Thursday, June 6, 2013

Water Conservation or Moneyscaping?

This an "improved" water conserving landscape.

On a study day at one of the local water conservation garden I found this great example of how you can save water in your yard. Or is it?

The above photo has this great concrete patio with a matching bench/amphitheater, a built in BBQ (off camera)

This is the "standard" water wasting yard.

It is clear that the first picture requires less water, but only because it does not have the same amount of turf. The tree and shrub selections are not that much better than those of the standard landscape. The concrete pad is not intended to gather water for any of the plants, so really, its only function for water conservation is to reduce the amount of grass.

What bothers me most is that the water conserving garden is obviously designed and a huge amount of money was spent to install it, while the normal landscape is a mockery of what a home owner might put in themselves.

People are not going to be inspired to save water if it feels like it is beyond them financially. They are not going to save water if they feel the only way to do it is to hire a designer. (Although if they do, I would like to be at the top of their list!) 

And people are not going to save water if their efforts are going to be treated as if they are stupid. This display needs to be redone with respect to the real needs instead of it being a landscape architect's resume building dream.

Time for us all to get back to the real world!


  1. The patio looks hot and barren to me.

    Any tips for where on the Internet to see real-world inexpensive solutions?

  2. I can't think of any. Here are some of the best books that I have read for the subject in Utah:

    Each is very different, but if you put the concepts together, it is phenomenal.

  3. I think the keyword is "inexpensive". I have a water wasting front-yard and it hurts to look at my water bill every 2 months. But if I have to compare how much I have to pay someone to hardscape my yard, the water bill doesn't seem too bad.

    So unless I can DIY hardscape my yard, I will have to get used to wasting water.

  4. You have a good point Rudy. Have you thought of doing the landscaping yourself, but only updating 10 square feet a year?