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How Long to Run the Sprinkler on a Lawn?

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Using a sprinkler to water a lawn is quite common. However, the length of time spent watering will differ, depending on your grass type and sprinkler. A few basic steps will help you solve this puzzle.


Place four to six straight-edged containers around your lawn. Run the sprinklers for 20 minutes. Shut them off and collect the containers with water. The average depth of water will let you know how long to water your lawn.

Water Output

Most lawns need about 1 inch of water each week. Using the average water depth gathered from the containers on the lawn, you can determine how many times per week to water your lawn to reach 1 inch per week.


Drought conditions may require you to water your lawn more frequently if it is not a warm weather grass type. Watering in early morning hours helps prevent evaporation and limit root rot from overnight watering.

Lawn Sprinkler Tips

Choose the right type of sprinkler for your lawn. They usually work in cycles, covering a specific area before moving to the next zone. If you're on a budget, a portable sprinkler may be the best option. For a larger area of lawn, an oscillating sprinkler is effective, because it features a tube with multiple openings that move back and forth to provide even watering. Don't turn your sprinkler on during periods of heavy rain, and make sure that the soil is dry before you water again. With an in-ground system, you are better able to position the heads for more effective watering. Divide your lawn into low, moderate and high water zones. Look for damaged or misaligned heads, and check nozzles for possible clogs.

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