Idaho Falls completes smartscape project, promises to save on water, maintenance costs

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The following is a news release and photo from the city of Idaho Falls.

IDAHO FALLS — The city of Idaho Falls recently completed its latest effort in water conservation and beautification of a city streetscape with the newly redesigned smartscape design of the media area at the train bridge on Yellowstone Highway.

Smartscaping, or xeriscaping, is the use of landscaping materials including rocks, mulch, and other water saving elements along with native plants, shrubs and trees that are better suited to the region where they are planted and that use less water than turf or other non-native plants.

“Smartscaping is a much more efficient way to landscape areas that don’t see high volumes of traffic, like ball fields or play areas,” said City of Idaho Falls Forester and Horticulturist Delbert Lloyd. “Not only do these smartscaped areas save water, they are also easier to maintain and require a lot less manpower to take care of, so it saves us in maintenance and upkeep costs as well.”

According to Lloyd, a typical area that is converted from ornamental turf grass to a smartscape design can use up to 75 or 80 percent less water, which can translate to huge water savings on each project.

In addition to utilizing plants that may require less water, another water saving feature of xeriscaping is the use of drip irrigation rather than overhead sprinklers or traditional flood irrigation.

“Traditional irrigation is good in certain areas, such as for turf and recreational use type areas,” said Lloyd. “In this type of landscaping drip irrigation delivers small, concentrated amounts directly to the plants so we get an ideal amount of water being delivered with much less water use.”

The city has also converted other areas within the city to smartscaping including the median planter areas along Yellowstone Highway through downtown and the median areas along 1-15 and Broadway. Future plans for additional smartscape projects throughout the city are being planned and will be implemented over coming months. Special signs are also being installed to help identify the areas.

“Xeriscaping has been called a celebration of our native plants and climate, used in landscaping,” said Lloyd. “Once they are established, deep rooted shrubs and trees can really thrive in our conditions and bring a lot of beauty to our city and help us conserve water and preserve out environment at the same time.”

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