Las Vegas is experiencing another shift in perspective. Several years ago Las Vegas went through a transition from a north-eastern landscape culture and attitude to a trademark design philosophy that brought “desert landscaping” to Las Vegas. This landscape design and construction technique has included desert adaptive plants, a drip irrigation system, decorative rock mulch and very limited or no manicured traditional lawn. There were vast open areas in-between plantings & part of the maintenance was to make all of the shrubs look like balls on a bocce court or dice on a crap table.
Currently Las Vegas has started to see a different look in the landscape. More native plants are being used but in non-traditional arrangements and the designs are thought of as being a swath or grouping of plants, creating a landscape tapestry that is more architectonic and representative of modern Las Vegas. This new method is being incorporated into landscape displays that are composed of lush-looking plants that are also low water use plants. This water efficient design concept is transferring over to Las Vegas hotels & resorts where they are participating in the SNWA turf reduction program. To the casual observer these “transition” areas from all turf to selected lush plantings are recognized for their color, aesthetic appearance, low to moderate maintenance, and dramatic curb appeal.
Where Las Vegas was once a resort environment that rejected and fought the fact that we live in a desert, have now started to embrace it. Resort properties are reducing their use of turf, especially small hard to maintain and water strips that serve no further function than aesthetic appearance. They are now using more southwest adapted plants and water conserving drip irrigation system and are creating beautiful landscapes that are more appropriate here in the desert.
JWZ has always been at the forefront or cutting-edge of innovative design concepts for their environmental and sustainable landscapes. We have faithfully spread the word throughout the southwest and have realized a substantial shift towards sustainable, water efficient green design for new projects in our community and in the southwest. What we see now is a slow but calibrated shift in resort landscape thinking. Las Vegas and other drought communities have gone from very little interest in sustainable water-efficient green design to geometrically increasing interest and practices. Landscape architects are the emerging professionals that will move our society and planet into a more environmentally sensitive and desirable place to live.
Hotel/Resort properties in Las Vegas and the southwest are shifting toward appropriate landscape architecture for their specific climate and area. Hotels are actually eliminating turf in non-recreation areas of their site in place of native or native-like plantings and groupings that offer colorful blooms or summer interest while proving shade, erosion deterrence, low water use, less maintenance, less use of chemicals and don’t contribute to the pollution generated while mowing lawns.