The Hosepipe Ban and Turf

What happens to lawns if a hosepipe ban is put in place? Recent British summers have been so wet that hosepipe bans may be a distant memory, but they do happen! This page gives tips on how to keep your lawn healthy during a hosepipe ban and will keep you updated if any bans are put in place.

Established Lawns

Established lawns do not need to be watered using a hosepipe; they will go brown in drought conditions but established lawns are robust and will recover quickly as soon as they receive rainfall.

Top Tips

  • Keep lawns well looked after and well fertilised throughout the year, and they will have a strong, deep root system to cope well in dry conditions.
  • If excess thatch is a problem, aerate your lawn in the spring or autumn. Excess thatch can act as a waterproof layer and prevent any water reaching the soil causing it to dry out.
  • Don’t cut your grass too short as this adds to the stress. Let it grow a bit longer during dry periods.

Freshly Laid Turf

Freshly laid turf needs to be watered until the roots have established fully. Water companies are aware of this and there are notes in the hosepipe ban regulations advising exemptions in the case of newly laid lawns. These are, of course, only advisory notes and understandably water firms have to prioritise and do not have to honour them. Follow our top tips to keep your new lawn healthy even if a hosepipe ban is in place.


Within the UKWIR Code of Practice and Guidelines on Water Use Restrictions (report ref. No. 11/WR/33/3), there is actually an advisory note to allow hosepipe watering of newly laid lawns up to 28 days after laying:

Page 28 Under ‘FLEXIBILITY’ it states: Exemptions and Concessions

This activity has the potential to have a commercial impact. This could extend to garden centres as well as gardening and landscape firms. Suggested exemptions/concessions include:

  • The watering of newly laid turf for a specified period (recommended 28 days)

Remember, these are advisory notes only and do not have to be honoured by water companies. A full list of contact details for water operators across the UK is available here

Step 1: Water with a Watering Can

It is entirely possible to water a freshly laid lawn using a watering can (..or two!) when a hosepipe ban is in place. Do this in the evenings or early mornings so that the water sinks in rather than evaporating from the surface.

Step 2: Installing a Water Butt

Install a water butt in your garden. This will help you to be a water-wise gardener all year, but will come in particularly handy during a hosepipe ban to help to preserve water.

Step 3: Tips on Laying Turf

Summer is a popular time to be out in the garden, sprucing it up and laying new turf but it is also the most likely time when we will have a hosepipe ban. If possible, lay new turf in spring or autumn when the temperature isn’t quite as high and the weather will do some of the watering for you.

Current Situation – Hosepipe Bans in the UK:

Sussex and Kent - South East Water - From 12th August 2022

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