How to Water Your Lawn: A Step-By-Step Guide & Tips on Proper Lawn Watering

Watering your lawn to perfection is actually a fine art.

Like us, grass needs nutrients and those nutrients come in the form of sunlight, air, and water. However, too much of each can lead to unwanted dead grass.

I think we can all agree with me when I say that whilst on the surface watering lawn may SEEM easy, there is actually a fine line between a lush, green lawn and a swamp!

So how do we combat this?

The art of watering lawn can be compiled into 5 key skills that will help you nail your watering game every. Single. Time.

And what are these 5 magical steps, you ask?

Well, read on to find out not only how to water your lawn like a pro, but other amazing tips and tricks you can implement to keep your grass super healthy and lush!

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What You Need to Ace Your Watering Technique

Before you get started on watering your lawn, you want to make sure that you have the right tools at hand. You can slave away at watering your lawn to the best of your abilities but if you have the wrong tools, you’re wasting your time!

The first obvious essential tool you need is a hose.

Now, I know that you think that a hose is a hose but let me tell you, that the right hose will be the difference between a perfectly watered lawn and irregular watered lawn, so skip on buying the first cheap one you find at your local gardening store and invest in a solid and good quality hose!

person holding water hose and watering lawn

Not all hoses are created equal, and you’ll find that for watering lawn you don’t exactly want a hose that’s super heavy duty.

For efficiency, a soaker hose might be a good choice for those who not only want to save water but also those who want to save time!

If you don’t want a soaker hose, a sprinkler attachment on a regular hose would be preferable too as the key to well-watered lawn is maximum and consistent spread of water to reduce any inconsistencies that may occur.

A really good quality hose will kink less frequently, and everyone knows that hose pipes that kink are the WORST! Many hoses are branded as ‘kink-free’ but once you take it home, the truth is exposed, and you’re left with a super kinked hose that you probably paid an arm and a leg for.

Well, worry not!

An alternative to the traditional garden hose is the metal hose. Praised for being durable and essentially kink-free, this super-hose is great for those who don’t mind spending a tad more money to get the job done. You can still use a sprinkler head attachment with this type of hose which makes it even better!

Metal hoses are light and durable as well as corrosion-free, so if you buy a good quality one, you’re saving money in the long term since you have to replace it less often!

green garden hose sprinkler sprays water over grass

For a great guide on the best metal hoses for you, read our article here!

Still, on the topic of hosepipes, expandable garden hoses are great for achieving that bend-free dream! Their flexible design means that you can worry less about the bends and kinks in your garden hose, allowing for seamless plant watering!

The outer fabric lining means that it is less harsh on your grass whilst still being durable. They are also great for saving water as they are self-draining!

These hoses are super great as they’re an affordable alternative to the traditional rubber hose yet offering a longer lifespan and better efficiency, what more could you want?

Now, what’s the point in dragging on about hoses when majority of people hate lugging them around their garden? When on the mission to have the best water technique, we also want the best tools that can offer the best time management and let me tell you, heaving around a hosepipe is not time efficient, nor fun!

Enter, the hose reel cart.

These bad boys were invented to save gardeners some time – and strain – when transporting garden hoses around the yard. Designed for practicality, these accessories will provide you ease when watering your grass, especially if you happen to have larger yard space.

If you feel overwhelmed with choosing the best hose reel cart for you, read our 2021 guide on the best home for your hose.

watering hose equipment in green grass of backyard

How to Water Your Grass

Now onto what you actually came here for: how to water your grass.

Whilst it may seem as easy as water to grass, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most of your watering.

Step One: Invest in a Soaker or Sprinkler

The first step to watering your lawn in the best possible way is by investing in either a sprinkler or a soaker.

Sprinklers and soakers allow for even distribution of water across your lawn, this is important as you want to create a nice spread of water across all your grass so that you don’t end up with inconsistencies in grass health.

By just dumping your grass with water through a plain hose, you will most certainly have dryness in some areas whilst swamps in other areas, both of which can lead to dead grass.

Sprinkler heads attached to your hose pipe can help you achieve that even scatter of water as well as saving you time.

An alternative to sprinkler heads is an impact sprinkler on a tripod. This cool device adds extra height to reach further distances which is great if you’re blessed with a large garden.

With these impact sprinklers, you can adjust the sprinkling pattern to get the most out of your water usage too! The tripod is an added benefit is you can move the legs to help water uneven gardens. This tool is just an all-around beauty!

