all work together to regulate the plants. Expect to pay between $300–$1,000 for a water culture system.

  • Drip system: This system generally falls in the $300–$1,000 range. Drip systems are micro-irrigation systems that use water to drip nutrients onto your plants.

  • Aeroponics system: This system is more on the advanced side. A DIY aeroponics system can cost you less than $200, but for most people seeking to create a high-yielding garden, your aeroponics system starts at $1,000.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Build a Hydroponic Garden?

Additional costs factors worth keeping in mind include:

  • Garden size

  • Quality of the technology

  • Whether it’s custom or stock

  • How much you’re willing to spend on maintenance

FAQs About Hydroponic Gardens

Should I build a hydroponic garden or hire a professional?

This is a personal choice, but if you’re in a hurry to have your garden up or feel overwhelmed by all that goes into choosing the right hydroponic garden, a professional can help you quickly get started. However, if you’re an avid DIYer, then you might prefer installing a hydroponic garden on your own.

What should I consider when starting a hydroponic garden?

Before you get started on your hydroponic garden project, decide on your garden’s location. For a small office or home garden, consider an indoor hydroponic garden. Contrarily, if you plan on making a profit from your hydroponic garden, you might need to rent land or indoor space to grow your plants.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Feeling inspired? Consider renovating your landscaping, building a garden fence, or learning how to grow plants in a greenhouse.

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