Retrofit and Replacement Options
Many of the actions that might be undertaken to retrofit or replace a landscape are
similar. The goal for either retrofitting or replacing landscaping should be to optimize
water use and hold water in the soil rather than allowing it to run off site. Differences
in practices and options are primarily those of scale. Because the replacement of a
commercial or institutional landscape could carry a considerable cost, it is important
to ensure that the landscape is properly designed from the start. Consider hiring
a licensed landscape architect or a qualified site planner/designer to assist. Local
botanical gardens may also have information on how to develop a landscape that is
beautiful, functional, and water-efficient. For example, the Conservation Garden Park
developed by the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District in West Jordan, Utah,
has a wealth of information and virtual tours demonstrating water-smart landscap-
ing that can even be beneficial to people outside of the area.
How the site is prepared has a significant impact on the ability for the landscape to
retain moisture and limit the need for supplemental irrigation. Before retrofitting,
replacing, or installing a new landscape, consider the following site preparation tips:
To the extent feasible, limit the removal of native vegetation and soils.
Minimize soil compaction in the construction phase by limiting areas for use of
Install temporary protective fencing around trees to protect their root zones.
Reduce runoff from steep slopes in the landscape by either grading appropriately
or terracing. If slopes cannot be avoided in landscape design, install plants with
deeper root zones to provide stabilization and prevent erosion.
Before the landscape is installed, ensure that the soil is properly amended, tilled,
and contoured to hold water. Where turfgrass is used, the area should include
at least six inches of well-amended soil capable of easily absorbing and holding
water in the root zone.
Plant selection can make all the difference in a water-efficient landscape. Consider
the following when redesigning a landscape:
Evaluate site conditions and plant appropriately. Areas of the same site may vary
significantly in soil type or exposure to sun and wind, as well as evaporation rates
and moisture levels. Be mindful of a site’s exposure to the elements and choose
plants that will thrive in the site’s conditions.
Jordan Valley Conservation Gardens Foundation. Visit the Conservation Garden Park.