The Right Way to Water and Feed a Lawn

Keeping your lawn properly watered and fertilized will ensure its health and appearance. Here are a few tips to keep a lawn healthy.
keep lawn properly watered and fertilized

keep lawn properly watered and fertilized

Figure B

Watering the Lawn

Grass needs about one inch of water per week. Many people tend to over-water. Don’t water lightly several times a week. Water once or twice, deeply. Water heavily, then wait a day or two to let the soil dry out. Then water again. Learn how to manage your water. If you don’t know how much or how often to apply water in your area, call your county extension agent for advice.

Paper Cup Demo

Place about 10 paper cups, weighted down with rocks or coins, in random spots in your yard. Place your sprinkler in its usual position and let it run for 30 minutes. Examine the amount of water in each cup. If the amount of water in each cup isn’t even, your sprinkler is not applying water uniformly. Adjust your sprinkler or move it around in the yard so that the entire yard receives the same amount of water.

Irrigation Options

If you don’t want to get out in the yard with your hose or sprinkler, you may want to consider installing an irrigation system. Some systems use satellite technology to water your lawn according to your area’s weather forecast. If you have an irrigation system that’s timed to go off at certain times, remember to readjust it if you’ve had a lot of rain. You don’t want to over-irrigate your lawn.


Experts say fertilize at least three to four times a year. Use a slow release fertilizer because the nitrogen breaks down slowly to provide your lawn with a constant feeding. Don’t apply fertilizer in hot weather because it will burn your lawn. Some experts say all three numbers on the fertilizer bag should be the same. The first number represents the amount of nitrogen. The second number represents the amount of phosphorus. The third number represents the amount of potassium. Apply fertilizer using a spreader. Pour half of the bag into the spreader and walk up and down in your yard. Pour the other half in the spreader and apply in a perpendicular pattern.

Next Up

Lawn Fertilizers Explained

The finer points of applying fertilizer, organic or not, to the lawn are discussed.

Fertilizer Tips

Fertilizer is key to full and healthy grass. Here are some basic tips about fertilizing.

How to Maintain Garden Hoses, Sprinklers and Watering Accessories

Here's the dirt on garden hoses, specialized attachments, sprinklers, watering accessories, and how to tame an unruly hose.

Lawn Watering Basics

Follow these tips for a crash course in watering a lawn.

Soil Preparation for Perennials

Perennial plants live in the same place for many years, so it's important to start them out in good soil.

Simple Soil Tests

A few simple tests can determine what you need to do to help your soil and improve your gardening results.

The Benefits of Compost

Often called "black gold," compost is valued for giving plants a boost when added to the soil of garden beds. Learn how to give your compost pile the jumpstart it needs.

Fertilizer Facts

Learn key basics about fertilizer that will help you select the right type based on your soil composition and growing conditions.

Tips for Watering a Lawn in Summer

Watering the lawn efficiently and appropriately involves more than simply watering every day.

Sod Farming Tips

Delta Bluegrass is a 2,000-acre farm in Stockton, Calif., that grows the flawless turf seen in upscale residential landscaping, golf courses and even sports stadiums.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.