How can I make sure my lawn is fully watered with the regulations of Austin, Texas?

In September 2012, strong regulations were placed to help ensure proper water usage for the city of Austin, Texas.  The city has a mandatory watering schedule in place all year for all customers.  With this plan in place (as seen below) how can one still ensure that their Austin lawn stays properly watered?  Can watering once a week be enough to meet its demands and allow it to look its best? The answer is ‘Yes’ and the key to this is not necessarily the amount you water your lawn but more so, how you do it.

Austin receives on average 32.15 inches of rain which is over 10% below the Texas average of 36.04 inches of rain.  Texas also ranks 34th in annual rainfall per year out of the 50 states.  Texas lawn care is important year round and these statistics alone are enough to bring up some worry in regards to ensuring your lawn is properly hydrated.  Throw on a few more regulations, and you can have a rather large concern on your hands.

No need to worry though!  As stated before, it’s not just how much you water your lawn, but how you go about it through 5 helpful steps:

1. Water when the time is right for the grass

Watering on a consistent schedule works well.  It makes it harder to forget to water your grass and helps you follow that Austin water regulation schedule.  However; be considerate of your grass’ response to this given schedule.  Overwatering can be bad for your lawn’s health, leading to the growth of weeds and other various lawn diseases.  Dehydrating is even worse though.  Examine your grass and determine if it 1) does not bounce back when stepped on or 2) has developed a blue-gray tint.  These are two signs your grass needs to be watered a bit more.

2. Water when the time is right during the day. 

Avoid watering from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM.  This is the hottest period of the day and is the least efficient.  When spraying a hose or a sprinkler there is that brief time period before the water hits the ground from the hose.  During this time period, water has the opportunity to evaporate and never go to any use for your lawn.  Watering early in the morning is best; it allows the lawn to take in all the water throughout the day and brace through blistering heat.

3. Make sure to water deeply

It is important to water your grass deeply so the roots can have a strong footing in your lawn.  Strong roots are one of the hidden keys to lawn care success!  How do you exactly water deeply though?  Well, the most important thing is to avoid frequent light waterings. This behavior prompts the grass to have shallower roots that remain toward the surface.  In order to avoid this, take advantage of the fact that Austin residents are only allotted one day to water their lawns.  When this one day comes around (unless it follows a large rain storm) your grass will be quenching water.  Ensure to provide an impressive amount for a given period of time.  A rarer longer sprinkle goes much farther than frequent quick ones.

4.  Water tough areas by hand instead of with a sprinkler

Many people make the mistake of believing that every component of their lawn will be taken care of by the sprinkler.  DON’T fall into this assumption.  Pay specific attention to those zones that will never face the luxury of shade and ensure that you give that fact proper respect.  If needed water them more than once a week.  Do not overcompensate for that given area by progressing to re-water your entire lawn.  This lesson is more common sense; however, is embarrassingly one of the most commonly not accounted for.

5.  Get to know your lawn.

Soil types vary on Texas lawns.  Get to know your lawn and get to know what specifically may work the best for it.  Do things such as estimating how much water you may need based on soil types in your lawn.  Take into account surrounding lawns with a greater focus on those you admire and take lessons from their grooming back to your yard.  Ultimately the only thing separating your neighbor’s lawn from your own may be a fence.

Remember, watering is an Austin lawn care staple, and is just as important as regular lawn mowing.  Be sure to follow these tips in order to keep a healthy lawn while complying with Austin’s regulations.


Scott Johnson

Scott is a research analyst and writer for the LawnStarter blog. He's a lawn care expert, avid gardener, and dog lover.