Summer Lawn Maintenance: Watering Tips

Creative Ways to Save Money and Water While Keeping a Lush, Green Lawn

As the weather heats up and grass turns green, many homeowners add regular watering to their lawn maintenance routines to keep each blade lush and healthy. At the same time, however, many communities impose water restrictions in an effort to conserve resources, and utility companies may increase rates once consumers pass a certain level of usage. Through creative conservation, homeowners can maintain a beautiful lawn without wasting water or drowning in utility bills.

Basic Lawn Maintenance Watering Tips

The two biggest mistakes homeowners make when watering their lawn are using too much water and watering at inappropriate times. Lawns need far less water than most homeowners assume: an inch or two each week is more than sufficient for the most luxurious lawn. A rain gauge can be a useful tool to measure how much water the lawn has received, or a simple tuna can or container of similar depth can substitute. If the lawn receives regular rain, additional watering is usually unnecessary, and excess moisture may even damage the lawn. Yellow or pale grass is a sign of overwatering.

To make the most of lawn maintenance and watering, it is vital to water at appropriate times. Watering the lawn in morning or midday can be a waste: much of the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed and sunlight may refract through water droplets to scorch the lawn. The best time to water is in the late evening, after the sun has set, or during the early morning when the air is coolest. Furthermore, the lawn can drink best if the water is added all at once. Watering for just a few minutes every day only provides enough moisture to reach the upper roots, while the lower root system continues to dry out. This may damage the lawn by making it more susceptible to surface damage. Watering for a longer length of time on fewer days allows the deeper roots a sufficient drink and will easily sustain a healthy lawn.

Other basic lawn maintenance watering tips include:

- Position sprinklers to avoid wasting water on house walls, driveways, and other non-lawn areas.

- Move sprinklers and hoses periodically to avoid damaging the grass they rest on.

- Let grass grow slightly longer during summer months to take advantage of moisture in the air.

Summer Recreation: Watering the Lawn Can Be Fun

During the summer, it is easy to combine lawn maintenance with outdoor fun. Children adore playing in sprinklers, and moving the sprinkler to different parts of the lawn while they frolic insures that every blade of grass has a drink. Similarly, letting children control the hose under parental supervision not only gives them a fun way to cool off, but also introduces them to household chores and responsible lawn maintenance. If a kiddie pool is a common plaything, empty it over different parts of the lawn to recycle those gallons of water. Inviting children over for sprinkler parties and water fights are other ways to bring lawn maintenance together with outdoor summer fun.

Finding Extra Water: Drip By Drip Savings

Homeowners have more gallons of water at their disposal than those that come from sprinklers, hoses, and watering cans. A little creativity can help conserve water and lower summer utility bills while caring for a gorgeous lawn. Need to wash a car? Drive it onto the lawn and take advantage of every runoff drip as extra lawn care. The same technique can be used for washing pets or rinsing off outdoor furniture and toys.

Can laundry water a lawn? Absolutely, with greater savings than most homeowners imagine. Skip the spin cycle to cut electric bills and string the dripping garments over a clothesline to let them give the lawn a drink. If swimwear and beach towels need to dry, wringing them out and hanging them over different patches of grass can help nourish the lawn as well.

Even summer treats can augment lawn maintenance. Snow cones, juice pops, and frozen treats inevitably melt - encouraging children to eat these icy snacks on the lawn guarantees that every drop can benefit the grass. Watermelon is a traditional summer treat, and each sticky drip can add a sweet drink to the lawn's consumption. After a picnic, empty coolers over the lawn to reuse the now melted ice to refresh the grass.

Where else can you find a few extra drops to recycle on lawn maintenance?

- When cleaning a fish tank, pour the used water onto the lawn instead of down the sink.

- Collect rainwater from household gutters to use for watering plants and flowerbeds.

- Toss used ice from cool drinks onto the lawn instead of down the drain.

Going Dry: Landscaping to Lessen Lawn Maintenance

If water bills are too big a drip in the budget and the homeowner is drowning in lawn care, low-water landscaping (called xeriscaping) can solve both issues. When replanting flowerbeds or shrubbery, choose drought-resistant plants. The best flora are those native to the region, since they are naturally accustomed to the level of precipitation and will require less additional water. Not only will they help reduce water bills, but their natural beauty will enhance the home's value.

If installing new plants is too much trouble or expense, simply removing plants reduces water consumption. Many landscapers offer decorative river rock and bark in a range of colors and styles, and a rock bed accented with a statue, gazing globe, or birdbath can be a unique and attractive alternative to thirsty flowerbeds. Consider adding a stone path or wider landscaping curbs to further decrease the overall lawn area.

From summer fun to creative recycling, homeowners have many options to water their lawns without opening the flood gates on high lawn maintenance bills. Each step may only be a small drip in the bucket, but they can add up to saving plenty of water and money while managing a healthy lawn that families will enjoy all season.