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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Landscape beautification award winner showcases drought-resistant design

Nov 02, 2020 01:51PM ● By Josh Wood

By Joshua Wood | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights residents and businesses were recently recognized for doing their part to beautify the community. Cottonwood Heights Landscape Beautification Award winners were selected from nominees from each district in the city, and one winner focused his landscaping on saving water.

Chris Owens, received his landscape beautification award after years of rehabilitating what he called an eyesore of a property. He reworked his property with a focus on xeriscaping, replacing thirsty old grass and bushes with drought-resistant varieties.

“My No. 1 priority was xeriscaping and low water use to show that a yard without a single blade of grass can still be eye-catching and not require so much water,” Owens said. He’s a believer in water conservation and constructing low-water use landscapes in Utah’s dry climate. The yard is also intended to attract bees and other pollinators. “There are lots of colors for pollinators.”

The results of his work certainly are eye-catching to those near him. Owens was nominated by neighbors for the award. “I have some kind neighbors around me,” he said.

All told, Owens work on his yard took three years. He contracted out the work but drew up the plans himself based on his own research and designs he had in mind. He took a lot of walks to get ideas from the yards he passed. Then he visited landscaping supply stores to check out rocks, different kinds of mulch, and other materials he wanted to add to this yard. He then created plans using Photoshop and shared them with the landscapers he hired to bring his vision to life.

Before he started, the property was overgrown and in disrepair. “On Google street view, you couldn’t even see the house,” Owens said. He cleared out the overgrowth and created a landscape design that makes use of rocks and brightly colored drought-resistant plants.

“Nominations are submitted by community members over the course of a few weeks, and are then organized by Council district,” said Mike Johnson, Community and Economic Development director. “Each councilmember then selects a winner in their respective district from the nomination list.”

According to Johnson, the landscape beautification awards have taken place for around four years now. Residents are invited to nominate the yards of homes or businesses in the community. VCA Willow Creek Pet Center received the award for a commercial property. Other residential winners included Brian and Lindy Selander, Tamra Feenstra, and Marilee Christensen. Award winners received a certificate of recognition from the mayor and a yard sign signaling their achievement.

For Owens, seeing his vision for his landscape come to life is reward enough. “I’m really proud of the xeriscaping,” he said.