Waterwise Lawn Care

​While we receive our fair share of rain in Metro Vancouver, remember that summer and early fall are typically dry. Lawn watering restrictions are implemented to conserve water during these months. Even with less water, your lawn can still look great. By planning ahead and preparing healthy soil, choosing low-maintenance grasses, and adapting your watering routine, you can have a healthy lawn, using less water.

The waterwise lawn care information is also available as a printable brochure.


Plan Ahead

Before spring, consider your best choices for a lawn that will serve its purpose while thriving in the summer heat. Will your lawn receive more shade than sun? Is it a place for play that needs to hold up to heavy foot traffic, or could a low-maintenance clover blend lawn be the solution?

Plan when you will implement lawn care steps, and add them to your calendar. Make sure you consider regional sprinkling restrictions, which extend from May 1 to October 15. Growing seed requires keeping soil moist for two to three weeks, and should be started in mid-April, well in advance of the restrictions.

If you are interested in a yard that is less affected by weather or thrives in certain conditions, visit www.growgreenguide.ca for some tested alternatives to traditional grass lawns. You'll find growing guides for micro clover, moss lawns, and others.

Lawn care schedule

(March to May)

  • Test pH of soil and apply lime at half the recommended rate (apply the remainder in fall)

  • Aerate compacted areas of lawns so air, water and nutrients can reach the roots

  • Top-dress with 1 cm of sand or a mix of soil and compost, on the advice of your garden centre

  • Overseed with a low-maintenance lawn seed mixture

  • Set the lawn mower blade height at about 5-6 cm

  • After mowing, leave clippings on the lawn – they break down and become a source of nitrogen for the grass, and help the soil retain moisture

  • Once the lawn shows vigorous growth, mow once a week, cutting not more than the top third of grass length with each mowing

  • Remove buildup of thatch; consider assistance from a lawn care professional

  • Follow sprinkling restrictions in effect May 1-October 15

(June to August)

  • Continue to mow often and high (about 5-6 cm) and leave the clippings on the lawn

  • Water your lawn for an hour, once a week – deep watering will help speed up recovery after dry summer months

  • Obtain a water exemption permit for natural pest control using nematodes


  • Aerate, rake and apply thin layer of sand

  • Improve thinned areas by overseeding

  • Apply lime


  • Try to minimize foot traffic on lawns while soil is soggy with winter rains

  • Rake lawns free of leaves and twigs

  • Sharpen mower blades

  • Plan lawn care goals and steps for the upcoming year


Lawn care resources

Metro Vancouver Lawn Watering Regulations
Lawn watering regulations are in effect May 1 to October 15. Learn about the regional lawn watering regulations, which are an effective way to help us use our drinking water wisely. Includes a calendar of residential sprinkling times and municipal contact information for enforcement and more information.

Waterwise Irrigation Brochure
Understanding the basics of your automatic irrigation system and following a few easy steps can help you avoid an unhealthy lawn from overwatering and a fine when watering regulations are in place.

We Love Water
Tips and facts about indoor and outdoor water conservation and water quality in Metro Vancouver, to help residents be waterwise year round.

Grow Green Guide
In collaboration with UBC Botanical Garden, Grow Green is Metro Vancouver's guide to creating and maintaining a sustainable lawn or garden space. The Grow Green Guide includes climate-appropriate alternatives to grass lawns; tips on reducing water use, composting and tackling invasive species; and much more to help you create an outdoor space with a positive impact on our local environment.

Chafer Beetle in Metro Vancouver
A healthy lawn is the best defence against chafer beetle, an invasive insect that has damaged lawns throughout the region. Learn more about chafer beetle and how to treat it within the lawn watering regulations.

Nutrifor™ Landscaping Soil
Nutrifor™ Landscaping Soil is made by blending Metro Vancouver biosolids with wood chips and sand. The soil is high in organic matter which helps retain water and reduces the need for frequent watering. Nutrifor Landscaping Soil also contains plant essential nutrients that are slowly released over time which reduces the need for chemical fertilizer. Learn more about how Metro Vancouver recycles biosolids to return valuable organic matter and nutrients to land.

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