Skip Navigation
Close up of hand adjusting a irrigation clock

How and when to water your landscape

Your irrigation system is the key to creating a healthy, water-efficient landscape. Find your assigned watering schedule and use the tips in this section to ensure you know how to water and when.

Setting your irrigation controller

Optimize your irrigation system and ensure compliance with mandatory seasonal watering restrictions by getting to know your irrigation controller.

Know your programs

You should have an irrigation controller that has a program A, B and C. Use these programs correctly to save water and money.

Program A — Sprinkler irrigation

For each assigned day of watering, water your lawn 3 times, 4 minutes each watering. Schedule start times at least one hour apart. Learn more about the 12-minute method of landscape irrigation.

Program B — High-water-use plants on a drip system

Drip irrigation is usually needed less frequently than sprinkler irrigation. How much you water on your designated drip day(s) depends on the type of drip emitter you use, the types of plants you are watering and the condition of the soil.

Program C — Water-efficient plants on a drip system

If your plants appear stressed, check the soil moisture. If the soil is wet, your plants may be over watered. If the soil is dry, check that all emitters are working. Flush the drip irrigation lines and filters every time you change your irrigation schedule.

Set your controller

You should change your irrigation controller settings each season, both to comply with mandatory seasonal watering restrictions and for the health of your landscape.

How to set sprinklers (Program A):

  1. Watering days - Find your "watering days" function and adjust it to ensure it is watering only on your assigned day(s) each season.
  2. Start times - Find your "start times" function and adjust it so you run three sprinkler watering cycles, each about an hour apart. In warm weather, run cycles before sunrise.
  3. Run time - Find your "run time" function and set it to four minutes per cycle.

How to set drip irrigation (Program B):

  1. Watering days - Find your "watering days" function and adjust it to ensure it is watering only on your assigned day(s) for each season and no more than three days a week in the summer.
  2. Start times - Find your "start times" function and adjust it so you run just one cycle in the early morning.
  3. Run time - Find your "run time" function and set it to a single run time of 30 to 90 minutes.

You also can access many irrigation controller manuals online.

Smart phone with application on it

Trade in your old controller

Replace your old irrigation controller with a smart clock!

Smart irrigation clocks automatically adjust your watering according to the weather and many provide convenient access via mobile applications.

Investing in a smart irrigation controller is now easier than ever, thanks to our rebate, which offers 50 percent off the purchase price or up to $100, whichever is less.

Get a Rebate Coupon

Graphic of drip head says "Drip it, don't drown it"

Are you overwatering your plants?

Drip irrigation systems deliver water more slowly and efficiently, and they should run longer but less frequently than sprinkler systems. The length of each watering should be determined by the emitter flow rate, soil type, and weather conditions.

It's easy to accidentally overwater your plants on drip systems! Browse our drip tips to determine the correct run times for your landscape.

Get Drip Tips

Water spraying out of sprinkler head on green grass

12-minute sprinkler watering

Our parched desert soil makes it tough for water to soak in very deep. That's why we suggest three, 4-minute watering cycles.

The type of grass you have will determine how much water your lawn requires. Adding or removing one minute from a 4-minute sprinkler cycle, for example, will change the amount of water you use by 25 percent, which can have an impact on your water bill.

Get Sprinkler Tips

Tree irrigation

Trees should be watered well enough to penetrate the soil to a depth of 18 to 24 inches. The type of tree and the season will determine a watering schedule.

Avoid these mistakes when dealing with drip irrigation for trees:

  • 🌳 Setting your irrigation controller for your tree to run the same as spray irrigation
  • 🌳 Mixing irrigation components
  • 🌳 Not using filters or pressure regulator
  • 🌳 Not properly burying drip irrigation lines
  • 🌳 Applying too much gravel mulch before establishing wetting patterns
  • 🌳 Poor emitter placement which results in poor wetting patterns
  • 🌳 Not maintaining the drip irrigation system