THE 1-2-3-2-1 LAWN WATERING TECHNIQUE

The Best Way to Water Grass and Trees


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.


The 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique is the best way to water a lawn and the trees in a landscape.


3 Easy to Follow Steps - The Ideal Way to Set Up a Sprinkler System


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 sunrise. 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 possible then the next best time to water is late evening. If the lawn is being watered according to the 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique, evening lawn watering will not cause lawn fungus problems.

Step 2: Programming Sprinkler Zone Run 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 good starting point for programming the sprinkler clock, but each sprinkler system is different and it is not uncommon to have slight variances in zone times. For the best accuracy, the ideal method 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 this link.

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

1-2-3-2-1 Lawn Watering Technique

Now that the sprinkler zone times have been programmed into the clock, these times will remain the same all year. As the seasons change from cool temperaturs, to hot temperatures, and eventually back to cool temperaturs; the days per week will be adjusted as follows: 1 day per week watering in early spring, 2 day per week watering in early summer, 3 day per week watering in summer, 2 day per week in early fall, 1 day per week watering in late fall. This technique is called the 1-2-3-2-1 technique.

Very Important Note: As the season changes do not change the times of the sprinkler zones.

  • winter sprinkler system should be shut off

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

    When daytime high temperatures are cool and average below 70°F: Water the lawn one day per week. If it is cool and it is raining as it often does in the spring it is fine to turn off the sprinkler system until it stops raining. One day per week lawn watering is typically between April to early May; however, every year is slightly different. (I.e. Water every Monday)

  • Early Spring Lawn Care Service Boulder

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

    When daytime high temperatures are warm and 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 every Monday and Friday)

  • Summer Lawn Care Service Boulder

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

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

  • Boulder Lawn Care Service Autumn

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

    When daytime high temperatures are cool and average below 70°F: Water one day per week. Fall, one day per week watering is typically between the middle of September until the system is winterized for the season. (I.e. Water every Monday)




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


Is it bad to water a lawn at night?

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 in a lawn.