The Las Vegas Rock Garden


Front yard landscape before sewer trenching, originally uploaded by Vegas Swallows.

The first thing many people notice when moving in to the valley is our distinctive rocky front and back yards. The Xeriscape concept, however, does not call for simply laying down a truck load of rocks around your property.

Xeriscaping refers to landscaping in ways that do not require supplemental irrigation. It is promoted in areas that do not have easily accessible supplies of fresh water. The word Xeriscaping was coined by combining xeros (Greek for “dry”) with landscape. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off.


We are starting to see these exclusively rock landscapes around commercial buildings and on UNLV’s campus. The goal of saving water is great but why do we need to replace grass with such an unusable alternative? What happened to good old concrete patios? Even bare dirt would be more usable than sharp, heavy and hard to walk across rocks. It destroys any other possibility for land use aside from aesthetics.

Instead of rock yards, how about simple patios? How about larger sidewalks? Concrete benches next to buildings? C’mon people, be creative, grass is not just there to look nice and neither should any replacement for it (most rock gardens do not look nice anyways). Use the extra land for something, even parking would have more use than a rock carpet.


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