Congratulations to the ten winners of our first annual Water Authority Desert Friendly Landscape Contest! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us. They are an inspiration for others to make the switch to desert-friendly landscapes.
The transformation of a dirt front yard into a Desert-Friendly Landscape
Many Albuquerque homeowners are interested in saving water, so over time they have turned off their sprinkler systems and let nature take its course. However, nature takes a long time to come back to life in the desert, which is why we see bare dirt yards all over the city.
When Katrina and Peter Nardini moved into their southeast Albuquerque house, it had a dirt yard. After observing the landscaping in neighboring yards, Peter came up with a plan for their property that included a hardscape path and a wide variety of plants. To make sure the hardscape path was put together properly, a landscape professional was hired to build the path and steps.
“We chose plants by looking at other yards, taking pictures, and then working with garden center staff on selecting plants,” Peter and Katrina explain. Attracting hummingbirds was foremost in their minds.
Fortunately, a drip system was already in place in their yard, although some of the components needed to be upgraded to extend irrigation to all the areas that supported plants. “Initially, we had the irrigation drip system running most days of the week to get the new plants established,” they said. “Now, we turn it on twice a week in the summer and only one time a week during the other seasons. We only irrigate trees in the winter season. Most of our other plants do well with rainfall and snow.”
Katrina and Peter are delighted with the diversity of native and drought-tolerant plants in their transformed yard. “Our fruit trees are our favorite. They provide us with shade, beautiful flowers, and fruit!”
Grassy Lawn to Low Maintenance
After growing tired of weekly lawn maintenance, mowing, trimming, and the expense of watering, Daniel Stromberg decided to get rid of the grass in the front and back areas of his northwest Albuquerque yard and create a drought-tolerant, desert-friendly space. The first order of business was to replace the sprinkler system with a drip system.
Daniel worked with several different companies and a friend who is a master gardener to come up with the right design and plant selection. There was a bit of trail and error in the process, but the result is a thriving yard with drought-tolerant and native plants that gives Daniel a great deal of pleasure. “These plants look and do much better in the yard,” Daniel explains.
Transforming the yard from one that was high-maintenance to an easy-to-take-care-of space that requires little work was worth the effort, Daniel says. He is most proud of his sunflowers, whale tongue agave, ice plants and giant desert willow.
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