Water coming out of a watering can head in a backyard

An average American family uses about 320 gallons of water daily. 30% (96 gallons) of this is used in outdoor roles. Surprisingly, more than half of this amount (48 gallons) goes to watering lawns, translating to 17,520 gallons of water annually. 

This astronomical figure begs the question, “Is watering your lawn a waste of water? And if so, how much water?”

This article will discuss if watering your lawn is a waste of water. We’ll also touch on lawn watering mistakes that waste water, leaving you with an astronomical bill. Whether a landscaper or a homeowner, this article presents what you need to know to water your lawn more efficiently. 

Is Watering Your Lawn a Waste of Water? 

Watering your lawn is not a waste since the grass needs water to grow deeper roots and encourage photosynthesis to remain lush. However, using the wrong lawn watering methods wastes water through overwatering and evaporation. Lawns need only an inch of water weekly, depending on grass type, location, climate, and other variables.

Why Watering Your Lawn Is Not a Waste of Water

We must agree that water is an essential natural resource supporting human, plant, and animal life. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with watering your lawn since it fosters the life cycle, which is essential for healthy ecosystems.

The sad reality is that water is a limited resource. Fresh water for human consumption makes up only about 3% of the total water on earth.

The situation of water shortage is worse in cities like California and Texas due to their high populations. Consequently, water managers in such cities try to lessen water consumption by increasing prices.

Due to high water prices, most US residents are reducing their water use. Some people achieve that by forgoing watering their lawns as it’s considered a waste of water. 

The front yard of a home with mostly dead grass.

However, despite the widespread belief that watering your lawn is a waste of water, doing so has the following benefits:

Maintaining a Healthy and Lush Lawn

What’s the purpose of having a lawn? Your guess is as good as mine—it’s for aesthetic appeal. 

A healthy and lush lawn increases your property’s curb appeal, making it attractive to potential buyers if you have plans to sell. Not to mention, a well-maintained lawn can increase a home’s value by up to $100K.

Watering your lawn helps in achieving that goal. Doing so nourishes the soil with water and nutrients, helping your grass grow deeper roots for better nutrient absorption. 

The consequences of not watering your lawn during hot and dry spells are dire. From brown patches, thinning grass, and increasing vulnerability to pests and diseases, your yard can’t survive without water.

Reducing the Heat Island Effect

The high concentration of structures such as roads, concrete buildings, and air conditioning generates a lot of heat in urban areas, resulting in the urban heat island effect (UHI). The intense heat is uncomfortable, costly to reduce, and puts people at risk of health complications such as heat cramps and exhaustion.

Infographic showing variability of the urban heat island effect between different environments
Courtesy of Go Smart Bricks

According to Science Direct, maintaining healthy grass helps cool surfaces, thus reducing the heat island effect. Therefore, watering your lawn in summer is one way of contributing towards reducing the heat island effect.

Improved Air Quality

Lusciously green lawns completely cover the soil surface, keeping all particles underneath. So how does this enhance a home’s air quality?

Well-maintained lawns covering the surface trap dust and other airborne particles, leaving the air fresh and clean for people to breathe. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for an unwatered lawn full of dust and allergens that make breathing challenging. 

Can you recycle dehumidifier water by watering your plants? Check out this article for the answer.

Reducing Soil Erosion

Lawns reduce soil erosion in two ways—by binding the soil particles firmly to each other and by absorbing water during heavy rainfall. In addition, the roots of grass penetrate deep into the soil, making it resistant to water erosion.

A cross-section of a soil profile with healthy grass growing on top.

Without enough water, the grass’s root system weakens, resulting in accelerated runoff and soil erosion when exposed to heavy rains.

When Is Watering Your Lawn a Waste of Water?

Watering your lawn becomes a waste of water when you water too much, too often, in the wrong way, and at the wrong time. Besides wasting water, this does more harm than good to your lawn. 

An improperly watered lawn faces stunted growth due to shallow roots resulting from waterlogging. In addition, watering your lawn incorrectly wastes between 750 and 1,500 gallons (2,839.06 and 5,678.12 liters) of water monthly.

Let’s look at lawn watering mistakes that make watering your lawn a waste of water:

Watering at the Wrong Time

Timing is crucial when sprinkling your lawns. You want as much water as possible to seep into the soil and benefit your turf.

Watering in the heat of the day is one mistake that wastes water. Instead of that water soaking down to the roots, it evaporates quickly due to the sun’s heat. 

It’s also not advisable to water your lawn late at night. Water sitting on the grass overnight makes it vulnerable to diseases and pests.

The ideal time to water is early morning, so the grass has enough time to absorb water before the sun rises. As a rule of thumb, ensure to water the lawn before 10 am. 

A sprinkler watering a backyard in the morning with the sunrise in back

If watering your lawn in the morning isn’t an option, make sure to do so in the evening between four and six pm. Don’t wait until late in the evening.

Improper Sprinkler Settings

Using a sprinkler is the most convenient way of watering your lawn. However, you need to pay attention to the settings, as the wrong ones can waste a lot of water.

For instance, setting your sprinklers too high will lead to water wastage due to overspray and evaporation. The same applies to sprinkler settings that are too wide or the wrong irrigation system control that keeps coming on when it’s not needed.

To be safer and avoid wasting water, ensure your irrigation system’s controller is set to cycle and soak. The cycle and soak setting applies water slowly, allowing the soil ample time to absorb it.

Watering Too Often

How frequently you should water your lawn depends on weather conditions such as temperature and rainfall. For example, if it’s been raining a lot or cooler than usual, your yard needs no more water than mother nature provides.

Watering your lawn in winter is a waste of water. Remember, most grasses, including St. Augustine, are dormant in winter. Therefore, they need at most one-and-a-half inches of water each month.

On the other hand, your lawn will require more water if you live in an area with hot summers. Suffice it to say, you must remain cautious of overwatering in summer because too much water harms the grass.

Expert Tip: Never water your lawn when temperatures drop below 40º Fahrenheit (4.44º Celsius). Frozen water on grass blades causes brittle and frozen grass that may eventually die.

Final Thoughts

Watering your lawn can be a waste of water, depending on how you do it. Overwatering, watering it at the wrong time, or too often are the primary drivers contributing to water wastage.

Therefore, if you want to save water and still have a healthy-looking lawn, consider the above mistakes and ensure your property is watered correctly.

Reusing greywater is one of the ways to save water. Check out this article for the benefits of reusing greywater. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *