Smart Cycle and 'deep watering' theory

(i’m new to lawns, rachio, and homeownership. hi!)
i have loamy/clay soil. most of the community suggests deep watering is best for a lawn to grow deep roots… any suggestions on watering frequency (every 2 days? 3 days?)

i’m going to measure how long my system takes to reach 1/2" water and aim for 1" a week - but once i do, so i want to break up each zone for better absorption with ‘smart cycle?’


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Welcome to the community! Members here are very helpful and the Rachio knowledge base is well-done and a great place to start.

Post a bit more information such as turf type and general climate and there’s likely someone who will jump in to answer questions.


Hey @thereisners!

First of all, welcome to Team Rachio!

We do encourage users to do deeper and less frequent waterings, as this promotes a healthier and more drought resistant landscape! However, we have a couple different options in getting there.

Option one would be to jump into our Flex scheduling. Flex requires a bit of investigation and work to tune in at first, but we have large group of users here that have been really successful with it, and it is the best way to acheive deep and infrequent waterings. Flex works off this idea that each of your zones has a “gas tank”, which we track so we only water when you gas tank has hit a certain level. However, there are some important things to note with flex. First of all, like I mentioned, it takes a bit of work in the beginning. Second, be prepared for much longer waterings than you are were used to in the past. They will be much less frequent, but often that initial duration can scare people off! And third, there is less consistency with flex. Zones will only run when needed, so a different group of zones can run on any allowed day. This is a deal breaker for some users.

The other approach we can take is a fixed schedule aiming to put down the 1" a week you mentioned! If we go that route, I can walk you through a process on how to determine how much your system is putting down, then we can set up some intelligence to skip based on weather, so you can stick to that 1" a week and skip if Mother Nature is taking care of it!

One last note- either of these situations can be used with our smart cycle feature, which is what breaks up your schedule like you mentioned. Let me know how you would like to proceed!

McKynzee :rachio:

Thank you both for the note!

@mckynzee all for the deep watering method, seems like people have had the best results. deeper roots means less problems overall.

i’ve noticed that some of my sprinkler heads dont quite reach some of my areas. looks like ill have to get some new pop up sprinkler spray heads/gear heads. on top of that ive worked so hard on the lawn over the past year (overseeding, dethatching, fertilizing, weed killing) that the grass has really filled in and the turf is higher than some of the heads so even if i trim around, i really need to raise some of the heads. any suggestions for brands they like with rachio?

re @sunny : turf question… since im new to lawns too, im not exactly sure what grass i have - this appears to be the predominate variety. i have a few different blades - does anyone know the type of turf?

here are some pics of the grass types - if ANYONE has an idea, that would really help me as i move forward!

A photo of the lawn itself, please. Sometimes difficult to tell unless the stage of growth is known. Does the grass spread out low to the ground? Are the any seed stalks? Is there any grass growing under trees or in shade? Is the growth thick and dense? Are the grass blades wide? Color–bright green or a bluish green?

You also mention “overseeding”–what type of grass was seeded?

You mentioned “predominate variety”. You may have a lawn that has both St. Augustine and Bermuda. Each of those turf types has several varieties with slightly different characteristics.


Welcome @thereisners! If you do decide you have the time and inclination to go down the Flex route, start with ‘Fixed’ while you figure out your settings, and maybe start with just one zone on Flex to get a feel for it. Here’s a potential starting point.

With regards to irrigation I was in a similar spot as you last year and the great folks here helped me tune up my system. After the learning here it wasn’t a big deal, and didn’t cost more than new replacement heads and some of my time on a Saturday afternoon. @robertokc is definitely the resident expert on irrigation on this forum!

What part of the country do you live in ? A lot of our recommendations will vary based on climate.


I was thinking @robertokc could be really helpful with head selection, he’s our irrigation master here. Where are you located @thereisners? That sometimes helps with identifying which turf is more common in your area.

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Where do you live? I really cannot tell. The grass resembles several. If you are in southern California it could be kikyugrass. Other grasses it resembles are centipede or bahiagrass from the South. When you go Midwest, New England and far north pretty much Kentucky bluegrass. Fescue or perennial ryegrass. Measure the distance between heads, please. What brand and rotor model installed? Give more info please.