BYU Photo
BYU student Leslie Stewart draws a landscape plan. Stewart placed first in the National Collegiate Landscaping Competition for her work in the exterior landscape design competition. (BYU Photo)

Landscaping at BYU is not just about aesthetics.

BYU Grounds Director Glenl Wear said keeping the campus beautiful is important. However, in a state where drought is common, BYU Grounds also values the importance of sustainability.

According to Wear, BYU Grounds has a program it has been refining for the past three years in case there is a drought.

In a serious drought, BYU would maintain the shrubs and tree areas while only watering the grass once a month.

Wear said while watering once a month would not keep the lawn green, it would be enough to keep it alive so it will grow back once the drought has ended.

Wear also said BYU uses irrigation water for about 60 percent of campus landscaping, which saves millions of gallons of water each year. Though, he said if there was a drought, BYU would still have to do more to conserve water.

Anne Thomas, president of BYU’s Earth Stewardship Club, said landscaping is one of the biggest private users of water.

“It may be worth re-examining how much we prioritize the appearance of landscaping when water is limited,” Thomas said.

BYU’s School of Landscape Management offers one of the top landscape-related programs. In fact, BYU students recently placed first in the National Collegiate Landscaping Competition for the second year in a row.

Ty Mullen
BYU grounds students employees Brent Collier, Dallin Vosti and Marshal Call work on campus landscaping. (Ty Mullen)

BYU earned the overall high score at the National Collegiate Landscaping Competition, and many BYU students received top individual results.

One of these students, Leslie Stewart, received first place for her work in the exterior landscape design competition.

Stewart found her love for landscaping after taking the residential landscape design class, PWS 103, at BYU.

“I love taking a list of needs and wants from a client and creating a design that is functional and beautiful,” Stewart said.

An important part of making landscape functional is to be conscious of water use, especially in dry places like Utah, where lawn watering can be both expensive and detrimental.

Stewart said she encourages xeriscaping in an effort to conserve water. Xeriscaping is a landscaping style that requires less water. It usual involves less lawn and more native plants that can thrive with less water.

“We need to be conscious of how much water we use so we don’t send ourselves into a massive drought,” Stewart said.