Soakers are great for grass health and efficiency. When using a soaker hose, you’re delivering the water straight to the roots, so little is lost through evaporation or the wind.

Another benefit to this mechanism is the reduced fungal disease that can occur when spraying plants directly with water. When we spray our lawns sometimes other plants get wet in the process, however, some plant types are sensitive to water on their direct foliage causing fungal disease, so using a soaker is a great way to reduce that issue!

Step Two: Water Your Lawn in the Morning

This might be weird, but your grass has a preferred feeding time. Strange, right!

The best time to water your lawn is in the morning and best avoided in the heat of the day.

Before 10 AM is the best time as the temperatures are the coolest and less evaporation occurs so the grassroots have the best chance at absorbing the water.

In addition to this, watering in the morning gives your grass a chance to dry out completely before nightfall, this is great as less fungal disease can grow in your grass.

A wet lawn at night, when on a regular basis, will lead to fungus and disease manifest and this will then be the cause of your unhealthy or dead lawn! Fungus can sneak up mysteriously and be a major hindrance to grass health so make sure that you water early to reduce this!

If you have a reticulation system, you can set the timer for early in the morning for less hassle for you!

If you can’t water your lawn in the morning, watering it any time is better than none, just make sure the grass has a chance to dry between waters!

automatic sprinkles watering plants in the garden

Step Three: Water More but Less Frequently

This might be hard for some people but watering your lawn for longer but only 2-3 times a week is better than doing a shallow water every day.

For grass to be at peak health it needs to develop a deep rooting system, this is what gives your lawn its strength and nice green color which is an obvious sign of a great water absorption system.

By watering every day for a short time you’re not only wasting water and time, but you’re also not giving your grass the right chance for it to establish a deep-root system.

Shallow watering creates shallow roots as the grass dries out quicker throughout the day, hence causing weak turf and pale grass.

The best method is to water your grass 2-3 times a week for a longer time period as this will not only create thick and deep roots but also make your grass drought-resistant when the summer heat hits.

Step Four: Your Grass Needs 1” to 1.5” of Water per Week

When going into winter or during winter, your lawn is more stressed and more likely to be a victim of damage due to the cold as well as heavy rainfall.

How do we stop this? By giving your grass 1” to 1.5” of water each week.

How do we measure that?

In winter we can measure this by getting a rain gauge which measures the depth of precipitation over a unit of space. Using a rain gauge will tell you how much moisture there is in your grass and if it isn’t at 1” – 1.5” then you should water it more.

In summer, the heat and dryness can be a burden on your grass and cause it to become dormant, giving the appearance of dead lawn. You can use a rain gauge after you’ve watered in the summer to check how much water you’re actually using and can adjust your amounts accordingly.

As a general rule of thumb, watering for about 20-30 minutes each session is probably best to get that optimal 1” – 1.5” of water.

Step Five: Check Your Soil and Grass Types

It is a well-known fact that different soil and grass types require different levels of water, and you can do all of the above steps and still not succeed in having really lush, green grass and that is probably due to the fact that you’re not aware of the soil and grass type that you have.

Clay soils retain moisture due to their density and lack of drainage, so only will require around a ½” per watering session. If you have sand-based soil, you can give your water a full inch due to its high drainage capacity and lack of density which makes the water run right through.

Grass types are also a super important factor in watering your lawn.

Cooler season grasses like ryegrass and bluegrass require more watering as they are designed to grow in wetter conditions. If you have this grass type, 2-3 deep waters are enough to maintain grass health.

If you have a summer season grass, these can be watered less, maybe 1-2 deep waters, as these variations are well known to be drought-resistant and can withstand the heat.

There you have the five easy steps on how to water your lawn like a professional!

These steps are super easy to follow and will guarantee the longevity of your lawn!

automatic garden lawn sprinkler watering grass

Tips and Tricks on Proper Lawn Watering

So now that you have the skills of watering lawn properly uncovered, what are some really good tips and tricks you should know about watering your lawn?

