Watering is probably the most demanding chore of summer. Keep in mind that deep watering is better for plants and easier on the gardener. It means watering less often but watering longer. Established lawns can get by on a once-a-week schedule, except during the hottest of weather. Check the soil with a trowel or a spade to determine how deep the water is sinking. If you're watering trees and shrubs, you can attach a water spike to the hose and push it downward into the soil as the earth softens. It is easy to use, saves water (little evaporation) and gets to the roots.
Mulching is an attractive way to conserve water and keep weeds under control. It also shades the soil and keeps roots cooler. Water the soil well before putting down a mulch, and afterward, water again. You can buy mulches at nurseries, or you can make your own from leaves and lawn cuttings, which should be composted before using. Spread out the grass cuttings and allow them to dry and turn brown before adding them to the compost pile. The addition of a little nitrogen will speed the decomposition process.
Spraying a lawn for pests or fleas? The insecticide will be more effective if the lawn is mowed first. But be sure to read and follow the instructions, because you are dealing with a poison. If you have children or cats, you'd do well to follow the application with a light spraying of water on the surface of the grass, so that the insecticide goes to the ground. Most dogs will not be affected by residual poisons on the lawn; cats, however, often lick themselves after walking through an area that has just been sprayed. Moreover, cats are smaller than most dogs and are frequently less resistant to many poisons.