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Creating Waterwise Park Strips

  1. Creating Waterwise Park Strips
  2. 8275 South 1300 West, West Jordan, Utah
  3. Sprinklers are not designed to water areas less than 8’ wide. Water Waste
  4. Average lawn park strip uses 7,000-10,000 gal. Water Waste
  5. Shallow roots break concrete sidewalks Tree Roots
  6. Adjacent hot surfaces bake lawn Extreme Climate
  7. Salts applied in winter can be damaging Road Salt
  8. Flipped Park Strip VS. Lawn Park Strip Create Curb Appeal (literally)
  9. • Owned by the city but maintained by you • Check local regulations and codes • Homeowner’s Associations may have requirements too Park Strip Ownership
  10. • Most require between 33- 50% plant coverage • Groundcovers and continuous plants must be below 20” • Individual accent plants may be 36” tall Typical Requirements
  11. • Plants can’t block site lines from driveway or road in park strips Typical Requirements
  12. • The use of concrete or asphalt is often prohibited in park strips larger than 24” or that have existing trees Typical Requirements
  13. Convert to Drip Remove Lawn Plant & Mulch
  14. • This includes pathways, plants, and drip irrigation • Proper plant selection is important 1. Plan & Design
  15. Download from Free Plans
  16. • Lawn needs to be killed down to the roots before removal • This can be done with Glyphosate (Roundup) or plastic sheets 2. Remove Existing Lawn Plastic Sheets Herbicides
  17. • Lawn can be removed with sod cutter or tiller • Mark existing sprinkler heads with flags or sticks • Be careful when removing lawn around existing trees 2. Remove Existing Lawn Sod Cutter Tiller
  18. • Lawn and soil should be removed several inches below the sidewalk • This will help to retain the mulch in the park strip 2. Remove Weeds & Lawn 3-4” Below Sidewalk
  19. • Drip Irrigation must be used in park strips • Drip supplies water directly to the plants roots • Cuts down on water waste 3. Install or Convert to Drip In-Line Point Source
  20. • It is best two run a least three rows of in-line drip in a park strip. • This will more effectively water the plants as they grow In-Line Drip
  21. Sprinkler Valve: • Used For Lawn • Spray Sprinkler Heads Drip Irrigation Valve: • Used For Drip • Includes Filter/ Pressure Reducer
  22. Filter Pressure Reducer
  23. Overspray on road = Spray Zone 1 = Spray Pattern
  24. Retrofit heads from various brands
  25. = RETROFITTED Sprinkler Head = CAPPED Sprinkler Head = Drip Irrigation Tubing TIP: No need to dig up all old pipe, cap off unnecessary spray heads.
  26. = Spray Zone
  27. = Spray Zone = New Drip Zone
  28. Mature trees have extensive root systems that must receive enough water Trees
  29. Trees Trees will still need water under their canopy after lawn is removed.
  30. Trees Install In-line drip irrigation in this area.
  31. In-Line Drip Loop in-line drip around tree in two rings for adequate water
  32. • Create pass-through areas in the park strip • Make sure the path is large enough for safe passage 4. Add Hardscape
  33. Hard- scape Hardscape should be permeable to water and air
  34. • Drip can be run underneath paths before they are completed • Use blank drip tubing and run it through a conduit Drip Lines & Hardscape
  35. • Hardscape materials should be kept at least 3’ away from any existing or new trees • This helps to maintain the health of the tree and the integrity of the hardscape Hardscape Considerations 3 Feet
  36. • Plants should be waterwise, compact, and tough • Salt tolerance is also recommended 5. Plant
  37. Mixed Density Low Density High Density
  38. • 2-4” of mulch should be applied on the soil surface • Helps to retain soil moisture and reduce weeds • Personal preference on material 6. Mulch bark or compost gravel or river rock chat or dg
  39. • New plants can’t handle long periods without water • Water every other day for the first two weeks • After the first two weeks you can scale back the watering to 2-3 times per week or as needed Establishment Watering
  40. • Waterwise park strips should be watered deeply and infrequently. • Once plants are established, they should be watered once per week for about 1 hour. Watering
  41. • Watering park strip plants the same as lawn-- unintentionally cultivates weeds. • Not using mulch or putting only a thin layer of mulch in place. Should be mulched 2-4” deep to shade out weeds and preserve soil moisture. Maintenance Mistakes
  42. 1. Water with drip irrigation 2. Apply 2-4” of mulch 3. Avoid soil compaction 4. Minimize soil disruption 5. Use herbicides only AFTER you’ve done the first four steps. Localscapes Weed Control Recipe
  43. • Weed barrier fabric kills the soil • It only works on weeds temporarily • Decreases plant health • Should only be used under hardscape Maintenance Mistakes
  44. Foliage Colorful foliage is the designer’s secret for lovely landscapes
  45. Repeat Repeating the same plant or color creates order
  46. • Super Blooming Utah Native (April-November) • 7-9” Tall • Tidy mat of green foliage Sundancer Daisy Tetraneuris acaulis
  47. • Smells like chocolate • Blooms off and on, all season • 1’ tall x 2’ wide Chocolate Flower Berlandiera lyrata
  48. • Utah native • Late spring bloomer (late May-June) • 2 feet tall x 2 feet wide Firecracker Penstemon Penstemon eatonii
  49. • Low maintenance/ high impact • 2 feet tall by 2 feet wide Mexican Hat Ratibida columnifera
  50. • Beautiful mix of colors • 2 feet tall x 1 foot wide • Many other penstemons will work too Rondo Penstemon Penstemon barbatus ‘Rondo’
  51. • Low, spreading groundcover • 1 foot tall x 2 foot wide • Summer- fall bloom Fire Chalice Zauschneria californica
  52. • New low-growing cultivars for park strips • 2 foot tall x 2 foot wide • Summer- fall bloom, many colors Hummingbird Mint Agastache spp.
