Whether you've designed a great water-smart landscape or are the proud owner of one, now is your chance to shine. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is accepting applications for its 2007 landscape awards. The entry deadline is May 9, when most landscapes are at their peak of color.
Show off your hard work, creativity and commitment to water conservation by letting your water-smart landscape earn the recognition you deserve.
The contest is open to all who design and install water-efficient landscapes. The contest has three goals:
• Identify beautiful, water-efficient landscapes in Southern Nevada.
• Recognize entrants for their contributions to water conservation.
• And, perhaps most importantly, encourage others to adopt water-efficient landscapes.
Landscape and irrigation professionals, horticulturists and gardening experts make up the judging panel.
The first round of judging starts with evaluating the photos you submit. Use the rule of first impressions. In other words, place your best photo first.
Here are some tips to make your photos more appealing to the judges.
• Take your photographs early in the morning or evening to ensure better lighting.
• Shoot from different angles. This enables the judges to evaluate the entire area.
• Stand with the sun behind you as you face the landscape.
With the valley in bloom, now is the perfect time to send in your photos and application. A panel of judges, including yours truly, will evaluate each entry based on:
• Aesthetics -- Judges will look for eye appeal and evaluate plant groupings, texture combinations, grading, contouring and the use of hardscapes to enhance the overall look of the landscape. Judges also will look for proper maintenance techniques including pruning and effective weed-, insect- and disease-control methods.
• Irrigation system -- It must be properly designed and installed. This means using sprinkler irrigation in turf areas and proper drip irrigation for trees, shrubs flowers and ground covers.
• Plant selection -- This is where function meets style. Judges will look for a plant selection that is appropriate for the style of the landscape and its use. This could include landscapes for a variety of uses, from outdoor living to low-maintenance living.
• Mulches -- Mulches are an important part of water-smart landscapes. In addition to adding visual interest, mulches reduce water lost from evaporation, cover and cool soil, prevent erosion and, believe it or not, control weeds. Mulches may be organic, such as wood chips, or inorganic, such as rock or crushed granite.
It's free to enter and there are several categories to consider. Homeowner categories include landscape designed by a homeowner and landscape designed by a professional.
Professional categories include single-family residence design, multifamily, commercial, institutional and municipal. For an application, visit snwa.com or call the conservation help line at 258-7283. Those with Internet access can enter online.
Your entry must be within the water authority's service area. This includes Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Laughlin and North Las Vegas. Look for the announcement of the winners in June.
If you are wondering if your landscape is worthy of an award, compare it with previous winners, by going to snwa.com.
Meanwhile, are you stumped trying to figure out how to create your own water-smart landscape design? The water authority has six different pamphlets on water-conserving landscape theme designs that are easy to follow. Each addresses a specific function that you can easily modify to fit your needs and the dimensions of your yard:
• Entertaining backyard
• Color explosion front yard
• Low-maintenance front yard
• Pool-friendly backyard
• Mojave accent backyard
• Child-friendly backyard
To get these beautiful pamphlets, visit snwa.com or call 258-7283 and leave your name and address and they'll send them to you.
Roses, irises, gardens and wildlife tour: The South Valley Rose Society and the Sun City Anthem Garden Club are showing off three gardens full of beautiful roses, irises, exotic trees, a wildlife habitat and animal sanctuary. You can come anytime from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, starting at 1601 Heritage Spring Drive at Sun City Anthem in Henderson. You'll receive directions to the other gardens. There will be lots of information to help you grow bigger and better plants.
Come see what these gardening families have done to their yards at the free tour. For more information, call 896-3913.
Mum society plant sale: The Las Vegas Chrysanthemum Society will have its annual plant sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 5 at the Nevada Garden Club Center, 3333 W. Washington Ave., at the west end of Lorenzi Park. Look for the plant sale signs.
"We will have cushion mums again, along with the large show mums like spiders and incurves -- those wonderful blooms many of you fell in love with at last fall's flower show," said Barbara Roe. "If you were there, bring your wish list with you so you will know what to purchase. You also will be able to gather information sheets on how to grow mums in your yard.
"We are holding this sale earlier this year, as last year got too hot too fast and many of the 'starts' died," Roe said. "We don't want that to happen this year."
Linn Mills writes a garden column each Thursday. You can reach him at email@example.com or at the Gardens at the Springs Preserve, also known as the Desert Demonstration Gardens, at 822-8325.