We live in desert climate. The lawn was neglected for a long time and is not completely dry grass.

I have never done garden work. What do I need to do and how long can I expect until my kids can run bare foot on the grass?


  • Photos would be useful, but if the grass isn't dead, it will only revive with regular watering, either with rain or sprinkler.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 10:30
  • Is there a way to determine if grass is dead or not?
    – Apex N-u-b
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 11:03
  • No, only by continued watering to see if it greens up or not, its just you said in your question 'is not completely dry grass' which I took to mean there was some evidence of life
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 11:09
  • John Kholer does excellent videos on desert gardening, since he lives in Las Vegas. he will give you ideas Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


Gardening Know How has advice on brown lawns, not all copied below as lack of water seems already recognised to be the cause:

So can a brown lawn be saved? Depending on your particular circumstances, generally, yes. That being said, you should try and pinpoint what is causing the browning in the first place. Drought: This a big problem across much of the country these days, and drought is one of the primary reasons for dying grass. Many people opt not to water their lawns during the summer, but this may be a mistake when there isn’t enough rain to keep the roots alive. Grass naturally goes dormant after two to three weeks without water, and most lawns can tolerate drought for four to six weeks, although it will turn brown. However, extended periods of hot, dry weather may kill the lawn.

How to revive a dead lawn? Bad news: If the grass is totally dead due to drought, there’s no way to bring it back. However, reviving brown lawns that are simply dormant usually occurs within three to four weeks of regular irrigation.

"completely beige dry grass" might mean it is too late (say more than four weeks without water), might not, but "not completely dry grass" offers a little hope (if not is not (!) merely a typo for now). Either way, water well to ensure the top four inches of soil is moist.

The Royal Horticultural Society offers three methods for determining how long to sprinkle:

Method 1: Ensure that the water reaches a depth of 10cm (4in) after each watering. Use a trowel to open a small test hole a few hours later to ensure the soil is sufficiently damp. By noting the duration of watering required to achieve this level of dampness, future irrigation can be more accurately applied.

Method 2: The average hosepipe sprinkler delivers up to 900 litres (200gal) of water per hour. If it is assumed that the sprinkler covers an area of 9 sq m (97 sq ft), in one hour it delivers about 100 litres per sq. m (22gal per sq. yd). Even in June or July, one square metre (yard) only needs 20 litres (4½gal) every seven days. On that basis, 12 minutes' steady sprinkling per 9 sq m (97 sq ft) should be enough.

Method 3: In practice, sprinklers vary considerably in their area of coverage, so the number of minutes required may not be exactly 12. By spacing jam jars over the lawn to catch the water, total water delivery can be estimated. Allowing the sprinkler to run until 2.5cm (1in) of water has been evenly collected in all the jars approximately equals the correct rate of water application.

Water the lawn in early morning, evening or even night-time, to reduce water wastage from evaporation. Do so “deeply and infrequently.” Water deeply to wet the entire root zone, and then do not water again until the grass is dry. To determine next watering time, simply “eye-it.” If it starts to look dry, then water. If you would like to be specific, water the hot spots (spots that get dry faster than the rest of the lawn) and then wait for the rest of the lawn to dry out. While it is important to be adequate on hydration, do not water the grass daily. Lawns need only one-inch of water per week, including rainfall.

Don't cut the grass until it has recovered (if!), which should be in about three weeks (or not at all).

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