How to Use Lawn Sprinklers Without Wasting Water

Lawn water sprinkler spraying water

As a homeowner, there’s little more satisfying than gazing out at your lush, green expanse of grassy lawn. When you have a yard, you know that watering is essential for getting it as green as can be. However, to protect the environment and your wallet, you don’t want to point your hose haphazardly and hope for the best. 

Thankfully, it’s possible to attain your dream yard and garden without wasting a lot of water. Here are some lawn sprinkler water-saving tips and tricks to help you reduce water waste and save on your water bill. 

Timing is everything.


The best time of day to water your lawn and garden is in the early morning. Experts say that it’s best to water your lawn between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Setting off your garden sprinklers at some point during this time frame allows your grass to soak up water before it evaporates in the heat of the day while also avoiding the oversaturation that leads to lawn fungus. 

Be sure to keep an eye on the weather; a rainy day means you don’t need to water as much. Consider placing an inexpensive rain gauge in your yard will allow you to see how much rainwater your lawn is getting. 

Be aware of how much water your lawn needs.

Do some research into how much water a lawn of your size requires compared to how much water your sprinkler lets out. To get a rough estimate of your usage, compare how many turf zones you have with how many minutes per cycle your lawn sprinklers put out. 

Most sprinkler systems use around 12 gallons of water per minute. If left unchecked, that could mean a lawn filled with standing water. A general rule of thumb is to water three days a week in the spring and summer and two days a week in the fall and winter. Follow these steps to determine your lawn’s “sweet spot.”

Use runoff and watering zones to your benefit.

To conserve water across larger yards—and help avoid standing water—you can create watering zones that strategically use water runoff. Your yard’s landscape likely needs different amounts of water, so be sure to water it accordingly. For example, if a section of your yard includes trees and shrubs that don’t require as much water as the grass below them, you can water the grass separately. The grass will receive the runoff water from the trees and shrubs as well as the water from the garden sprinklers. You can even learn how to build a rain garden to channel runoff.

If you use an automated sprinkler system, direct water to the different parts of the lawn as needed by zoning grass versus trees and shrubs; sloping areas versus flat areas; and shady spots versus sunny spots. 

Perform regular maintenance. 

If your sprinklers are clogged, leaking, or otherwise broken, it could end up costing you a lot of money due to wasted water. Detecting leaks in your water sprinklers early—and fixing them promptly—will help you avoid making a deluge of water bill payments. 

To maintain your sprinklers, clean the sprinkler heads regularly. If you notice a damaged part of the sprinkler or any loose or detached wires, be sure to repair or replace it as soon as possible. Checking your sprinklers’ valves, pipes, voltage, and transformers often will help keep your sprinklers and yard in tip-top shape.

Use a lawn irrigation system or efficient sprinklers.

Watering your lawn manually with a hose isn’t always efficient. To save time and money, consider installing a drip irrigation system, which helps prevent overwatering by consistently providing water to a plant’s roots. A lawn irrigation system can significantly cut down your water usage.  

You can also invest in a water-saving lawn sprinkler that directs water flow and uses much less water than conventional spray head sprinklers. These cost-effective, efficient sprinklers typically have rotating nozzles that uniformly sprinkle water low to the ground. If the idea of waking up at 5 a.m. to water the lawn is unappealing, you may want to look into smart sprinkler controllers, which connect to the internet, respond to weather data, and automate the watering process so you barely have to lift a finger.


Now that you’ve learned how to reduce water waste with strategic sprinkling, check out our guides for yard-draining solutions and conserving water at home

To further safeguard your home and budget, consider signing up for an American Home Shield® home warranty. Though we don’t provide coverage for garden sprinklers, we do cover parts of up to 23 home systems and appliances when they break down due to wear and tear. With comprehensive coverage and flexible pricing and plans, a home warranty from American Home Shield means peace of mind and budget protection.

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.