Tips for Watering Your Lawn the Right Way


Hose-End Sprinkler

Choose a hose-end sprinkler for a small-to-medium size lawn area. Check out different types of sprinklers to find the one that suits your lawn shape best. This traditional sprinkler waters in a rectangular pattern. Don’t forget to turn off a manual sprinkler. Set an oven timer to help jog your memory and conserve water. With all lawn watering, deeper, less frequent irrigation is best. This encourages grass to grow deep roots, which is one secret to growing a healthy, low-maintenance lawn.

In-Ground Sprinkler

Design an in-ground irrigation system to deliver water in the most efficient way possible. Consider using low-volume, low-angle heads to apply water efficiently. Adjust and angle irrigation heads so that water is delivered as close to turf as possible. This minimizes water lost to evaporation. Observe your system in action. If you spot a mist or even fog coming from heads, that’s a sign that system pressure is too high. Make adjustments to reduce the pressure and restore irrigation to streams of water.

Rotary Nozzle

Check out new advances in irrigation technology. Rotary nozzles, also called stream sprays or, in some areas, rotators, deliver water to turf in a slow, even stream. Choose this type of irrigation head for watering slopes or anywhere you want slow, deliberate water delivery. These nozzles are designed to operate with low water pressure, making them adaptable to homes with water pressure in the 20-to-55 psi range. At high water pressures, rotary nozzles don’t revert to mist or fog.

Irrigation Timer

Include a programmable timer in your lawn irrigation set-up. Explore the world of smart timers, which gauge irrigation schedules based on local rainfall, average temperatures and even the evapotranspiration rate of grass (how fast the grass is actually using water). Set your timer to water during low water-use hours. That typically coincides with a pre-dawn irrigation schedule, which is also ideal for minimizing water loss to evaporation. If at all possible, don’t water lawns at night, which makes them more susceptible to disease development.

Soil Types

Explore your yard’s soil type to make the most effective lawn irrigation decisions. For instance, if you see puddling each time you water, your soil likely has high clay content. This type of soil can’t absorb water quickly, but instead requires repeated, shorter watering cycles. On the plus side, clay soil retains water longer than sandy soil, which needs more frequent watering. Take a soil test to learn what kind of soil is hosting your grass, and adjust irrigation cycles accordingly.

Watering Hills and Slopes

When watering slopes or hillsides, tinker with irrigation frequency and timing. You’ll have best success if you use short watering cycles spaced out over time. Water this area first, for instance, for a brief duration, and then let the system water another spot in the yard while the slope absorbs the water it received. Cycle back to apply another round of water to the slope. Use this same strategy to water clay soils effectively.

Shady Lawns

Grass growing in the shade uses less water than a sun-bathed lawn. In general, you can water shady lawn areas less frequently than sunny ones. The exception, though, is grass growing beneath a tree. In these shady spots, the lawn is competing with tree roots for available moisture. You may need to water these shady lawn areas more frequently than ones that are shaded by a structure. Remember to water deeply to encourage deep grass roots.

Waste Not

Take time to observe the irrigation system. Note where water delivery is coating hard surfaces, like walks or driveways, or where puddling is occurring on the lawn. Adjust nozzles and irrigation duration as needed to ensure you’re making the most efficient use of every drop of water.