Don't we all love a well-cared lawn? Using a sprinkler system to water your lawn is beneficial, but utilizing alternatives produce the same lush, green lawn you desire.
There are ingenious and resourceful methods every gardener has tried. It may be as simple as using a gardening hose or installing a drip irrigation system.
In this post, I'm going to introduce 4 different ways to water your even without a sprinkler system, as well as when and how to water your lawn.
What Happens When You Do Not Water Your Lawn
- Pesky weeds can overtake your unhealthy lawn.
- Underground pests may damage your plants and grass.
- A lawn left too dry may develop a dry patch, which makes straw-colored grass. If this happens, the lawn becomes relatively futile because the soil particles grow a waxy covering that deters water.
The Problem with Watering Lawn Using a Sprinkler System
The main disadvantage of using a sprinkler system is its high operating cost. Watering lawn using a sprinkler system can become expensive depending on the size of your property.
Moreover, installing pipework and attaching it to your home's plumbing system would mean digging up portions of your lawn. This could mean days or weeks of not using the lawn. Afterward, you still have to consider landscaping.
Meanwhile, a lot of wind can damage a sprinkler system, which may result in water being directed in the wrong direction. Fixing a sprinkler system can be much costlier than replacing a broken garden hose.
Water from the sprinkler system may sometimes include a large amount of salt, saline, sand, and debris.
The Best Ways to Water Lawn Without a Sprinkler System
Semi-automatic systems or exerting physical effort to water lawn are the best lieu for a sprinkler system.
Regardless of the method, watering lawn without a sprinkler system will only be successful if the water is shooting as close to the ground as possible.
As long as you shoot water directly at the lawn, the least amount of water will be lost to evaporation.
The 4 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Water Lawn Without a Sprinkler System
An average homeowner may be turned off by the cost of keeping an automated sprinkler system. But sometimes we just have to be creative and practical in solving this problem.
Here are 4 convenient and water-conserving ways to water lawn without a sprinkler system. These methods won't consume too much water, but won't deprive your lawn of needed moisture.
- Purchase A Garden Hose
- Consider A Traveling Sprinkler System
- Use A Hoover Wand System
- Install A Drip Irrigation System
Purchase a Garden Hose
If you have the time to do it, you can water lawn using a garden hose in just 15 to 20 minutes every day.
You can then divide your lawn into 5 to 7 zones and water each zone in a corresponding day. This frequency also applies to the other methods in this post.
In this way, you will be able to focus your watering efforts to a smaller zone. Hence, providing more water for deeper penetration into the lawn.
Remember to direct the water as close to the lawn as possible. This system enables you to identify the number of days that your lawn can survive without needing water.
Additionally, you need to consider the time of the year when creating a zone for watering the lawn using a hose.
The hotter months, especially summer, will require you to water lawn more often than the months of winter, autumn, and spring.
Consider a traveling Sprinkler System
Using a hose could be time-consuming and physically tiring when you have a larger lawn or only one person is watering the lawn.
In this case, I suggest using a walking sprinkler system, which slowly travels across the lawn while it is being watered.
You simply have to lay out a water sprinkler’s hose where you want the sprinkler to go.
A walking sprinkler follows a hose line, which means it returns to where the sprinkler is attached to the connecting point at your lawn.
In addition, the head of a walking sprinkler also shoots water horizontally across the lawn. This is a good system to conserve water since the sprinkler head shoots the water from a height of about 6 inches above the ground.
Thus, there is much less chance for the water to evaporate or to be carried away by the wind.
It has a spray range of about 15 to 55 feet in diameter and can cover a lawn in excess of 13,000 square feet.
Some models come with various speeds that allow modification of saturation levels.
Use a Hoover Wand System
Another effective solution I’ve tried to water lawn is by using a hoover wand system, which is attached to your hose and runs parallel to the ground.
A long tube serves as the arm where the water comes out. There are small holes drilled into the tube, whereby the water pressure from the hose compels the water downward in a water jet like manner.
Additionally, you need to own a handle extending towards the ground, similar to a hockey stick, for this type of watering method to be successful.
