Follow these 10 tips to get a gorgeous lawn without the high water bill this year:
Use a mulching mower to recycle grass clippings back onto the lawn. Mulching locks in moisture so the lawn needs less water.
Hard soil can prevent water from reaching deep enough to benefit the lawn, but aerating at least once a year improves its ability to absorb water. An aerator, which punctures holes into the soil, can be rented from a garden center for around $30.
3. Fertilize carefully
Don't add fertilizer on hot, dry months. Fertilizer can cause lawns to dry out, especially during the hottest times of the year. Use a slow-release fertilizer or fertilize in the spring when it is cooler.
4. Time it right
Water early in the morning or late at night and avoid watering during heavy winds. Watering at the hottest time of day is inefficient because the water evaporates in the hot sun; on windy days it blows away. Don't water on days when it rains.
5. Give it a good drink
It's better to water deeper and less frequently than to water often for short periods of time. On average, water should penetrate the soil up to 8 inches deep. To test how long this takes, water an area for 15 minutes. Wait up to 24 hours, then use a ruler or shovel to penetrate the soil to determine the depth of the moisture. If it is moist 8 inches deep, water each area for 15 minutes. Add or subtract time based on the soil test.
6. Don't overdo it
While watering deep is best, don't water to the point that it runs off the lawn and spills onto the driveway, curb, sidewalk or street. It wastes water, doesn't help the lawn, and can cause a spike in the water bill.
7. Be efficient
Take a look at the sprinklers when they run and make sure they're working correctly. Whether watering is done with automatic sprinklers or a portable one that you move around by hand, make sure water isn't pouring onto the sidewalk or being wasted in other areas.
8. Hand water problem areas
If a dry area needs additional watering, give it some TLC by hand watering instead of hitting it with sprinklers (which will over-water areas that don't need the extra help).
9. Don't cut too close
Raise the blade on the mower to prevent the grass from being clipped too short. Grass that is shorter dries out faster than taller grass and needs more water.
10. Know your climate
Get additional advice from the local extension office, water conservation organization, or utility company to find out water conservation tips that are specific to your climate.