Summerlin resident Brian Arlin converted his thirsty front lawn into a water-efficient landscape and earned the Southern Nevada Water Authority's Yard of the Month designation for March. He said he used a common-sense outlook on the surrounding environment.
"We live in a desert, and we need to get real about that," said Arlin, who made the change early this year.
The water authority's Yard of the Month competition recognizes visually appealing, functional landscapes that include a variety of water-efficient plants, trees and shrubs. Property owners may enter their own landscapes or those of friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, at snwa.com.
"This was a 20-year-old landscape," said Arlin, who has lived in a former model home for the past eight years. "Back in the day, water use for a yard that size probably wasn't an issue."
Tiring of high water bills, Arlin hired The Johnson Company to redesign his 500-square-foot front lawn. The result includes a dry riverbed with a slate bridge and such perennials as lantana, Bay laurel and Australian racer. Elements from the original landscape -- such as olive and palm trees and a rose garden -- were incorporated into the conversion.
Two beds are dedicated to annual flowers and can be swapped out with seasonal flowers.
"Mr. Arlin has discovered that Water Smart landscapes go beyond the 'rocks and cactus' image some people have when they think of water-efficient landscapes," said Patrick Watson, conservation services administrator for the water authority. "His new front yard is not only low maintenance, but it now has many different textures and colors that can change two to three times throughout the year. Changing out annual color is the kind of interaction with the landscape that requires minimal effort while creating a bright spot in the neighborhood."
While the landscape hasn't been in place long enough for Arlin to determine his water savings, he estimated he might be able to cut his water bill in half.
"This is just something I had wanted to do for a long time," he said.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-2949.