  53. • Low, spreading groundcover • 1 foot tall x 2 foot wide • Spring bloom, repeats Catmint Nepeta spp.
  54. • Multi-season interest • 2 feet tall x 2 feet wide • Blue-green blades Blue Oat Grass Helictotrichon sempervirens
  55. • Ornamental grass for dry shade • 1 foot tall x 1 foot wide • Multiple foliage colors Sedge Carex spp.
  56. • Evergreen groundcover shrub • 8 inches tall x 2 feet wide • Small flowers in spring, berries fall Kinnikinnik Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  57. • Fantastic foliage options • 8 inches tall x 2 feet wide • Pink, purple or white flowers Dead Nettle Lamium spp.
  58. • Fantastic foliage and flower options • 1 foot tall x 2 feet wide • Pink, purple or blue flowers Hardy Geranium Geranium spp.
  59. • Cobalt blue flowers • 1 foot tall x 2 feet wide • Vivid red fall color Plumbago Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
  60. • Interesting yellow flowers and pods • Salt tolerant • 20- 30 feet tall and wide Golden Rain Tree Koelreuteria paniculata
  61. • Thick, dense leaf cover • Tear drop natural shape • 40 feet tall x 30 feet wide • Not for use under utility lines Little Leaf Linden Tilia cordata
  62. • Irregular shape • Salt tolerant • 50 feet tall x 30 feet wide • Not for use under utility lines Common Hackberry Celtis occidentalis
  63. • Very little tree “litter” • 25 feet tall x 20 feet wide • Smaller tree to use under utility lines City Sprite® Zelkova Zelkova serrata CITY SPRITE
  64. • Ivory lilac flowers late spring- after other flowering trees have bloomed • 25 feet tall x 20 feet wide • Smaller tree to use under utility lines Ivory Silk Lilac Syringa reticulata
  65. • Fruitless, lightly scented blooms • 25 feet tall x 20 feet wide • Smaller tree to use under utility lines Spring Snow Crabapple Malus x ‘Spring Snow’
  66. Simple Simple solution with rock river bed, Russian sedum & trees
  67. Low- Density Simple plantings of low-growing juniper, grasses and bulbs
  68. Curb Appeal Dramatically different user experiences
  69. • Free and low-cost classes • Visit the Garden for ideas 8275 South 1300 West, West Jordan, Utah • Follow us on Facebook for info and free ideas! Learn with Us!

Editor's Notes

  1. Here is the typical Utah landscape. A large portion of it is lawn. Lawn is not a designed element, it is a default groundcover. Planter beds are designed. Everything is watered exactly the same which leads to water waste and weeds.
  2. Here is a Localscape Lawn is a designed element not a default groundcover. Planter beds are watered separately from the lawn with drip irrigation. This leads to water efficiency and less weeds. A waterwise park strip is one of the main features of a Localscape.
  3. Sprinklers are not designed to water areas less than 8’ wide. Watering a park strip with sprinklers is going to lead to water waste.
  4. The average lawn park strip uses 7,000-10,000 gallons of water every year. Most of this is sprayed onto the sidewalk or road
  5. Improper tree selection can cause sidewalks to break.
  6. Full sun park strips are hot and dry. Park strips with mature trees cause competition with other plants for light and water Urban heat island effect
  7. Park strips receive salt from adjacent hardscape. Many plants (including lawn) struggle with salt in the soil The busier the street is that you live on the more salt that is applied to that street
  8. One of the best approaches to solve these problems is to “Flip Your Strip” Remove the lawn out of your park strip and replace it with plants that thrive
  9. Park strips are owned by the city but maintained by the owner of the adjacent property. Make sure you check your city ordinance before you install your park strip.
  10. These requirements are from Salt Lake City’s park strip ordinance. Public safety is one of the concerns that is addressed with plant height requirements.
  11. Here is an example of a waterwise park strip with plants the block site lines. This would not meet the requirements of most city ordinances.
  12. Most city ordinances prohibit the use of concrete/asphalt in park strips. It is more difficult and costly to remove and repair if work has to be done by the city or utilities. It can have a negative impact on the health of existing trees. Most cities are fine with small paths through the park strip but they don’t want the entire space filled with hardscape.
  13. In a nutshell, here’s the steps you’ll take. Of course, there’s a little more to it than this. Let’s look at it in greater detail.
