Show Your Nevada Pride! With River-Friendly Landscapes

We think the Truckee Meadows is a beautiful place to live! If you do, too, then what better way to show it than to have a landscape that fits in with the regions’s natural beauty and shows off your Nevada pride?

That’s why we’re introducing a new blog series on “River-Friendly” landscaping. We’ll teach you all about how to create a gorgeous landscape you’ll love while also respecting the Truckee River watershed.

The beauty of the Truckee Meadows is a breath-taking blend of sky, mountains, and high desert! Special thanks to Lee Molof for sharing this beautiful photo.

So what is a River-Friendly Landscape?

A River-Friendly Landscape is one that is especially designed for residents of the Truckee Meadows! It will beautify your property, conserve water, reduce yard maintenance and costs, and protect the water quality of the Truckee River. It doesn’t mean it must be wild and uncontrolled, but rather, it respects the natural attributes of our region and promotes the health, diversity, and sustainability of the Truckee River Watershed.

An example of a River-Friendly Landscape in Reno, which includes drought-tolerant plants, inline drip irrigation, and mulched planting areas.

Why does it matter?

The Truckee River is the lifeblood of our community! Without it, we wouldn’t have water for drinking, for irrigating our yards, for growing our food, or for swimming and playing in. And did you know that the Truckee River is part of a very unique terminal basin, with no water flowing to the ocean? Only about 5% of all watersheds in the world are terminal basins! This accounts for the region’s rare, endemic fish species, like Lahontan cutthroat trout and cui-ui. It also means any pollution that flows into our watershed stays here. And a lot of pollutants come from our landscapes — like oil from car leaks, soapy water from washing cars in the driveway, sediments, fertilizers, pesticides, and even pet waste.

The Truckee River flows from the Sierra Nevada, bringing water to the Truckee Meadows.

What can I do?

We all have to work together to protect this special place we call home, and there are lots of things you can do to help keep our watershed clean. Many of them start right in your yard. That’s where your River-Friendly Landscape comes in!

How do I get started?

The first step to any good landscape design is to evaluate the existing conditions. We have so many different micro-climates with varying topography in our area.  Just think how different the climate conditions are in Verdi compared to Sparks, and they’re only 20 miles apart. Or think of how different it is to landscape on slopes in Northwest Reno compared to the flat valley bottoms in South Meadows. You will need to consider the different conditions and tailor your landscape design to your unique location.

So sharpen your pencil, get out a notebook, and go outside. Look at your landscape and take notes:

  1. What is your climate like? Are there micro-climates?
  2. Which direction does the wind typically come from?
  3. Are there slopes? How steep are they? Does water run off and cause erosion?
  4. Are there depressions or places where water pools?
  5. What plants are already there? Are there ones you want to keep? Which ones are healthy? Are there lawn areas you never use?
  6. What type of soil do you have? If you don’t know, you can do a quick assessment or send samples to a lab.
  7. Where are the sunny and shady parts of your yard? Which side of your home gets the most sun exposure?
  8. Where are areas of high traffic or activity? Where do people walk? Does the dog run up and down the same area?

Next think about what types of things you’d like to include:

  1. Have you dreamed of a new patio or porch?
  2. Do you need more play space for the kids?
  3. Want to include some veggie beds?
  4. Need to replace a fence that blew over?
  5. Want an arbor to provide some much needed shade?

Now that you’ve assessed your current site conditions and know all the things you want to include in your new River-Friendly Landscape, you’re ready to begin learning about all the River-Friendly design ideas to consider.

A River-Friendly Landscape that features native plants and is low maintenance. Now that’s bringing native beauty into the city!

Ready for the next steps?

We’re presenting a River-Friendly Landscape Workshop at TMWA on May 2 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Join us there and stay tuned for more blog posts. We’re diving deep on this one and will help guide you through the landscape transformation that will make your yard the eNVy of the neighborhood!