Salt Lake City Council Officially Approves Xeriscaping

My wife and I have enjoyed long walks together the past few warm seasons, both to go places without jumping in the car, and just to get some exercise and fresh air (such as it is considering the growth of Utah’s summer air quality problems). And as we’ve wandered through the neighborhoods of the city, we’ve been fascinated and delighted to see the growth of xeriscaping in the yards around us. From simple Japanese rock gardens (also known as “zen” gardens); to lush, colorful forests of drought tolerant plants; to carefully planned terraces highlighting elegantly spare clusters of flora, we’ve seen a multitude of options for individualizing yards and making them more appropriate for Utah’s desert environment than the ubiquitous, bland, water-intensive lawns (see some examples of Utah xeriscaping here*). These citizens are “making the desert blossom as a rose” while still being good stewards of the land. We hope to follow their example when we ourselves become homeowners.

Its nice to see the Salt Lake City Council catching on, changing the city landscaping ordinances to officially permit this sort of landscaping. Hopefully cities throughout the state will continue to move in this direction, permitting and even encouraging ecologically-sound landscaping in our beautiful desert.

Want to learn more about xeriscaping in Utah? Tour USU’s Botanical Center in Kaysville (still in development, but with ongoing programs) and the associated Utah House, which shows off a colorful xeriscaped yard and garden. Or visit the University of Utah’s Red Butte Garden, with classes, demonstrations, and a wide range of xeriscaping examples.

*I’m linking to this site only because it provides good photos of a sampling of the xeriscaping options possible in Utah. I am not familiar with the company Xeriscape Design, and while I agree with their philosophy, I do not know enough about the company to endorse their services.

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4 Responses to “Salt Lake City Council Officially Approves Xeriscaping”

  1. Jesse Harris Says:

    Las Vegas mandated the use of xeriscaping on all new lawns several years ago to combat the growing demand for water (not that you’d know it based on their attempts to steal water from ranchers). Genetically-engineered grasses, the one that only need to be watered every 7-10 days, are also excellent water-saving options. Most of them are also highly durable and don’t need to be mowed as often. (The downside is that because they grow slowly, you either have to wait a long time for that yard to grow in or buy expensive sod.) With proper education about the available options, I think you’ll see a lot more folks getting into water-saving yards.

  2. Cstanford Says:

    I’m very glad to read this. I live in southern New Mexico, where most people have agaves, yuccas and cacti in their yards – either that or gravel – and that seems more or less taken for granted as the norm. It’s nice to see people in less extreme but still dry climates trying to plant more appropriate ground cover.

    Unfortunately, New Mexico State University persists in covering large parts of its campus with green grass that has to be watered just about every day (with sprinklers that spill extra water on sidewalks), then mowed every week (burning gasoline) . . . and of course nobody walks on it! It’s a lot of expense to go to just for pretty green lawns. They could do something just as attractive and much more interesting by using native plants.

  3. Ada Says:

    Ada…

    […]Salt Lake City Council Officially Approves Xeriscaping « A Liberal Mormon[…]…

  4. software Says:

    I’d like to find out more? I’d love to find out some additional information.

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