Landscaping on the New Frontier

Landscaping on the New Frontier: Waterwise Design for the Intermountain West

Susan E. Meyer
Roger K. Kjelgren
Darrel G. Morrison
William A. Varga
Illustrations by Bettina Schultz
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 239
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  • Book Info
    Landscaping on the New Frontier
    Book Description:

    A practical volume for the home or business owner on landscaping with native, drought-tolerant plants in the Rocky Mountain West. Filled with color illustrations, photos, and design sketches, over 100 native species are described, while practical tips on landscape design, water-wise irrigation, and keeping down the weeds are provided. In this book you will learn how to use natural landscapes to inspire your own designed landscape around your business or home and yard. Included are design principles, practical ideas, and strong examples of what some homeowners have already done to convert traditional "bluegrass" landscapes into ones that are more expressive of theWest. Landscaping on the new Frontier also offers an approach to irrigation that minimizes the use of supplemental water yet ensures the survival of plants during unusually dry periods. You will learn how to combine ecological principles with design principles to create beautiful home landscapes that require only minimal resources to maintain.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-710-0
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Phil Allen
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Big skies filled with dramatic clouds and magnificent sunsets....vast expanses of dry desert, monumental mountains, fantastic red rock formations and canyonlands that fade into a purple and blue infinity…. meandering streams lined with red osier dogwoods, willows and cottonwoods that turn brilliant red and yellow in the fall…. dry mountainsides blanketed with golden grasses, silvergreen rabbitbrush and sage, dark dots of pinyon pine and juniper drifting down their steep faces; dense, dark spires of white fir covering north-facing slopes and cascading down drainage ways…. groves of gambel oaks with twisted trunks and branches blanketing lower slopes; October mountainsides seemingly on...

  6. Chapter One Native Landscapes of the Intermountain West
    (pp. 5-23)

    To design beautiful and functional native landscapes, the first step is to learn to look at landscapes in nature and to begin to understand why they look the way they do. Even intuitively obvious truths about intermountain landscapes need to be given some thought. For example, all westerners know that, to escape the heat of summer, a picnic in the mountains is generally a good approach. In the winter, we know that we can head for the desert to escape from the snow. Plants respond to these climate differences at least as much as people do. The native plant communities...

  7. Chapter Two How to Design Native Landscapes
    (pp. 24-70)

    Now that you have completed your tour of native landscapes, imagine some possibilities for taking a new approach to designing landscapes in the Intermountain West. What might be some characteristics of these landscapes? First, they would be experientially rich. Their spatial character would incorporate a sense of mystery or intrigue, making us want to explore them further. The forms, colors and textures of the plants would be harmonious, just as the forms, colors, and textures of plants growing together in the natural landscapes of the Intermountain West exhibit harmony.

    Second, these designed landscapes would be ecologically sound. Plants would be...

  8. Chapter Three How to Water Native Landscapes
    (pp. 71-95)

    The next step in the process of designing and installing a native landscape is to deal explicitly with how your plantings will be watered. Your completed planting plan shows the species that are to be planted into each area, as well as the spatial configuration of the planting. Each planting area has been designated as belonging to one of the five watering zones: minimal, low, medium, high, or very high. Now you will decide the most efficient and best way to provide water to each watering zone. Plants in all zones will need to be watered during establishment, so there...

  9. Chapter Four How to Install Native Landscapes
    (pp. 96-118)

    Throughout the process of designing your native landscape, it has been necessary to keep referring back to the realities of your site. Now it is time to go outside and make those changes that need to be made in order to prepare your site for its new inhabitants, and then to plant them in a way that guarantees that they will prosper. This will require planning. Much of this process will probably be familiar to you from other landscaping and gardening projects you have undertaken, but there are some things that are unique about native plant landscaping, and these require...

  10. Chapter 5 How to Care for Native Landscapes
    (pp. 119-130)

    One of the main motives for using native plant landscaping in place of traditional landscaping is the idea that the native landscape will require fewer resources and less maintenance but will still look as beautiful as a traditional landscape. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we certainly believe that a well-designed and well-maintained native landscape is far more beautiful than a vast expanse of lawn punctuated only by a row of junipers and a concrete-rimmed bed of petunias. And it is easy to demonstrate that a native landscape will thrive with much lower resource inputs—less water,...

  11. Chapter 6 Native Landscape Pioneers Tell Their Stories
    (pp. 131-158)

    Personally, my choice to “go native” was as much about reconnecting with favorite childhood plants and memories as it was about art or philosophical ponderings related to environmental stewardship. Still, ripping out what remained of our front lawn in 2004 felt strangely awkward. (Every other front yard on our street had copious quantities of Kentucky bluegrass, and my PhD in horticulture focused on high-maintenance turfgrasses). That said, the journey from a solid carpet of lawn to the creation of a Wasatch Front canyon landscape has been worth it in every way.

    We purchased our brick rambler in 1992. At that...

  12. Chapter Seven The Plant Palette
    (pp. 159-226)

    This chapter contains the specific information you will need to choose the plants that will populate your native landscape. The species we have included in the Plant Palette were chosen from hundreds of native candidate species based on several criteria. First, the plant had to be attractive, if not astonishingly beautiful. This, of course, is somewhat a matter of opinion, and the list adopted here is the result of working and reworking by several knowledgeable people with different tastes. Second, the plant had to be relatively quick and easy to grow in container culture in a nursery setting. We avoided...

  13. Appendix: Resources for Further Information
    (pp. 227-237)
  14. About the Authors
    (pp. 238-239)
  15. Supporters
    (pp. 240-240)