Grass grows with a blade to root ratio of one to one. The longer the blade, the deeper the root will go, with correspondingly more access to water. Set your mower blade to the highest setting, allowing for taller grass and deeper roots. This will make your grass more resilient and able to get through the summer with less watering. It also helps shade out weed seedlings.
Don’t bag those clippings. Just let them drop into the lawn as you cut them, where they will disappear and provide a little bit of free fertilizer. Clippings can supply half of the nitrogen your lawn needs! This goes for leaves as well. Just run your lawn mower over the leaves, which will shred them into small pieces that decompose quickly. If your mower doesn’t do a good job of that, many mowers have mulching blades that you can buy for just this purpose.
Lots of grass grows just fine on rain water and will actually go dormant, rather than die, during a drought. That said, if you want to water, do so less frequently (two times a week) but longer (30 to 40 minutes) to encourage deeper roots (see #1). Frequent watering encourages shorter roots, making your grass dependent on frequent watering. Watering daily, especially in the evening, encourages fungus because the blades never dry out. The best time to water is the early morning so the blades dry out. Note that at noon during the hot sunny weather, up to 90% of water from an irrigation system can evaporate before it hits the ground. Watering during a light rain, while appearing nonsensical, actually can be a good practice, as it drives the water deeper into the soil.
4. Weed control
Please minimize, or better yet don’t use, insecticides or herbicides. If nothing else, these toxic chemicals kill worms who are essentially underground magicians creating healthy soil. Weeds can be beneficial: clover helps fertilize your lawn by fixing nitrogen, violets are the host species for fritillary butterflies, and the blooms of both are visited by pollinators. Diversity in lawns was common until World War II; since then, the lawn chemical industry has made the weed-free turf grass lawn the standard in suburbia. Help model for your neighbors what a lawn that is child, pet, and ecologically friendly looks like!
5. Ant hills
Sometimes ants just decide to live a little too close for comfort, like right next to your house or sandbox. To get rid of them, in a non-toxic way, just boil water in a tea kettle and pour it down into the ant hill. The ants will gather up their dead (this is rather interesting to observe) and the survivors will move to another location. No poison necessary.