  • If you have localized dry spots in your lawn and you have no idea why, you might have a hydrophobic soil issue. If this is the case, you can use wetting agents in your soil to reduce the repellence in the soil and also help to maintain water consumption in that area.
  • If you struggle to know whether you’ve watered your lawn enough, the goal is for the water to reach 6” down into the soil. A great way to test this is to stick a screwdriver into the soil and if you can’t get it 6” deep then you most likely need to water more.
  • Don’t let your water run off the turf! Soils that are super dry and compact struggle to absorb water and this can cause run-off. To avoid this, you should make sure that your lawn is properly aerated so that the water has a good chance to be absorbed and create those great deep roots that will create healthy lawn. Run-off in your lawn can also be caused by OVER watering because this means that the soil can’t absorb any more water, so if you step on your grass and your shoes are soaked, chances are you’ve watered your lawn too much.
  • Check the pH level of your water. Water is considered to be neutral, however, can be more acidic or alkaline in some areas. This change in pH can cause major disruptions in your grass’s health and can inhibit its growing capabilities. Acidic water can dry out your grass as well as alter the calcium, potassium, and magnesium in the soil, malnourishing your grass. On the other hand, alkaline water can have the opposite effect and create a surplus of these minerals which can block the roots of your grass!
  • If you have a newly laid lawn, you should water it more often. New lawn hasn’t got its deep root system established and will take up to 12 months to develop these roots, so more frequent watering will promote growth.
  • Another nifty tip you can use to check if your lawn needs to be watered, tread firmly on the grass, if the grass doesn’t spring back and lays flat this is an indication your grass is thirsty and needs to be watered. If the grass springs back, then it doesn’t need to be watered yet.

For other cool tips and tricks that may or may not have been covered here, watch this YouTube video for a more visual representation.

FAQ

Can I water my lawn at night?

The best advice is to avoid watering your lawn at night as once you water it and nightfall sets in, the temperatures get cooler, and precipitation can fall on your grass causing it to be essentially over-watered.

Because evaporation doesn’t occur as significantly at night, you run the risk of the water just laying there and allowing for fungus and disease to manifest. This is a secret killer of grass, so to be on the safe side, water your grass early in the morning!

Is it better to water in the morning or the evening?

In relation to the first question, it is much better to water your grass as early as possible, before 10 AM is highly recommended.

This is because the grass has a chance to fully absorb the water before the heat of the day sets in and then when it is the hottest, any excess water can be evaporated.

To avoid fungus and disease, it is best to let the soil fully dry out between watering sessions, and watering in the morning creates this chance.

How often does grass need to be watered?

The amount you should water grass depends on many things. Factors such as the weather or season, grass types and soil types can all have an influence on how often you should water your grass.

In the warmer seasons, your grass will require more watering because trust me, it is THIRSTY. To avoid dryness in the summer, more deep watering in the morning will give your grass the best chance at survival under the scorching sun.

However, in the cooler seasons you can water your grass less, this is where rain gauges are important as they can tell you how much water your grass received overnight and if your grass has had a great drink, then you can skip a watering session to avoid any diseases.

Will watering dead grass bring it back to life?

There is a difference between ‘dead’ grass and ‘dormant’ grass and whilst they may look very alike, are not the same.

Dormant grass looks dry and dead and is a survival mechanism when grass is under stress. When watered it will usually revive back to its green state.

Not to be mistaken for dormant grass, dead grass, unfortunately, will not revive when watered, so you’ll have to lay down new grass seed and nurture it from there.

At what temperature should you stop watering grass?

You should not stop watering your grass at all however, cooler seasons require less watering as rainfall might cover you.

Using your rain gauge will help you determine how much more water your grass needs. In the cold weather, you risk having ground freezing which can kill grass, so watering can also stop this from happening.

How long should you water your lawn?

The best advice is to water for longer time periods, less frequently. Watering your lawn 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour each time is a much better choice than watering your lawn 6 times a week for only 15 minutes.

As I said above, deep watering stimulates deep roots to grow and sturdier too. By watering your grass so that it reaches 6” below ground level, you’re preparing your lawn to be more drought tolerant.

Summary

So, there you go. A great guide on how to water your lawn in the best way you can. This guide tells you how to water your lawn according to season, grass type and soil type – all of which are super important factors for maintaining a healthy lawn!

The best tip that I can offer out of all of this is watering your lawn, no matter what – or how – is better than not watering it at all!

So, after all of this, what do you guys think? Are there any other nifty tips and tricks that could be added to this guide?

Share this post with your other fellow gardeners and let’s all have healthy green grass together!

Until next time!

About the Author: Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.