Lawn & Garden

Locations that enjoy warm weather during most of the year often find half, or more, of the water piped into homes goes right back out through hoses onto lawns and gardens. Even in northern climates the same thing happens in summer months.


  • The basic principle of lawn and garden watering is not to over water. Don’t follow a fixed schedule. Water when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. During a cool or cloudy spell, you don’t need to water as often.
  • Heat and wind will rob your lawn of water before it can use it. Avoid watering on windy days, and you’ll avoid having most of the water go where you don’t want it. Water in the cool of the day to avoid excess evaporation and the chance of harming the lawn.
  • Weeds are water thieves, too, so keep the garden free of them.
  • Let water sink in slowly. Lots of water applied fast mostly runs off into gutters. Also, if you let water sink deep, the lawn will develop deeper roots and won’t need watering as often but will be more resistant to disease and wear. For a low cost soaker system, you can take a large plastic bucket and put several small holes in the bottom; by filling the bucket with water and letting it run out slowly, you can target trees or shrubs to help develop their root systems.
  • Make sure sprinklers cover just the lawn or garden, not sidewalks, driveways, and gutters. Use soaker hoses to direct your water more precisely to spots that need it.
  • Keep track of how long you water. A kitchen timer is a handy reminder for turning off sprinklers.
  • Mow your lawn to minimum 3 inches in height for maximum insulation to the soil from sun and wind to minimize evaporation.
    Note: Be sure to keep sharp blades on mowers; a “dull” blade leaves a ragged edge to the cut which promotes and spreads disease.
  • Minimizing watering to only once or twice a week actually promotes drought resistance of your yard by forcing deeper root growth and less time sitting wet overnight propagating fungal growth.
  • Also note that the city has an ordinance requiring that a water sensor be installed in property irrigation systems. The sensor should be of the type that recognizes rainfall and evaporation of that rainfall as well as moisture content of the soil at a reasonable depth considering the health of the root system of the grass/plantings. The better the condition of the root system the deeper that sensor can be, preventing wasteful and expensive over-watering.