How to Keep Your Lawn Green While Also Conserving Water

by Team HomeServe
Man watering lawn

Summer and the surrounding warm months are characterized by lush green lawns that are the perfect setting for picnics or frolicking through sprinklers. As such, it's important to use sound lawn watering tips during the hot summer months and throughout the year. However, it’s equally important to conserve water, especially in areas where rainfall may not be plentiful. Is it possible to do both?

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Absolutely! Here are the answers to your most pressing questions on how to maintain green grass while also saving water.

How Many Minutes a Day Should You Water Your Lawn?

Watering your lawn is not a matter of time but rather of moisture levels in the soil. Only when it is dry 6 inches below the grass is watering required. Once you begin, water in small increments until the soil is moist, then stop.

Instead of watering for a predetermined number of minutes and disregarding the moisture content of the soil, this is a better way to nourish your lawn and avoid wasted water.

How Can I Save Water When Watering My Lawn?

Though it may not seem as such, there are ways to save water when watering your lawn. Consider a few tried and true tips:

  • Maintain your lawn. The more grass you have, the more water you'll need. Go too short, however, and the blades won't retain the moisture. Hire a lawn service and schedule weekly mowing. Keep grass to about two inches in length. This is the ideal height to retain moisture while avoiding the need to use more water.
  • Save rainwater. Harvest the rainwater to save on the municipal supply you might ordinarily use to water your lawn. For instance, use rain barrels to save rainwater and water your lawn with what you collect.
  • Aerate the grass. Another way to save water when watering your lawn is through aerating the grass. This will help it retain moisture when you water it.
  • Use drought-resistant plants in other areas of the yard. Drought-tolerant plants require less watering and can help to avoid wasted water.
  • Allow Mother Nature to handle the job. If rain is forecast for your region, skip manual watering that day and let the rainfall nourish your lawn.
  • Include elements that help absorb moisture. For example, lining your lawn with mulch, rocks or gravel can help it to hold in moisture. This can also help to extend the time between waterings.
  • Adhere to local water restriction guidelines. If you live somewhere with water restriction guidelines in place, be sure to adhere to them. While this may force you to get more creative with ways to keep your grass healthy, it also ensures that you don't make any water shortage issues worse.
  • Find other areas of the home to conserve water. For example, don't use the garden hose to wash down patios and walkways. Engage in other water-saving habits inside of the home. This will leave you more leeway when it comes to watering your lawn.

How Do I Keep My Grass From Drying Out While Saving Water?

Consider the time of day that you water your grass. For optimal moisture retention, the best time to water grass is early in the morning or once the sun has gone down. Watering in the middle of the day — when it is hottest — will only cause the water to evaporate before your grass gets any benefits from it. Never water grass on a windy day because the wind will spread the moisture before it has a chance to settle in the soil. Pay attention to external conditions before deciding to water.

You should also carefully inspect your home's lawn irrigation to ensure it's working efficiently. This way, you won't waste water through unsuspecting leaks each time the system kicks on.

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Should a Lawn Be Watered Every Day?

Whether you should water daily depends on the type of grass you have, how healthy it is, the health of your entire landscape and the environmental conditions in your area. Drought conditions may compel you to want to water more, but this may also be a time when you should practice water conservation.

Stay in tune with the soil. This will give you clues as to when you need to water your lawn. If the soil underneath the grass feels moist, your lawn doesn't need watering. Soil moisture is a good indicator for a lawn watering schedule. Once you get a general idea of how often the soil dries out, you can set your sprinkler system on a more regular timer to keep grass looking healthy.

Which Uses More Water, Grass Seeds or Sod?

Grass seeds may offer options in terms of seed variety, but sod is an ideal option for those that don't want to undergo that patchy, sensitive new growth phase or the unsightly brown spots. Planting new grass will require substantially more water than installing sod.

Moreover, as the sod grows deeper roots, it will become easier to maintain. Then, you can establish a watering schedule that may be as infrequent as once a week, depending on the conditions in the region where you live.