How Long To Water Your Lawn With a Sprinkler

Maintaining a healthy lawn requires regular watering, but how long to water your lawn with a sprinkler for optimal growth can be confusing. The fact is, though, that the duration of watering is more important than the frequency, and depending on where you live, you may need to adjust your watering schedule depending on weather conditions and the type of soil in your yard.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about how long to water your lawn with a sprinkler so you can get the best results. Pay attention to local weather forecasts and keep an eye on your lawn’s condition to determine if it needs more or less water. And don’t forget to turn off your sprinkler when it rains! Keep reading to learn more.

Why Water Your Lawn?

Why does your lawn need watering in the first place? Well, there are many benefits to watering your lawn. First of all, it keeps your lawn healthy and lush. A well-watered lawn is more resistant to pests and diseases, so you’ll spend less time and money on lawn care.

It will also hold your ground soil together much better, and the roots of your grass will stretch further into the dirt. This helps to reduce erosion or uneven parts of your lawn. In addition, a lush, green lawn also looks great and can add curb appeal to your home.

Types Of Sprinklers

Different types of sprinkler systems are available, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. There are rotary sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers, spot sprinklers, impact sprinklers, traveling sprinklers, and in-ground automatic models.

Some cover a smaller area while others offer greater coverage, some need to be turned on and off manually, while others may be set to operate automatically. It is good for you to know which kind of sprinkler you have when you set out to water your lawn.

If you are looking to buy a new sprinkler, here are the best lawn sprinklers available this year.

Sprinkler Water Output

Regardless of what type of sprinkler you have, you should check how much water it puts out per square foot. This is how you determine how long to leave it in operation for, because the duration of a sprinkler’s use is determined by water output rather that just timing.

There are a few different ways you can figure out the amount of water your sprinkler uses. The first is to put small, open-top containers in multiple spots around your yard. These can be tuna cans or small bowls or anything that will catch the water.

Then leave on your sprinklers for 20 minutes, and measure the height of the water in each container. Average them out, and then multiple times 3, and you have an idea of the average water output from your sprinkler. The more containers you have, the more accurate your reading will be.

You can also use a flow timer. This contraption is added to your sprinkler, and it tells you how much water has flowed out of the sprinkler in a certain amount of time. This method is far more accurate than the previous method, but it does involve buying the flow timer.

How Long To Leave The Sprinkler On

Once you’ve determined the flow rate of the sprinkler system you have, you then convert that to minutes and hours to see how long you should leave your sprinklers running. For example, if your sprinkler delivers 1 inch of water an hour, and your grass needs an inch of water per week, then you should leave your sprinkler on for an hour each week.


The amount of water your grass needs depends on what type of grass it is.

In general, cool-season grasses require more sprinkler usage than warm-season grasses. The active growth season, which is spring and fall for cool-season grass, and mid-to-late spring through early fall for warm-season grass, requires more frequent watering than the dormant season because the grass is growing and needs more water and nutrients.

Kentucky Bluegrass, for example, is a cold-season grass, and it requires (on average) 1.5 to 2 inches each week in the active season and half an inch each week during the dormant season.

In comparison, Bermuda grasses, and other warm-season grasses, are more tolerant of drought and require only 1 to 1.25 inches of water each week in the growing season and just ⅛ inch per week during their more dormant seasons.

Flower Beds

The general rule of thumb is that you should try to provide each week at least an inch of water to your plants. However, to precisely figure out how long it will take to water your flowerbeds after turning on the sprinkler, first check what plants you have. Different plants require different amounts of water, and you don’t want to overwater or under-water any of the plants you have worked so hard to maintain.


The needs for water in a vegetable garden are more than in other areas of your yard, and you should generally give it at least two inches of water each week. Check the soil’s moisture with a soil probe to verify that it is adequately wet; sandy soils usually require more attention.

Lawn Watering Tips

Now, you should know how long to keep your sprinkler on when watering your lawn, garden, and flower beds. Here are a few tips to help you when watering your lawn with a sprinkler.

Water All in One Go

Say, for example, the grass on your lawn needs 1.5 inches of water per week to thrive, and your sprinkler puts out 1 inch of water an hour, meaning you have 1.5 hours of sprinkler use per week. You might think you can break that up into 3 sessions of 30 minutes or two 45-minute sessions, or even 6 days a week at 15 minutes a day.

However, it is best to water your lawn all at one time. The proper way to do it is that infrequent but deep watering is much better for your lawn than frequent but shallow watering. It may look like you’re overwatering, but your grass will thank you for it.

A deep amount of watering is good for your grass because it encourages long and deep root growth. If you only ever water to a very shallow level, the roots won’t grow deep and they will be frail and easily damaged.

When to Water

People often wonder what is the best time to water their lawn. The best time to water is in the morning – as long as it’s not below freezing – so that the water has time to soak into the ground before the sun dries it up. If you water too late in the day, the sun will evaporate the water before it soaks into the ground.

Also, you don’t want to water at night. This can be harmful to your grass because it could cause fungal diseases or other infestations.

Water the Whole Lawn

You want to make sure to water the entire lawn, and not just one section. This will help ensure that your grass is healthy and evenly green. Also, make sure your sprinkler set-up is not favoring one section over another.

To go back to that test we did to figure out how much water your sprinkler sprays in an hour – if any of the containers are significantly lower or higher than the others, then you know that the sprinkler is unevenly distributing the water. If this is the case, then you will need to account for that and move your sprinkler throughout its watering time to make sure your lawn gets an even distribution.

Ending Thoughts

Whether you have a green thumb or not, keeping your plants healthy is important! And it is evident that there are many benefits to watering your lawn with a sprinkler system. Not only does it save you time, but it also provides the right amount of water needed for your lawn to stay healthy and green.

What type of sprinkler system do you use for watering your lawn? If you are unsure of which type of sprinkler system is best for your home, be sure to consult with a professional. They will be able to help you choose the right system and provide tips on how long to water your lawn for optimal results.

All in all, watering your lawn is an important task that should be done correctly in order to maintain a healthy and beautiful yard. Remember to always follow local watering restrictions, and if you have any questions about irrigation or landscaping, don’t hesitate to ask us! Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you when we can!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.