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Watering 101: Tips for All Lawns

(Updated May 19, 2023)

Your garden needs water to stay green, but many common habits are quite wasteful. Water conservation is essential to ensure clean water remains for indoor use, including cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene purposes. The Grounds Guys® offers the following water conservation tips to maintain a green lawn and reduce water waste at the same time.

Tips for Watering Your Lawn:

Keep Your Eye on the Weather

Lawn getting rained on

If it rains the day you planned on watering your lawn, turn off the irrigation system or don’t bother setting up the sprinklers that day. When Mother Nature takes care of your watering needs, it gives you a chance to conserve water. Also, it’s wise to wait and water another day if it’s very windy outside. Wind evaporates water in the air and drives it off course.

Water During the Cooler Hours of the Morning

Residential lawn being watered in the morning

This helps further reduce evaporation and prevents scalding your grass. Water in the morning rather than the evening to prevent encouraging fungal growth.

Don’t Water the Grass Every Day

Healthy grass in residential front yard

Less frequent, deep watering encourages deeper root growth and healthier, more drought-resistant plants. An easy way to tell you’ve watered deeply enough is to place an empty tuna can on the lawn while watering. When it’s full, you’ve watered the right amount and can turn off the sprinklers.

Know When it’s Time to Water Your Lawn

Grass with water droplets

It’s been a little rainy lately, but you haven’t watered your lawn in a few days. Is it time to water again? To find out, step onto the grass. If the blades spring up quickly after you lift your foot, it doesn’t need more water yet. If the blades stay flat, it’s time to water the lawn.

Check on Your Irrigation System Regularly

Sprinkler system in lawn

Or be careful how you set up the sprinklers if you don’t have an irrigation system. Make sure water is not being directed onto the sidewalk, driveway or street. Fix any broken sprinkler heads, faulty valves or leaky hoses as soon as you discover them.

Keep the Grass Tall

Healthy tall grass in residential lawn

When you mow the lawn, set the blade to the highest or second highest setting. Keeping grass about 3 inches long shades the soil better and slows evaporation. Tall grass also grows less quickly and has deeper roots. All of these factors reduce the amount you need to water your lawn.

Only Use Fertilizer When Needed

Landscaper applying fertilizer to grass

Overusing fertilizers results in fast-growing grass that requires more water. Only apply nutrients when the grass needs them. Use low concentrations or slow-release formulas for the best results.

With these water conservation tips, your garden will stay green and beautiful all summer long with less water required in the process.

Limit Grassy Areas

Lawn with edging and mulch for plants

A large lawn easily consumes more water than the rest of your landscaping combined. Your garden may have a large expanse of grass that serves little purpose. Only keep turf in places where it’s used as a children’s play area or for sports. Everywhere else, replace the grass with mulch, water-efficient groundcover, or a hardscape such as a deck or patio.

Put Plants with Similar Watering Needs Together

Low water plants grouped together in front yard

Select low-water plants for everywhere possible in your garden. Plant them further away from the house where irrigation may not be as readily available. Then, group all water-guzzling plants together so you can water them at the same time.

Lay Down Mulch

Landscaper laying down mulch for plants

Three inches of coarse mulch insulates the soil, reduces evaporation, maintains a more consistent soil temperature and protects roots from the drying effects of hot summer weather, all of which lets you water less.