The extended handle enables you to stand upright while the water is being distributed about 10 to 12 inches above the lawn.
A hoover wand system is another optimal way for the water to penetrate the lawn faster than a horizontal sprayer type system or quicker than a drip because of the pressure of the water being dispensed.
Therefore, the force from the water shooting at the lawn helps suspend the longer horizontal tube in the air, making it nearly light to grasp.
Install a Drip Irrigation System
The drip irrigation system is another convenient solution to water lawn without a sprinkler system, especially if the water source is scarce.
This is because the water used to soak the lawn drips from a container directly toward the root portion of your plants.
It works by using small tubes positioned strategically on the lawn. In this way, you maintain your lawn in its greatest possible condition because the roots directly absorb the nutrients from the water.
The drip irrigation system also keeps the moisture, therefore preventing the leaves from drying out.
When Is the Best Time to Water Lawn Without a Sprinkler System?
I'm sure you've received several suggestions about the appropriate time to water your lawn. Some say it should be daily, twice a week, once a week, or just rely on the rain.
There are people who believe watering lawn should only be done at night while there are others who religiously water lawn early in the morning.
Generally, it is best to water lawn in the morning compared to the evening. In reality, condensation and watering lawn at night can lead to your grass developing diseases due to excessive moisture.
Yet, if you only have other time periods of the day to water lawn, remember to saturate the ground to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.
Most gardeners who maintain a mature lawn saturate the ground using 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week.
This system could be done on different days of the week or all at once. There are giveaway signs as to when you should water the lawn.
For example, water your lawn for longer periods of time or more often when the grass is starting to show brown spots. When you notice wilting, your lawn is begging for deeper water penetration.
Likewise, spending a few minutes in watering your lawn on a daily basis will cause a shallow root system. As a result, your lawn becomes susceptible to drying out in the long run.
On the other hand, you may water your lawn every day during the hotter months because the top 6 to 10 inches of the ground will dry out quickly.
Before watering your lawn without a sprinkler system, ensure that the plants and grass are prepared to absorb water. It is recommendable to mow the lawn until the grass is around 2 inches tall.
When the grass achieves the ideal height, then you can strictly follow your schedule on when to tend and water your lawn.
Consequently, this will create a routine for you that will make maintaining and watering lawn easier.
How Much Water to Use in a Lawn
Most established lawns require 1 inch of water per week to soak the top 6 to 8 inches of the soil. An inch of water can either be divided into two 1.5-inch watering schedules per week or applied during a single watering.
Know the Type of Plants and Grasses in Your Lawn
It is imperative that you have knowledge about the basic things found on your lawn, especially the type of plants and grasses.
In some cases, you have to follow certain techniques and rules depending on the type of your grasses and plants so you won’t waste any resources or effort in watering lawn without a sprinkler system.
How to Know If You've Watered Enough
Use a screwdriver to test how deep the water has moved every 15 minutes of your watering. Identify the time once the water has soaked the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
Similarly, you can place clean, empty cans in different zones around the lawn to measure how long it takes to collect 1 inch of water in each can.
Furthermore, you can use a water timer or flow timer that measures water flow in hundreds of gallons.
Multiply the square footage of your lawn by 0.62 gallons, which is equal to an inch of water per square foot, to identify the total number of gallons necessary for the entire lawn.
If your lawn isn’t absorbing water as quickly as it should be or puddling happens whenever you water, I suggest watering your lawn in shorter cycles.
You must efficiently utilize the best method to water your lawn to keep your plants and grass moisturized. In addition, you must diligently follow the watering schedule that applies best to your zones.
As explained earlier, watering lawn is more effective before dusk or early in the morning. Such time periods allow your plants and grass to absorb more moist.
Using a sprinkler system means consuming a large amount of water, but the four methods I’ve explained are as effective as using an automatic sprinkler system.
It takes knowledge and resourcefulness to maintain and water lawn without a sprinkler system.
Like all other things about maintaining a healthy lawn, a little experimentation works from time to time. Sometimes it could even be better depending on your circumstances.
In the end, you’ll achieve the best way to water lawn without a sprinkler system.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.