Landscaping and Water Conservation

An important part of a being a good neighbor is keeping your front yard well maintained. By and large, our residents do a great job of keeping their yards presentable – preventing weeds from getting out of hand and keeping an eye on their grass – even during drought conditions.

Governor Cox has encouraged all Utah residents to be thoughtful in how they use water, saying “We’re asking farmers, businesses, we’re asking citizens, institutions across the state to want to do their part to conserve and reduce water usage.” With this in mind, there are several paths our residents can choose in following code enforcement guidelines to keep your front yard in compliance.

During the hottest summer months Utah Division of Water Resources guidelines call for watering two to three times per week.  This “watering to survive, not thrive” guideline aims to provide enough water for a lawn to survive while limiting use of water. Though it may seem like a good idea, it can be cost prohibitive to let your lawn die during the summer. The cost to water your lawn at the state-recommended “survive, not thrive” interval can be in the $15-20 range a month – compared to thousands of dollars spent replacing a dead lawn.

Dormant, yellow grass: still alive!

Photo of dormant lawn

Brown grass, dirt, and weeds: dead

Photo of dead lawn
Photo of xeriscaped yard

For those who would prefer to limit the use of grass in their landscapes, xeriscaping is a great option. This landscaping technique emphasizes the use of local plants and materials and uses significantly less water than grass, making it very conservation friendly. While xeriscaping can provide a beautiful drought friendly landscape, it does come with some challenges: The initial cost to xeriscape a front yard can range from $5,000 up to $30,000. Xeriscaping can also be labor intensive to ensure weeds and other issues are handled.

West Valley City residents continue to do a great job at being good neighbors and keeping yards in good condition, while also following the Governor’s and the State of Utah’s watering and landscaping guidelines. If your yard happens to fall out of compliance with West Valley City’s landscaping ordinance, reach out to our Code Enforcement officers. They are always available and willing to work with you.

Simple things we can do to reduce our use

  • Water less. Lawns will survive with two waterings per week in northern Utah. It’s okay if the grass yellows. It will recover when conditions improve.  Follow the Extreme Drought Watering Guide.
  • Raise your mower. Set your blades to 3 to 4 inches. Taller grass means deeper roots and also shades the soil, reducing evaporation.
  • Don’t water between 10 AM - 6 PM.
  • Don't water when it's windy.

Small changes add up, so consider ways you can save water. Find water-saving tips and rebates at Learn more about Utah's drought conditions by visiting the State of Utah Drought Information Page.