PROPER LAWN WATERING - 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 TECHNIQUE

How To Water a Lawn Properly in Colorado


Proper watering for the lawn is the most important aspect of organic lawn and tree care, yet it is the biggest frustration that homeowners face. Most lawn watering problems that we see in lawns in the Boulder and Fort Collins areas are either over watering, watering too many days per week, or poor sprinkler coverage.

As long as the sprinkler heads are adjusted properly, all the lawn watering problems can be fixed by following the lawn watering technique called 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 Lawn Watering.




3 Easy to Follow Steps on How to Properly Water a Lawn:


Step 1: What Is the Best Time of Day to Water The Lawn?

The ideal time to water a lawn is early in the morning before the sun comes up. Our recommendation is to have the sprinkler system programmed so the last zone finishes watering no later than 6:00 AM. If this is not feasible then the next best time to water is late evening. If the lawn is being watered deeply and infrequently then evening watering will not cause lawn fungus problems.

Step 2: Sprinkler Zone Times Based on Sun Aspect:

Every Sprinkler System is Different: Every sprinkler system is at the mercy of how well it was designed and installed. The sprinkler zone time chart is a general area to start for how to water a lawn and when programming your sprinkler clock. If you want the best accuracy the best way to evaluate the system is to measure the output of the sprinkler system using rain gauges. To download a printable version of the sprinkler zone time chart please click here.

Step 3: How Many Days Per Week Should The Lawn Be Watered?

1, 2, 3, 2, 1 Lawn Watering Technique

Program your sprinkler clock according to the Sprinkler Zone Time Chart above and as the season's temperatures change, instead of adding time and reducing time - add days and take days away. This technique is called the 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 technique.

Very Important Note: Never change the times of the sprinkler zones. It is a very bad practice to add time or take time away. The reason behind this is because we want to water the lawn deeply and then we want it to dry out between lawn watering. Deep water will penetrate the soil 10-15 inches deep and the grass roots will dig after that water as the soil at the surface dries out.

  • winter sprinkler system should be shut off

    EARLY SPRING - Water 1 Day Per Week
    (Sprinkler Startup - Middle of May)

    When daytime high temperatures average below 70°F: Water one day per week if it is cool and it is raining occasionally. One day per week lawn watering is typically between April to early May but every year is slightly different. (I.e. Water Mondays)

  • Early Spring Lawn Care Service Boulder

    SPRING - Water 2 Days Per Week
    (Middle of May - Middle of June)

    When daytime high temperatures average between 70°F and 85°F water two days a week This is typically between the middle of May through early June. (I.e. water Monday and Fridays)

  • Summer Lawn Care Service Boulder

    SUMMER - Water 3 Days Per Week
    (Middle of June - Middle of August)

    When daytime high temperatures average above 85°F: Water no more than 3 days per week. This is typically is between mid or late June through mid or late August. (I.e. Water Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)

  • Boulder Lawn Care Service Fall

    FALL - Water 2 Days Per Week
    (Middle of August- Middle of September)

    When daytime high temperatures average between 70°F and 85°F water two days a week This is typically between the middle of August through the middle of September. (I.e. water Monday and Fridays)

  • Boulder Lawn Care Service Autumn

    LATE FALL - Water 1 Day Per Week
    (Middle of September - Sprinkler Blowout)

    When daytime high temperatures average below 70°F: Water one day per week if it is cool and it is raining occasionally. One day per week watering is typically between the middle of September until the system is winterized for the season. (I.e. Water Mondays)




If possible try not to water the day of nor the day after of the lawn being mowed. I.e. if you mow the lawn on Fridays then don't water the lawn on Friday morning nor Saturday morning.
Organo-Lawn's 1,2,3,2,1 proper lawn watering technique (PDF)

For help with setting up your sprinkler system to water according to the 1,2,3,2,1 Lawn Watering Technique Organo-Lawn offers professional sprinkler system audits.


Sprinkler System Audit
Note: Each year is different but the calendar above is a good general time of year for how to water a lawn and when things need to be adjusted or services need to be performed on the sprinkler system. This sprinkler system calendar is designed for lawns in Colorado, especially for lawns in the Front Range cities like Boulder and Fort Collins.

*Sprinkler system startups depend on the temperatures outside and the amount of natural precipitation.

**Sprinkler system blowouts generally occur from October 10th-Late October; however, every year has different temperatures so watch the weather closely.

FAQ - How to Properly Water a Lawn

Ideally it is best to time the sprinkler system to water in the early morning, but as long as you are following the watering schedule of deeply and infrequently watering at night will not cause fungus problems
You will want to make sure you are watering deeply and following the 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 technique. You will want to be watering about ½ - ¾ of an inch per session, which you can measure by using a rain gauge or by putting out a flat bottomed flat sided container.