How to Help Your Friends Embrace Water-Efficient Landscaping

By Megan Hatch, Conservation Garden Park

Utah is the fastest growing state in the nation, and by 2065, more than 5.5 million people will call Utah home. While growth is great for business and Utah’s economy, it also presents a challenge for Utah’s limited water supply. As a state, we ultimately have two options: 1) get more people to use less water or 2) develop more water.

Because water development projects are costly and difficult, water conservation is the best first strategy for addressing Utah’s water needs. But conservation doesn’t come without its own set of challenges—like the fact that water-efficient landscaping has a bad reputation here. A focus group conducted in Salt Lake during 2014 revealed that many Utahns associate water-efficient landscaping with the “rock and cactus look” seen in places like Nevada or New Mexico. The association wasn’t positive and group members described the landscapes with words like “ugly,” “hot,” “barren,” and “no fun at all.”

While readers of this column tend to recognize that water-efficient landscaping doesn’t have to be ugly, the majority of Utahns still hear xeriscape and think “No way.” But to achieve the change that Utah needs to ensure an adequate water supply into the future, more people need to care about the way water is used outdoors. Here are three suggestions for helping neighbors and friends embrace water-efficient landscaping:

  1. Share Positive Examples:

The problem with water-efficient landscaping is that people tend to only recognize the bad examples. If executed correctly, most people will look at a water-efficient landscape and only see a beautiful yard. You can help overcome this problem by sharing positive examples of efficient landscapes with your neighbors and friends. Maybe your own yard is water-efficient, or a business down the road. Changing perceptions surrounding efficient landscaping will help achieve actual landscape change in the future.

  1. Send Friends to Conservation Garden Park

Conservation Garden Park is Utah’s premier water conservation demonstration garden and models the best use of water in Utah landscapes. Walking through the Garden will quickly showcase just how diverse and lush a water-efficient landscape can be. Community classes are also taught at the Garden on topics ranging from irrigation to plant selection and weed control.

  1. Introduce them to Localscapes

Localscapes is a moderate approach to landscaping for Utah. Whether homeowners are motivated by water conservation or not, Localscapes provide a myriad of benefits including simplified irrigation, easier maintenance, and greater curb appeal—water savings are just a bonus. To learn more about Localscapes visit

Currently more than 60 percent of Utah’s drinking water is used on outdoor landscapes. As our population continues to grow, Utah needs a new solution and Localscapes is a big part of the answer. Thank you for being a part of this change by helping to promote water-efficient landscaping in our communities.