Conservation Garden Park – 2017 in Review

Courtney Brown, Conservation Garden Park

If you have never been to Conservation Garden Park, or if it has been a few years since your last visit, come and take a look. Like an amusement park, the Garden Park is constantly maturing and adding new attractions. The original phase of the Garden Park, planted 17 years ago, is reaching maturity and casting a significant amount of shade on areas that were originally intended to be in full sun. In 2017 the model landscapes along the “Neighborhood Street” were redesigned with plants, pathways, and gathering areas more compatible with current conditions and educational focus. A Hardscape Exhibit was also completed, which provides many examples of products and styles that are available for patios, pathways, and walls.

While it is entertaining for many, the real purpose of the Garden Park is all about education. It is owned by Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, the wholesale water provider for much of Salt Lake County. It is in the best interest of the community to use our existing water resources efficiently rather than investing millions of dollars in new sources of water. The Garden Park, with its many exhibits, classes, and programs, helps educate the community about using water efficiently in the landscape, which is where most of our urban water ends up.

With an expert staff of horticulturists, communication specialists, conservationists, and data analysts, the Garden Park now offers more services than ever before. Localscapes® is a simplified approach to residential landscape design and installation, which when implemented results in beautiful landscapes that add curb appeal and functionality to homes. Oh, and they save water too! Classes such as Localscapes 101 and Localscapes University are designed to take a homeowner through the process of designing a new landscape or making changes to an existing one. These classes are now being taught to hundreds of people at conservation gardens throughout the state. For information, visit

Many Localscapes principles are also applicable to commercial and institutional properties, such as shopping centers, office buildings, hospitals, and churches. These landscapes are typically regulated by municipal ordinances which vary depending on the city they are located in. Fortunately, Localscapes is compatible with city ordinances, and can even be used to simplify and enhance them. Garden Park staff has actively been involved with city leaders throughout Salt Lake County to promote Localscapes in the context of new city landscape ordinances.

One of the main areas that many landscape ordinances focus on is park strips (the narrow strip between the sidewalk and street). When park strips are watered with sprinklers, water is always wasted from overspray. To help with this problem, the federal government has provided funding to Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District to assist with our “Flip Your Strip” program. Through this program, qualified homeowners can receive up to $1.25 per square foot for changing their park strip from lawn to plants watered with drip irrigation. For information about this and other programs available in your area, visit