A xeriscaped garden in Austin. Courtesy of the Korye Logan/Texas Tribune.

Aug. 5, 2014

If you have an attractive well-maintained yard with water-conserving landscape features, the cities of Fort Worth and Coppell want to hear from you.

In Fort Worth, the Water Department is partnering with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas to host its second annual EcoScape Contest. Judges are looking for xeriscaped yards that look appealing, with features such as reduced turf, native plants and rain barrels. The deadline to enter is Aug. 16.

According to Hilda Zuniga, public educator for the city of Fort Worth Water Department, so far they’ve received about 8 entries and would like to generate more participation – and enthusiasm.

“The forms are coming in incomplete without all the information listed,” she admitted.

Zuniga said the contest aims to change the mindset of North Texans about their water-hogging yards. About half of the total household water use during the summer months goes to landscapes.

Above, home featured on the 2013 Texas Smartscape Tour of Coppell. Courtesy of the city of Coppell. Below, a xeriscaped yard in Fort Worth. GreenSourceDFW photo.

“We really want to show people they can have nice looking yards without using that much water,” she said. 

The EcoScape Contest is open to residential landscapes within Fort Worth city limits and Fort Worth’s wholesale customer cities, including Aledo, Bethesda Water Supply Corp., Burleson, Crowley, Dalworthington Gardens, Edgecliff Village, Everman, Forest Hill, Grand Prairie, Haltom City, Haslet, Hurst, Keller, Kennedale, Lake Worth, Northlake, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Saginaw, Southlake, Trophy Club Municipal Utility District, Westlake, Westover Hills, Westworth Village and White Settlement.

First prize winner receives a rain barrel, a BRIT membership and a winner’s sign for their yard.

Meanwhile in Dallas County, the city of Coppell is gearing up for its Texas SmartScape Tour of Coppell to be held Oct. 4. According to organizer Jen Ferguson, the deadline to enter was July 31, however they’re still accepting applications, as they have spots to fill.

Ferguson agreed that it’s a challenge to motivate homeowners to enter. So far, she’s received six entries. 

“It’s mainly word of mouth and talking to our gardeners,” said Ferguson. “I’ve gone out and just scoped out yards around town.”  

Above and below, Sights from the Dallas Water-Wise Landscaping Tour. Courtesy of the city of Dallas.

This is the 12th year for the Coppell tour, which has gone by different names. It's well attended, Ferguson said. Last year, about 250 people picked up maps.

Old and New Water-Wise Tours

The city of Dallas pioneered the local water-conserving yard tour, having hosted its 20th annual Water-Wise Landscape Tour in June. According to Carole Davis, manager for the Water Conservation Division, they typically get 7-10 new entries each year. The top five are showcased along with past year winners. About 2,100 people attended this year, she said.

This year, the city of Plano kicked off its first water-wise landscaping tour on the same day as the Dallas event.

Ferguson said the self-guided tours offer a fun outting. On the Coppell trek, event-goers can learn the latest organic gardening technique, observe the plants that thrive in North Texas and tour the city’s two community gardens. And she said, the homeowners who participate seem to enjoy their 15 minutes of gardening fame. 

“It gives them an opportunity to meet other gardeners,” she said. 

DFW Water-Wise Gardening Events

Fort Worth EcoScape Contest
Deadline to enter Aug. 16.
Winners announced in September.

Hilda Zuniga at Hilda.Zuniga@fortworthtexas.gov.

Texas Smartscape Tour of Coppell
Still accepting entries.
Tour Oct. 4

Jen Ferguson at JFerguson@CoppellTX.gov.

Dallas Water-Wise Landscape Tour
Tour held in June.
Carole Davis at Carole.Davis@DallasCityHall.com.

Plano Water-Wise Landscape Tour
Inaugural event held in June. 

Does your city host a water-wise landscaping contest or tour? Let us know. Email Julie@GreenSourceDFW.org.

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