There are many resources available to the public to teach how to landscape and garden successfully. Some people are interested in aesthetics and the look and feel where others are focused on functionality and production. Some understand plants and how they grow and others don’t want to have to know everything, but everyone wants to be successful and have a landscape they can enjoy.
To assist the public in this educational effort Weber Basin has constructed the Learning Garden and has developed a free landscape and gardening class series. These classes and resources are free to the public and we encourage everyone to come and learn how to be successful in landscaping and gardening while saving water in the process. Most people don’t understand that there are principles and methods that will help achieve the optimal plant health and production.
There are 7 Principles of Water Efficient Landscaping that apply to every landscape (listed below). What plant material is chosen and how individuals desire their landscape to feel, can be achieved using these principles. The key is following the principles and designing things properly, then most importantly to look at our own behavior regarding how we irrigate and how we maintain the landscape to achieve the desired outcome. We encourage all homeowners to use plants that are more adapted or native to our climate and soil types, however if you love particular plant material and want it in your yard, we encourage you to understand that plant’s needs and to water it properly. Group it with other plants that have similar needs and enjoy them. The real problems come when we group plants with very different needs together which mean we over water or underwater some of those plants.
We encourage you to seek out and use the many other resources in our communities. The Utah State University Extension service, local nurseries and plant growers, landscape professionals, and self education will help us achieve healthy, beautiful, and valued landscapes while achieving water efficiency to maintain them.
1. Planning and Design - Account for existing site conditions, use of the landscape, and landscape maintenance. Determine soil type, topography, drainage sun exposure etc. Determine outdoor objectives and style.
2. Soil Type and Condition - Good soil is the basis for a successful landscape. Adding organic matter (leaves, grass clippings, and other plant and animal remains) will improve all types of soils; clay, loam or sand. It is a good idea to contact your local Extension Office for a soil test.
3. Plant Selection – Another consideration would be to find plants that are adapted to Utah’s climate and seasons. There are many beautiful trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers that will fit in a water-wise landscape in Utah.
4. Minimize Turf Area - Water loving turf such as Kentucky Blue Grass should be located only where it provides a useful purpose. Eliminating turf usage in narrow strips and sloped areas is recommended.
5. Irrigate Efficiently - Well designed and maintained sprinkler systems save water. Organize and irrigate plants according to their water needs.
6. Mulch - Organic mulch (bark chips, wood shaving, etc.) reduces evaporation, weed growth, runoff, and provides a manicured landscape. Inorganic mulch (rock, decomposed granite, etc.) provides aesthetic value when used properly.
7. Maintenance – Water-wise landscaping will not eliminate maintenance, but will reduce it. Regular maintenance preserves the landscape beauty and sprinkler system while saving water.
The FREE Classes held at the Learning Garden each season will help any individual, whether just starting with a new landscape or working with a mature landscape to water more effectively and to improve overall landscape health and conditions. We invite you to take part in our FREE educational opportunities and become more water-wise.
Free Learning Garden Landscape Class Schedule
Free Garden Fair