Keep the Lawn Healthy for Low Maintenance
Minimizing watering and fertilizing will definitely reduce mowing. But it will also damage the health of your lawn. It will become weak and thin, allowing weeds to sprout and flourish. Weeds don't need water, fertilizer or rich soil, so soon you will have a dandelion field.
To reduce watering, you need to make it as effective as possible. Water early in the day to reduce water lost to evaporation, and soak deeply. Water allowed to soak deep in the soil will not evaporate like a little water laying on the surface. If you must water in the heat of the day, work with the shade. Water the sun exposed areas early in the day, then follow the shade.
Fertilizing regularly will keep your lawn healthy, which will also help reduce the need for frequent watering. The lawn will get through the hot dry periods of summer much more easily if it is healthy. Early in spring, before the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees, apply a fertilizer with pre-emergent for crabgrass and water it in. Crabgrass seeds germinate at 50 degrees, so apply too early rather than too late. Frequent light applications of fertilizer through the rest of the season is preferable to heavy doses. Light application will reduce the possibility of burn if it gets hot, and prevent growth "spurts" requiring frequent mowing. Weed control included in fertilizer is not always effective. I needs to be applied when the lawn is wet so the granules adhere to the weeds, and should be left in contact with those weeds for 2 or 3 days without watering. In the meantime if it gets hot, you may burn your lawn. Selective herbicide such as Weed B Gone applied with a hose sprayer or spot sprayed is much more effective, economical, and kinder to the environment. However if you have kept your lawn healthy, it may need little or no weed control. Pulling a few weeds here and there may do the trick. In autumn, apply fertilizer one last time. Even though the grass will be dormant soon, the roots and soil will store up the nutrients for spring, ensuring a healthy start to the next growing season.
Now that your lawn is green and healthy, don't get behind on the mowing. Cutting too much off at once does damage the health of your grass, and even with a mulching mower will leave large clumps laying on the lawn. This is not only unsightly, but it gets dragged in the house and can kill the grass underneath. In hot dry periods, leaving the grass a little long will "shade" the roots, reducing the need for watering. So raise the blade a little until cooler weather.
You will enjoy playing barefoot in your beautiful lawn!