DENVER (KDVR) — May 1 is the beginning of irrigation season and watering rules for Denver Water customers. Here are some tips to maximize the use of water outdoors in a way that is healthy for your bank, lawn and garden and the environment.

The first step in effective outdoor watering is knowing the rules and regulations. Denver Water said these rules protect the water supply and double as a guideline for keeping your landscape healthy.

From May 1 to Oct. 1, Denver Water wants residents to know these watering rules:

  • Water during cooler times of day — lawn watering is not allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Water no more than three days per week
  • Do not allow water to pool in gutters, streets or alleys
  • Avoid watering concrete and asphalt
  • Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days
  • Do not water during high winds or when it is raining
  • Use a hose nozzle with a shut-off valve when washing your car

Watering your lawn

Denver Water said watering two days a week should be sufficient during most of the summer, and that a third watering day may only be needed during extreme heat or dry periods.

One of the most efficient ways to water your yard, according to Denver Water, is to water in increments. This means you might water a zone for half the total recommended run time, then wait up to an hour before you water again to complete the run time. This water, rest, water method allows water to soak into the soil down to the grassroots to create a healthier lawn.

As for new seed and sod, Denver Water allows watering as needed for up to 21 days, after which it is subject to outdoor watering rules. Those who wish to use this exception must submit a request for a 21-day watering rules exemption.

Denver Water offers a guideline for customers to maintain a healthy landscape based on which sprinkler is used and when. (Denver Water)

Mowing for a healthy, efficient lawn

Each blade of grass in your lawn can tell a story of its health. According to Resource Central, size matters: The longer the grass, the healthier. Deeper roots make your grass more resilient to drought. They recommend waiting until the grass is at least 2 inches tall before you mow.

Long grass even serves as a means of weed prevention. According to Resource Central, shorter grass allows more sunlight to reach the soil, which encourages weed growth. They recommend mowing once every 5-7 days, cutting cool season grasses between 2.5-3.5 inches and cutting warm season grasses between 1-3 inches.

It might even be worth tuning up your lawnmower. According to Resource Central, sharp blades ensure a clean cut of each blade of grass while dull blades can rip the grass blades, which leaves them more susceptible to diseases.

While you are mowing, check your sprinkler heads for leaks. Denver Water said that a broken sprinkler head wastes an average of 10 gallons of water each minute, and hence recommends repairing sprinklers within 10 days.

It is recommended that you avoid mowing the lawn while it is wet. According to Resource Central, lawns that are mowed while wet are more prone to fungal diseases, on top of making it harder to get a clean cut.

Many yards in Colorado have clay in the soil, which makes it compact when wet. Passing over a wet yard can create ruts and compact the soil worse, causing damage to the grass over time. When the soil is more compact, it prevents water from soaking into it which wastes water and can lead to runoff. Resource Central recommends staying off lawns for 24 hours after rain to avoid unnecessary soil compaction.