Lawn & Garden

The amount of water used outdoors can vary greatly. Water consumption can be as much as 500 - 5,000 gallons per day during the summer months. Be "water-wise".

  • Water only when needed - Frequency depends on the type of plants and soil conditions.
  • Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water - Water runoff is a huge waste.
  • Water slowly, deeply and less often - Longer watering cycles allow roots to lengthen and strengthen, allowing hardiness in drought conditions.
  • Longer watering times mean fewer days of watering - Water every 3-4 days, if possible.
  • Install a trickle or drip irrigation system for a slow, steady supply of water to the plant roots. This method can save up to 60% over other watering techniques.
  • If you can not install a drip or bubble system for your landscaping needs, use a soaker or other porous walled hose.
  • Water the lawn in the evening, night, or early morning when evaporation is less likely to occur. Avoid watering during the heat of the day.
  • Turn off the sprinklers during windy or rainy weather.
  • Is rainy weather expected? Turn off automatic sprinklers when rain is in the forecast and avoid watering the following day, if the rainfall was sufficient.
  • Replace leaky or broken sprinklers and sprinkler heads promptly.
  • Regularly watch the spray pattern on set sprinkler systems. Often they get misaligned. Overspray on streets, driveways, fences, etc., is wasteful.
  • Consider water requirements when purchasing new plants.
  • Use native plants when landscaping your lawn. Generally, native plants require less care and water than other ornamental varieties.
  • Place a layer of organic mulch around plants and trees to avoid excessive evaporation. This includes bark, grass clippings or compost. Mulch helps to hold moisture into the soil.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Use a broom, not a hose, when cleaning driveways and walkways.
  • Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle to wash the car.
  • Locate the master water supply valve and label it. The master supply valve, usually just outside of the water meter box, can be easily turned off in case of a major leak or broken pipe.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts manually instead of hosing them down.
  • Leftover glasses of water around the house? Don't dump down the drain, water your plants.
  • Cleaning the freshwater fish tank? Use that fishy water to fertilize your plants and garden.
  • Place rain buckets or barrels under rain gutter downspouts. Collect and use it to water outdoor plants.
  • Immediately report sprinkler breaks or problems to the owner or caretaker of the property.
  1. Determine Water Needs
  2. Lawn & Plants Need Moisture
  3. When & How Much Water

Determine Watering Needs

Here's a simple way to determine your lawn watering needs:

  • Place 5 or more flat bottom test cans or coffee mugs randomly around your lawn.
  • Turn on your sprinkler(s) for 15 minutes.
  • Measure the depth of the water in each test can with a ruler to determine the average water depth in the test cans.
  • Refer to the Watering Chart and read the number of minutes you should water, every 3rd day. Record the times for future reference.

Watering Chart

Average Depth
in Test Cans
Minutes to Water
in Spring
Minutes to Water
in Summer
Minutes to Water
in Fall
1/8 inch
30 60 24
1/4 inch
15 30 12
3/8 inch
10 20 8
1/2 inch
7.5 15 6
5/8 inch
6 12 4.75
3/4 inch
5 10 4
1 inch
4 8 3.33
1 and 1/8 inch
3.33 6.66 2.5

Reminder: Use this chart as a guide only, and alter your water practices according to climatic conditions. Decrease watering times and frequencies during cool and / or humid weather. Skip at least 1 scheduled watering after any substantial rainfall.