Washington DC is a great place to be during springtime and summer with its moderately but not overly hot temperatures. This area is not a stranger to drought, however it usually gets the brunt of its rainfall in the peak of summer (which is great for lawn care). Conserving water has turned into a nationwide initiative, so we made an article that outlines tips on how to conserve water while maintaining the beautiful lush lawn that we all strive for.

    Irrigation Guide for DC Residents and Lawn Care Experts

    Irrigation can offer a very efficient way in watering the lawn as well as a method for water conservation: if used correctly. Here are some tips in achieving the best irrigation practices.

    Map out the yard

    Certain areas of the yard will not need as much water as other parts of the yard. Consider areas of the lawn that need no water at all, including driveways and sidewalks. Avoiding these areas will ensure there is no runoff water from your irrigation system. Heavily shaded areas do not need as much water as highly exposed areas however they will need a moderate amount. Obviously, the most exposed areas of the lawn need the most water. An irrigation system needs to work with these areas and they should be mapped out prior.

    Choose the right irrigation method for your lawn

    Drip Irrigation does very well in conserving water. It uses a drip technique that slowly releases water throughout the day, minimizing water lost by evaporation and runoff.  These systems do well with smaller lawns or gardens and are not recommended for large lawns.

    Automatic sprinkler systems are the most popular form of irrigation system for homeowners. They cover a wide area of land and have timer settings which leaves little to worry about. Homeowners should take into consideration that adjustments will need to be made throughout the year depending on the weather. If used correctly these systems can conserve water, however making sure there is no run off and that the sprinkler doesn’t hit any driveways or sidewalks is very important.

    Hand watering can be therapeutic for some people. If hand watering is something you like to do, make sure the lawn is getting enough water and not too much. The soil should be able to give way with the length of a screwdriver an hour after watering. This method works for any lawn, but may take some time with a larger lawn.

    For more information on irrigation and a detailed look on irrigation throughout the year click here.

    Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

    1. Use native plants in your garden & landscape

    In any region, it is best practice to use native plants and trees of the area. These varieties work well with the climate of the region and do not need much additional water. The sprinkler systems should be geared more towards hydrating the grass and only slightly watering additional plants. Using these types of plants will conserve water and make your irrigation system not work as hard.

    2. Keep grass length between 1.5 to 2 inches

    Keeping the grass at a medium height, at around 1.5- 2 inches, will shade the roots from sun exposure: meaning less water. If the lawn is cut shorter than this it will encourage grass roots to become short and shallow. This is not energy efficient and will require that the grass needs much more water to stay green.

    3. Keep track of rainwater

    Every household should have a small water collector that measures the amount of rainfall each week. All too often there will be sprinklers running while it is raining. Try not to be this person. Your lawn only needs about an inch of water each week in total.

    Pro tip: You should also keep track of your own water usage around the home. You can do so in Washington DC by clicking here.

    What is the best time to water my lawn?

    The best time to water a lawn is in the morning between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m. You can also water in the evening, however this can lead to over watering of the lawn. The morning is optimal because there is a low evaporation rate and it allows the water to soak into the roots. Any leftover water will quickly be evaporated when the sun rises.

    Local Lawn Watering Restrictions in Washington DC

    There are currently no water restrictions in Washington D.C. however there is an application that tracks how much water usage you have and alerts you when it is higher than normal.

    Read more: The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority’s Landscaping & Watering Guide

    Still looking for lawn care advice? Visit our Washington DC lawn care page, it’s the #1 lawn care resource for DC residents on the web!

    Top Photo: Flickr // Zuzka Grujbárová