How to Properly Water Your Lawn

Black Sprinkler with blue nozzle spraying water

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Are You Watering Your Lawn Too Much? Or Not Enough?

We all want the best for our yards. It’s often the first thing we see as we walk up or out of our homes, and where our families play all summer. So naturally, we want to keep your grass looking lush, green, happy and healthy. That begins with keeping a proper watering schedule all season long.

With improper watering, you could do more harm than good. Water at night, and you could give your grass a prime environment for harmful disease. Don’t water enough, and you’ll create a shallow root system.

Determine how long to water your yard and when, and you’ll be ready to enjoy great green grass all season.

Let’s learn the rules for proper watering.

First, is Your Yard Even Thirsty?

To determine if your yard is getting enough water, simply walk on it. Does the grass bounce back right away? Great! More than likely, it has adequate water. If your tracks stay pressed down, however, your yard’s lips probably quiver every time it sees you sucking down a nice cool glass of water while sitting on your front steps. Don’t be so cruel. Water it. Here’s how.

Make it Part of Your Morning Routine

Water grass in the early morning when the air is cooler and the winds are low. This enables the water to penetrate deeply into the soil and grass root system. Watering during the hottest parts of the day leads to losses of up to 30% due to evaporation. Think of that as 30% more water bill with nothing to show for it.

“I Thought it Was Best to Water in the Evening.”

It was often thought that if you watered in the evening, your yard could enjoy all that nice water without worry of the day’s hot sun cooking it off. Unfortunately, watering at night makes your yard susceptible to diseases. If you choose to water later, make sure you do it around 4–6pm. This allows your yard to use its water and dry off before the cooler nightfall.

Watch Where You Water

Man taking care of sprinkler and irrigation system in front lawn

You don’t mow your sidewalk, driveway, or side of house, so make sure you don’t water it either. Adjust your sprinklers to the correct spray zone to eliminate wasting water and driving up that water bill. Keep in mind that shady areas also don’t need as much water.

Choose Your Sprinkler System

Above-ground sprinklers are just as beneficial, but you’ll want to be mindful of when and where you spray and move your sprinkler often to provide consistent coverage. These come in two types: pulsating and oscillating.

In-ground irrigation systems with pop-up heads use sophisticated controllers that can be set to go off at ideal times or day, and can be adjusted to only spray key areas.

Pulsating sprinklers should be reserved for mature lawns. Their force is too strong for newly planted grass seed and will wash away the seeds and soil.

Oscillating sprinklers tend to be gentler and ideal for new lawns as the grass root system is still trying to be established.

What is the Most Efficient Way to Water Your Lawn?

Water for shorter periods more often. For example, running your sprinkler for three 5-minute intervals lets more water absorb versus running for 15 minutes at a time. You don’t have to water every day. Aim for twice a week. This also helps reduce excess runoff that comes from overwatered lawns.

Get Down to the Roots

The whole point of watering your grass is to get the water deep into the soil to promote deep-root growth. Your lawn is getting the right amount of water when the soil is wet 6” down. To check, use a long screwdriver and drive it into the ground. If it easily goes in 6”, your soil is properly watered. If you face resistance, the soil is still too hard and dry and needs more water.

Change with the Seasons

Toro evolution sprinkler timer on house near bushes

Different seasons call for different approaches to watering your lawn. If you have an irrigation system, adjust the watering scheduled regularly based on seasonal weather conditions. Or, invest in a smart controller. It will adjust these settings automatically. We recommend Toro’s EVOLUTION series irrigation controller.

When paired with a Smart Connect® wireless weather sensor and the associated wireless accessories, the Toro EVOLUTION controller helps you better manage your water usage by using live temperature and solar measurements as well as historical weather data for a particular location to calculate the right amount of water needed from the irrigation system.

Start Watering

Watering your yard properly takes time and practice, but following this guide is a great first step to get you going and your grass greener.