child playing croquet on lush, healthy lawn
Photo: Keller + Keller
Water deeply, less often
Running a sprinkler daily does a lawn no favors. Turf naturally responds to droughts by developing a deep root system, maximizing its ability to absorb soil moisture, and if dry conditions persist, a deeply rooted lawn merely goes dormant until the next rain. If you overwater, however, roots stay within the top few inches of the soil's surface, making the grass dependent on you for its survival.

To judge whether a lawn actually needs water, simply step on it. If the blades don't bounce back, they're wilting and ready for a drink. Most lawns need about an inch of water per week in summer, less when the weather is cool or rainy. If you're unsure about how long to leave on your sprinklers, place a few empty tuna cans out in the yard and water for 15 minutes, then measure the water's depth in the cans. If it's a quarter-inch deep, for instance, you'll know the lawn needs an hour-long session each week. This test can also reveal deficiencies in an irrigation system's coverage; adjust accordingly to avoid overwatering an entire lawn just to green up a few missed spots. And for extra savings, consider investing in a "smart" controller, which automatically waters based on actual weather conditions.
Ask TOH users about Landscaping

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Landscaping