  14. Starting with a design on paper helps you to avoid mistakes like: Buying to many or not enough plants This also helps to map out the drip irrigation and the parts that you will need
  15. You can find example plans on These plans are designed to be modular and repeated in 30’ segments
  16. It is best to kill the lawn before you remove it. This helps to ensure that it doesn’t grow pack and become a maintenance problem These are the two main ways that you can kill lawn in the park strip. Round-up This is the brand name for the chemical glyphosate. When applied correctly it will kill the lawn and weeds down to the roots.] The best approach is to spray once and wait for a couple weeks before removing the lawn. This helps to ensure that the chemical has time to do its job before you remove the lawn. Clear Plastic Sheets This will kill the lawn with the power of the sun. It will take longer to kill the lawn This is a good chemical free way to kill the lawn
  17. Once the lawn is dead you can remove it from the park strip. This can be done with a sod cutter, tiller, or shovel Shovel will be most labor intensive and time consuming This is one part of the job that you might want to consider hiring a contractor
  18. Free service to locate underground utility lines Park strips usually have utility lines in them Do not dig unless you know what’s below, you could cause injury or death. You may also cause damage to the utilities and may be liable to pay for repair. Usually, flipping the park strip won’t require deep enough digging to cause an issue but NEVER ASSUME.
  19. When removing the lawn and soil make sure to dig down 3-4” below the level of the concrete. Mulch and rock will spill on the concrete and curb if it isn’t low enough
  20. Once the lawn is removed the next step is to install the drip irrigation Point source is best used in low density plantings. It is designed to water individual plants and not the entire park strip. More emitters may need to be added as plants grow and mature. In-Line drip is our recommendation It waters the entire park strip evenly and won’t have to be adjusted as the plants grow in size It also waters existing mature trees better than point source
  21. If you are using In-line drip it is best to follow the manufacturers guidelines for installation It is best to lay to lay out at least 3 parallel lines in a park strip to ensure uniformity
  22. When installing a drip irrigation system you will need a filter and pressure reducer. Drip systems struggle to operate properly at pressures above 30psi. The filter will need to be cleaned if you have secondary water. (This is a good time to show an actual valve and filter/pressure reducer in the class)
  23. Here is the filter and pressure reducer.
  24. Park strip sprinklers are usually on the same zone. You can see the overspray onto the concrete and asphalt that is happening.
  25. Most sprinkler brands have retrofit kits available. Be sure to use the kit that matches your sprinkler brand. Mismatching parts from various brands on one system is a common irrigation error homeowners make. The retrofit kit is made up of a filter/pressure reducer and is much easier to install than making changes in the valve box. (This is a good time to bring out the retrofit kit and take it apart and put it back together again.)
  26. You will need to convert at least one sprinkler head to drip in the park strip. If you have a long park strip or multiple zones you may need multiple conversion kits.
  27. When your park strip is being watered on the same zone as the lawn on the other side this will require an additional valve. You don’t want drip and spray on the same zone, so a conversion kit won’t work in this situation
  28. When your park strip is being watered on the same zone as the lawn on the other side you will have a couple options.
  29. Once the lawn is removed and the spray heads are capped the trees will need water from drip irrigation.
  30. Make sure you are watering under the trees. If you are using point source to water your perennials than it is recommended to add
  31. This is the best way to water existing mature trees in a park strip. Make sure to keep the first line of drip away from the trunk of the tree. Trees have very few feeder roots near the trunk
  32. Small permeable paths of hardscape are perfect for adding curb appeal and provide a way to cross your park strip.
  33. This allows plant roots to access more water.
  34. In the above example, an old garden hose is used to create a flexible conduit to run the blank drip irrigation tubing through. Using a conduit for the lines enables you to pull the line out, inspect and replace if needed without disrupting the hardscape.
  35. Plants should be added after hardscape and drip are installed. Bulbs are a great option for a park strip because they are water efficient and provide color in the spring.
  36. Plant density determines water use and intensity of maintenance. Low density plantings have fewer plants to maintain BUT more open ground areas create spaces for potential weeds and weeds are more noticeable. Lowest water use. Moderate or mixed density plantings strike a balance between fewer plants and open area. High density plantings require a little more water, simply because there are more plants, but tend to shade out weed seed and hide those weeds that do sprout.
  37. Point source drip is better at establishing new plants than in-line drip. In-line drip can miss the roots of new plants
  38. If temps get above 95 degrees for several weeks watch your plants because they might need a second watering.
  39. Misconception: Shrubs, perennial, and waterwise park strips are high maintenance Problem: How they are watered They are watered exactly the same as lawn Mulch isn’t used or isn’t deep enough
  40. While there is no magic bullet to permanently (and safely) eliminate weeds, following these steps will help. To control weeds, control water. Drip irrigation targets water to just the plants you want to grow. A thick coat of mulch shades the soil and reduces germination of weed seed.
  41. Many landscapes rely to much on flower color for color. This can lead to large portions of the year with no color other than green. The secret to year round color is to design with foliage color in mind.
  42. Repetition of the same plants and colors helps to unify the landscape. When repetition is not used the landscape tends to look messy.
  43. Blooms June-September
  44. Summer blooms