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Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West

Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West: A Step by Step Guide for Professionals and Do it Yourselfers

Heidi A. Kratsch Editor
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 116
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  • Book Info
    Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West
    Book Description:

    This working manual provides complete information on the technical aspects of designing, building, and maintaining waterwise landscapes in the Mountain West. Written particularly for professionals, including landscape designers, architects, contractors, and maintenance and irrigation specialists, it has an attractive, well-illustrated, user-friendly format that will make it useful as well to DIY homeowners and to educators, plant retailers, extension agents, and many others. The manual is organized according to landscape principles that are adapted to the climate of the intermountain region. Beginning with planning and design, the topical principles proceed through soil preparation, appropriate plant selection, practicalities of turfgrass, use of mulch, and irrigation planning, winding up with landscape maintenance. Designed for onsite, handy use, the book is illustrated with color images of landscapes, plants, and materials. Tables, charts, diagrams, landscape plans, plant lists, checklists, and other graphic resources are scattered throughout the manual, which is written in an accessible but information-rich style. Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West answers, more comprehensively than any other single book, the need for professional information that addresses both growing awareness of the necessity for water conservation and the desire for beautiful, healthy yards and properties.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-790-2
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Eric Klotz

    Utah is one of the five fastest growing states in the nation, and it shares a border with the four other fastest growing states. From 1990 to 2000, Utah’s population increased by more than 510,000 people to over 2.2 million. In simple terms, Utah’s semiarid terrain is sprouting another city approximately the size of Salt Lake City (1990 population of 160,000) about every three years.

    According to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Utah’s rapid growth will continue, with the population more than doubling to nearly five million by 2050. As Utah’s population blossoms, so will the demand for...

  2. Principle 1 Planning and Design
    (pp. 1-29)
    Anne Spranger and William A. Varga

    The design of a landscape is critical to achieving water sustainability. Landscapes must be designed to match the regional climate and soil conditions. These factors determine the amount of supplemental water that will be needed at a site. Ideally, the landscape should be designed so that the right plants are planned for the right spots, and plants with similar needs are grouped together so the need for supplemental water is minimized.

    The first step in achieving this goal is to have a well-thought-out plan.

    Program development is an important first step in designing a successful water-efficient landscape. This step involves...

  3. Principle 2 Soil Preparation
    (pp. 30-38)
    Grant E. Cardon, Ron Patterson and Rick Heflebower

    Fundamental to water-efficient management in landscapes and gardens is an understanding of how soils interact with water and how various soil properties affect the infiltration, movement, and retention of water. In this section, we briefly introduce soils and soil properties, emphasizing those important to water relations. We also discuss manipulation of those properties to promote or facilitate good plant/water relations.

    Any given soil volume comprises four main components: unconsolidated mineral matter, organic matter, air, and water. The typical relative proportions of the components are shown in Figure 2-1.

    The mineral matter of the soil refers to the content of sand,...

  4. Principle 3 Appropriate Plant Selection
    (pp. 39-57)
    Amy Croft and Heidi A. Kratsch

    It is a misconception that water-efficient landscapes must be designed using only plants native to the region. Some plants native to the Intermountain West are particularly adapted to the higher-elevation, dry, and often harsh conditions of the region. But many plants native to other parts of the country and the world with similarly harsh climates perform just as well. The suggested plant list at the end of this chapter includes both native and non-native plant species and cultivars that have demonstrated outstanding performance in managed landscapes in our climate. It is important to understand the characteristics that have made these...

  5. Principle 4 Practical Turfgrass Areas
    (pp. 58-70)
    Kelly Kopp and JayDee Gunnell

    Of the guiding principles of water-efficient landscaping, the most controversial involves the use of turfgrass in the landscape. At times it seems as though water-efficient landscaping may not allow the use of turfgrasses at all. In fact, water-efficient landscaping recognizes turfgrass as an integral and beneficial component of the landscape.

    The reason that turfgrass is mentioned specifically in water-efficient landscaping guidelines is that there is great potential for overirrigation of turfgrasses. Unlike other plants that readily exhibit the stresses of overwatering, turfgrass is able to withstand a great deal of overirrigation without exhibiting signs of stress. In addition, as an...

  6. Principle 5 Use of Mulch
    (pp. 71-76)
    Heidi A. Kratsch and Margaret Shao

    Mulching around plants in a water-efficient landscape helps keep valuable water in the soil around plant roots and discourages the germination and growth of weed seeds. This not only minimizes irrigation requirements but results in a landscape with low or less frequent maintenance needs and reduces pesticide use. Hoeing or spading around plants to remove weeds can damage plant roots, disrupt soil structure, and discourage the presence of beneficial soil organisms. Mulching won’t completely eliminate the need for weed control, but it can decrease the amount of time and labor used for this task. Mulching also moderates soil temperatures and...

  7. Principle 6 Irrigation Planning
    (pp. 77-98)
    Graham Hunter, Molly Waters and Heidi A. Kratsch

    Irrigation of a water-efficient landscape starts with designing a system that will most effectively deliver water to plants with the least amount of waste. The following are some key concepts to keep in mind during the design process:

    The design of the landscape, including types and locations of plants, should drive decisions about the style and layout of the irrigation system.

    The irrigation system should be designed to incorporate hydrozones. A hydrozone is a distinct area of the landscape defined by the water, drainage, and exposure needs of the plants within. Landscape plants should be grouped (hydrozoned) according to similar...

  8. Principle 7 Landscape Maintenance
    (pp. 99-108)
    Amy Croft, Larry A. Rupp and Heidi A. Kratsch

    Maintenance techniques for a water-efficient landscape are not different from those for a conventional landscape. But differences do exist regarding the types and frequencies of some tasks. Due to the predominance of turf, the maintenance for conventional landscapes usually involves frequent mowing and irrigation throughout the growing season. In a water-efficient landscape, the task of mowing may be reduced, but it is often replaced by weeding, deadheading, and mulching. Most water-efficient landscapes will require irrigation, although water-efficient gardens dominated by plants with very low water requirements may need only infrequent irrigation during the hottest part of the year. Both conventional...

  9. References and Additional Resources
    (pp. 109-110)