Thriving Lawns in Trying Times: Navigating Lawn Care During Watering Bans with Expert Strategies

Are you disheartened every time you look out at your lawn during this watering ban in Vancouver? You’re not alone. For many of us, our lawns are more than just patches of grass; they’re a testament to our dedication, a source of neighbourhood pride, and a space of solace and play. Seeing them turn brown and parched can be genuinely distressing, especially when we’ve invested so much time and care into them.

But here’s the good news: a watering ban doesn’t mean the end of a healthy lawn. With the right strategies and a bit of adaptability, we can navigate these restrictions and still maintain a lawn that’s resilient and vibrant. Backed by years of experience and research at West Coast Lawns & Gardens, we’re here to share the insights and techniques that have worked wonders for us and many others in the community during such watering bans.

Our Top 5 Easy Strategies for Lawn Care During a Watering Ban:

1. Avoid Fertilizing

While fertilizing can give our lawns a boost, it can be counterproductive during a watering ban. Fertilizers encourage new growth, which then demands more water. This new growth can strain our lawns, making them more vulnerable to drought damage. By holding off on fertilizing during a ban, we can reduce our lawns’ water needs and protect them from added stress. Once the ban is over, we can then adopt a balanced fertilization approach suitable for the season, as supported by recent studies on lawn care during drought conditions.

We schedule our summer fertilizer rounds for the end of August but will monitor conditions and bump it back into September if temperatures have not come down and seasonal rains have not arrived.  We know not every customer has a irrigation system and sometimes upgraded water restrictions can persist through the fall.

2. Reduce Foot Traffic

Our lawns are already stressed from the lack of water. Additional foot traffic can compact the soil and damage the grass. By minimizing foot traffic, especially during peak sun hours, we can prevent further damage. Setting up pathways or designated walking areas has been a great way for us to reduce direct contact with the main lawn.

Some customers have been advised that for high-traffic areas we can install a patio or pathway.  This will keep people using surfaces that are made for traffic and give lawns the best chance to survive an out-of-the-ordinary drought.

3. Mulch Clippings

After mowing, we’ve made it a practice to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. These clippings act as a natural mulch, helping the soil retain moisture and reintroducing nutrients. At West Coast Lawns & Gardens, we’ve always emphasized proactive care. Mulching is one of those simple practices that’s made a noticeable difference for us, especially during dry periods, and is recommended by top horticulturists.

This is one of the best pieces of advice we can give for a lawn drought or not.  Mulching clippings whenever possible is basically a supply of free organic fertilizer.  It also adds tons of organic material to the soil bed which becomes an enhanced reservoir for water retention.  At West Coast Lawns & Gardens we use lawnmowers that have 2 sets of blades and are specially designed to mulch the grass into extremely fine clippings that will help the lawn and still look like a golf course.

4. Weed Control

Weeds aren’t just an eyesore; they compete with our grass for the already limited water. Every weed can take away crucial moisture from our lawns. Regularly removing weeds ensures that our grass gets the moisture it needs. If you’re ever unsure about tackling weeds, we recommend seeking expert advice or using natural weed control methods, which have been proven effective in various studies.

West Coast Lawns & Gardens strategy of keeping a thick healthy lawn ensures maximum moisture retention during summer months.   Many weeds are conditioned to grow in drought-like conditions, so when summer arrives, your lawn is brown with green patches of weeds.  Our complete lawn care packages will make sure your lawn looks its best.

5. Embrace Dormancy

We’ve learned over time that grass naturally goes dormant during droughts. It might turn brown, but it’s merely conserving energy and resources. Instead of worrying about the change in colour, we’ve come to appreciate this natural process. Educating ourselves and our community about this phenomenon has been key. And when faced with specific issues, like Chafer Beetle damage, we always turn to expert advice or guides.

Dormancy is a natural feature of grass plants and is really an asset for people who are ok with some brownness over the summer.  Grass has a unique ability to survive extended droughts and can be thick and green for 9 months per year.  A bit of brown colour in the summer doesn’t affect your ability to use the turf and we can be confident that the lawns will return to their natural green in the fall.


Watering bans don’t spell the end for our beautiful lawns. With the right strategies and a bit of patience, we can navigate these challenging times and ensure our lawns remain healthy and resilient. It’s all about understanding and working with nature. And remember, you’re not alone in this journey. If you ever find yourself overwhelmed or uncertain about how to care for your lawn during these restrictions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

At West Coast Lawns & Gardens, we’re more than just a service; we’re a community of lawn care enthusiasts dedicated to helping each other. Our team, backed by certified experts and satisfied customer testimonials, is always ready to assist. Whether you have questions, need guidance, or are looking for hands-on assistance in taking care of your lawn during these times, we’re here for you. Together, we can keep our lawns thriving, no matter the circumstances.


1. Why does my lawn turn brown during a watering ban?

When there’s insufficient water, grass naturally goes into a state of dormancy as a survival mechanism. During dormancy, the grass conserves its energy and resources, leading to a brown hue. However, this doesn’t mean the grass is dead; it’s merely in a resting state and can green up again with adequate moisture, as confirmed by leading botanists.

2. Can I still fertilize my lawn during a watering ban?

While you technically can, we recommend against it. Fertilizing promotes new growth, which requires additional water. During a watering ban, this new growth can strain the already limited resources of the lawn, making it more susceptible to drought damage.

3. How can I naturally control weeds without using water?

Manual removal is an effective method. Regularly inspect your lawn and pull out weeds by hand, ensuring you get the roots. Additionally, maintaining a dense, healthy lawn can naturally prevent weeds, as they’ll have less room to grow.

4. Is it okay to mow my lawn during a watering ban?

Yes, but with caution. Raise the cutting height of your mower to leave the grass blades longer, which can shade the soil and reduce evaporation. Also, mow during cooler parts of the day to reduce stress on the grass. Remember to leave the clippings on the lawn as a natural mulch, a practice endorsed by many lawn care professionals.

5. What if my lawn doesn’t recover after the watering ban is lifted?

Lawns are resilient, and with proper care, they can bounce back. Once the ban is lifted, gradually reintroduce watering, aerate the soil to improve water penetration, and consider overseeding any sparse areas. If you’re unsure about the recovery process, consult with experts like us at West Coast Lawns & Gardens for guidance, where our team of specialists has successfully revived numerous lawns post-watering bans.

About the Author: Brad Carlsen

Brad Carlsen is the visionary behind West Coast Lawns & Gardens. With a deep passion for nature and landscaping, Brad has dedicated years to perfecting lawn care practices. His commitment to excellence and proactive approach has positioned West Coast Lawns & Gardens as a top choice for year-round yard maintenance in Vancouver. Beyond business, Brad is an advocate for sustainable lawn care and believes in harmonizing with nature to achieve beautiful outdoor spaces.

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