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Water-Wise Landscaping

DNR Demonstration Garden!

Water-wise landscaping may not be what you think. This method of landscaping simply incorporates thoughtful procedures with appropriate plant selection and maintenance. This section contains valuable resources about Water-Wise Landscaping. Also enclosed are some suggestions about saving water in your park strip. And finally, we give you the chance to submit your favorite water-wise landscapes and provide other resources with information about this exciting method of landscaping!

Water-Wise Landscaping
For many homeowners, water-wise landscaping brings to mind nightmarish visions of cacti, rock and cattle skulls.

Water-wise landscaping is simply a set of landscaping principles that encourages responsible plant selection, landscape design and maintenance.

The following list outlines these principles:

  • Analyze Your Soil. Using a soil probe or shovel, analyze the type of soil you have in your landscape. Determining your soil type will help you make informed decisions as to appropriate plants for your yard.
  • Plan It Before You Plant It. Be sure you are familiar with your landscapeís many attributes. For instance, note which areas get more or less shade, which areas have reflected heat from the patio or house, and any other features you may encounter.
  • Use Appropriate Plants. Different plants have different requirements for optimum health. To use water most efficiently, choose plants that do not require much water, and are adapted to our arid climate. Look for a the bright yellow tag at your nursery indicating certain plants are water-wise. For a list of water-wise plants for Utah's climate visit www.waterwiseplants.utah.gov.
  • Use Grass Wisely. Take into consideration the different activities that will go on in your yard. Use grass only in those areas that are used for recreation. A good rule of thumb is "If the only time you walk on it is to mow it, you probably donít need it".
  • Water Wisely. Group plants according to their water needs. This will help you avoid over-watering some plants and under-watering others. Putting shrubs and perennials on separate zones from your lawn will help avoid severe damage to your plants due to excess water.
  • Just Mulch It. Using mulches to reduce evaporation from the soil also helps prevent weeds from growing in areas where water is needed for ornamental plants. Additionally, mulch covers the soil thereby reducing erosion and unsightly barren areas.
  • Keep It Up. While using these principles helps reduce maintenance time, it does not completely eliminate it. Use of good preventive maintenance will reduce the need for costly and time-consuming maintenance later on.

Parking Strip Plantings & Ideas
A parking strip is the area between your sidewalk and the street. Because of its narrow features and proximity to asphalt and cement, irrigation is extremely inefficient in these areas. Parking strips are rarely used in a capacity calling for a lawn, making these areas a perfect testing ground for new ideas. Try taking the grass out and planting it with water-efficient plants!

Here are some ideas from Salt Lake City Public Utilities! Click here.

Here are some design templates from the City of Albequerque. Click here.

Send us your pictures of a parking strip or other landscape you have converted to water-wise landscaping, and we'll post it here for others to see and admire! Also, you can get new ideas for other parts of your yard by checking out what others are doing. Please try to include before and after pictures as well.

Click Here!

Department of Natural Resources BEFORE
Department of Natural Resources AFTER

Water-Wise Landscaping Resources
There are a growing number of resources to help you plan and implement a water efficient landscape. Take a look at the following online resources or visit a garden near you.

Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping
Red Butte Garden
Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District Demonstration Garden

Other Resources

Conservation Links
Utah Media

From Zero to Xeriscape: A Guide to Planting Park Strips

Conservation Tip

Perform an annual maintenance check on your evaporative (swamp) cooler. Check for and fix any leaks you find.

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