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How to water a lawn

How to water a lawn

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

55 guides

If you want a thick and green lawn, you'll have to water it regularly. But between manual watering and automated systems, surface irrigation and underground installations, there are plenty of options. Read on to find a watering system to keep your lawn luscious and healthy for years to come!

Important features

  • Tools
  • Manual watering
  • Automatic watering
  • Irrigation systems
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Manual watering involves using a watering can or a hose fitted with a nozzle or spray gun to water your lawn. These tools allow you to water conservatively but can only really used for small surfaces (up to 20 m² for the most patient of gardeners!). There are three main drawbacks to this type of watering:

  • it takes time;
  • it is labour intensive – carrying around a full watering can be hard work;
  • it isn't hugely accurate. It's very difficult to control how much water you are using and there are a number of factors to weigh up before you water (climate, soil type, etc.).

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Garden hoses

A better option for large areas, automatic irrigation usually involves a network of pipes linked to a central unit. This unit works to turn on one or several valves at set times without any human intervention. There are two main types of automated watering systems as set out below.

Underground irrigation is made up of a network of underground pipes. It is therefore necessary to dig trenches throughout the lawn before you lay your turf. This type of system doesn't require a huge amount of water flow but does require good pressure. Buried sprinkler heads are designed to pop up via water pressure to water your garden. This system offers three advantages:

  • it is more economical in terms of water usage;
  • the installation is more permanent;
  • it is more attractive as the system is hidden.

But underground irrigation also comes with three main disadvantages:

  • it is more complicated to install;
  • it is costly to install;
  • it has to be carefully adjusted to meet your needs.

Above ground irrigation takes place entirely on the surface of your soil. This means that your pipes, connections and sprinkler heads are set out on the lawn itself. This system offers three advantages:

  • unlike underground irrigation, you don't have to dig into the soil before laying your turf;
  • it is suitable for all types of soil;
  • installation is easy and inexpensive.

Above ground irrigation also has three disadvantages:

  • you will have to collect your sprinkler heads and pipes before winter sets in;
  • the system can be damaged by UV rays;
  • it is not very attractive and not terribly practical in terms of lawn care.

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Oscillation sprinklers

In order to choose the best system for you, you need to weigh up four factors:

  • budget;
  • required water flow and pressure;
  • watering needs of your soil and lawn (quantity, frequency, etc.);
  • size of the area to water.

  1. Measuring available water flow: take a 10 litre bucket and fill it up. Make sure to check that no other water point is being used in the home. Time how long it takes to fill up the bucket with the tap fully on. You can then apply the following calculation: (container in litres/time in seconds) x 3.6 = water flow in m³/h. The result will determine how many networks you need to set up according to the available water flow.
  2. Check the water pressure using a pressure gauge: this should be 2 to 5 bars maximum.
  3. Draw up an accurate map of your garden making sure to include all water and electricity points as well as any potential obstacles and the different areas you want to water. It's also important to take the gradient of the garden into account.
  4. Map out your future irrigation system: sketch out the pipe network including the reach of all watering equipment. This plan will allow you to draw up a list of the equipment you need.
  5. Assemble the irrigation system using your installation plan. Adjust as required.
  6. Dig your trenches to the correct depth depending on the material you are using. Sprinklers for lawns should generally be placed just above the surface of the soil.
  7. Install and connect the watering system making sure to lay a layer of gravel at the bottom of your trenches.
  8. Lay another layer of gravel on top of your system and mark out the position of your valve boxes so you can easily find them later.
  9. Fill in the trenches.
  10. Connect the valves to the programming unit and connect the appropriate equipment to water and electricity supplies.

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Sprinkler heads
  1. Sprinkler heads should be checked regularly as they can get clogged by limescale which will prevent them from working correctly.
  2. The timer should also be checked to ensure the run time or watering frequency has not changed.
  3. Ensure your system is set to the most efficient setting in order to save water.

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Sprinkler heads

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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 55 guides

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specialising in organic gardening. A graduate of Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxfordshire.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.

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