WATER EFFICIENCY STANDARDS

The purpose of the Water Efficiency Standards is to conserve public water resources by establishing water efficient landscaping standards in the City. The standards set new recommendations and requirements for both indoor water fixtures and exterior landscapes and irrigation systems.

The standards are required for all new and rehabilitated public agency projects, private development projects, and landscaping in the front and side yards of multi-family and single-family residential projects. It is recommended and encouraged, but not mandated, that rear yard landscape improvements comply with these same standards.

The Water Efficiency Standards offer many benefits including reduced maintenance, simplified irrigation, curb appeal, and water savings. If your project doesn’t meet these standards, it may not receive approval from the City.

Reach out to Jordan Allen, our water conservation coordinator for more information.

OUTDOOR LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS

All new and rehabilitated landscaping for public agency projects, private development projects, developer-installed landscaping in multi-family and single-family residential projects within the front and side yards, and homeowner provided landscape improvements within the front and side yards of single and two-family dwellings shall comply with the landscaping standards below. It is recommended and encouraged, but not mandated, that rear yard landscape improvements of single and two-family dwellings comply with these same standards.

  • All irrigation shall be appropriate for the designated plant material to achieve the highest water efficiency.
  • Each irrigation valve shall irrigate landscaping with similar site, slope and soil conditions, and plant materials with similar watering needs.
  • Landscaped areas shall be provided with a WaterSense labeled smart irrigation controller which automatically adjusts the frequency and/or duration of irrigation events in response to changing weather conditions.
  • At least 3-4 inches of Mulch, permeable to air and water, shall be used in Planting Beds to control weeds and improve the appearance of the landscaping.
  • At maturity, landscapes are required to have enough plant material (perennials and shrubs) to create at least 50% living plant cover at maturity at the ground plane, not including tree canopies.
  • Lawn shall not be installed in Park Strips, Paths, or on slopes greater than 25% or 4:1 grade. Lawn area shall not be less than 8 feet wide at its narrowest point.
  • In residential landscapes, the landscaping shall adhere to the Localscapes requirements. (See the Localscapes Guidelines below)
  • In commercial, industrial, institutional, and multi-family development common area landscapes, Lawn areas shall not exceed 20% of the Total Landscaped Area, outside of Active Recreation Areas.

LOCALSCAPES GUIDELINES

  1. CENTRAL OPEN SHAPE

Localscapes begins with a Central Open Shape. It is an unobstructed geometric area that functions as the focal point of the landscape.

 

 

 

 

  

Design Requirements:

  • The Central Open Shape may be made of lawn, hardscape, groundcover, gravel, or mulch.
  • The Central Open Shape is created with a permanent material that is different from and creates contrast with the surrounding landscape.
  • The Central Open Shape is unobstructed. Trees, posts, planting beds, playsets, and other obstructions are not placed inside this area.
  • The Central Open Shape has a clearly defined edge.
  • The Central Open Shape cannot be lawn if it is on a slope with more than a 25% grade.

Additional Requirements if Lawn is used as a Central Open Shape:

  • A Central Open Shape made of lawn cannot exceed the greater of 250 square feet, or 35% of the Total Landscaped Area.
  • The Central Open Shape is irrigated separately. This is the only landscape element that can use overhead sprinklers. All other irrigated areas will use a drip system.
  • The Central Open Shape is at least 8 feet wide at its narrowest point.
  1. GATHERING AREAS

Gathering Areas such as patios, gazebos, decks, and other seating areas are portions of the landscape that are dedicated to congregating.

 

 

 

 

 

Design Requirements:

  • Gathering Areas are made of hardscape and placed outside of the Central Open Shape. Surfacing materials could include concrete, brick pavers, stone, gravel, or crushed stone.
  • In a small landscape without lawn, Gathering Areas may function as the Central Open Shape.
  1. ACTIVITY ZONES

Activity zones such as storage areas, fire pits, vegetable gardens, and playgrounds are designed for recreation or function.

 

 

 

 

 

Design Requirements:

  • Activity Zones are located outside of the Central Open Shape.
  • Activity Zones are surfaced with materials other than lawn.
  1. PATHS

Paths connect featured element within the landscaped area.

 

 

 

 

 

Design Requirements:

  • Paths are not made of lawn.
  • Paths may be made with hardscape, mulch, pavers, or other groundcover.
  1. PLANTING BEDS

Remaining areas of the landscape become Planting Beds.

 

 

 

 

 

Design Requirements:

  • Planting Beds are planted with plants, such as trees, ornamental grasses, shrubs, perennials, and other regionally appropriate plants.
  • Planting Beds have at least 50% living plant cover at maturity at the ground plane, not including tree canopies.
  • Planting beds are drip irrigated. Drip systems should be equipped with a pressure regulator, filter, flush-end assembly, and any other appropriate components.
  • Planting Beds are covered in 3-4 inches of mulch.

Residential Park Strip Design Requirements:

  • Lawn in not allowed in park strips.
  • Park strip Planting Beds should have at least 50% living plant cover at maturity at the ground plane, not including tree canopies.
  • Stamped natural earth tone colored concrete or masonry material such as pavers may cover up to 25% of the park strip Planting Bed and cannot be in sections greater than 15 linear feet.

THE ORDINANCE

WATER EFFICIENCY STANDARDS

PURPOSE:

A. The city council has found that: 1) water resources are limited and conservation efforts must be implemented to sustain growth, 2) much of the city culinary water resources are used for outdoor purposes, including watering landscaping, and 3) the city desires to promote the design, installation and maintenance of landscapes that are both attractive and water efficient.

B. The city council has determined that it is in the public interest to conserve the public water resources and to promote standards for efficient water use and landscaping by establishing water conservation standards for indoor plumbing fixtures and outdoor landscaping.

DEFINITIONS:

ACTIVITY ZONES: Portions of the landscape designed for recreation or function, such as storage areas, fire pits, vegetable gardens, and playgrounds.

ACTIVE RECREATION AREAS: Areas of the landscape dedicated to active play where Lawn may be used as the playing surface (ex. sports fields and play areas).

CENTRAL OPEN SHAPE: An unobstructed area that functions as the focal point of Localscapes and is designed in a shape that is geometric in nature.

GATHERING AREAS: Portions of the landscape that are dedicated to congregating, such as patios, gazebos, decks, and other seating areas.

HARDSCAPE: Durable landscape materials, such as concrete, wood, pavers, stone, or compacted inorganic mulch.

LAWN: Ground that is covered with grass or turf that is regularly mowed.

LOCALSCAPES: A landscaping approach designed to create locally adapted and sustainable landscapes through a basic 5-step approach (central open shape, gathering areas, activity zones, connecting pathways, and planting beds).

MULCH: Any material such as rock, bark, compost, wood chips or other materials left loose and applied to the soil.

PARK STRIP: A typically narrow landscaped area located between the back-of-curb and sidewalk.

PATHS: Designed routes between landscape areas and features.

PLANTING BED: Areas of the landscape that consist of plants, such as trees, ornamental grasses, shrubs, perennials, and other regionally appropriate plants.

TOTAL LANDSCAPED AREA: Improved areas of the property that incorporate all of the completed features of the landscape. The landscape area does not include footprints of buildings or structures, sidewalks, driveways, and other non-irrigated areas intentionally left undeveloped.

INDOOR FIXTURE STANDARDS:

It is recommended and encouraged, but not mandated, that all new and future construction and future additions, remodels, or refurbishments install plumbing fixtures that have the WaterSense label, including: lavatory faucets, shower heads, sink faucets, water closets (tank and flushometer-valve toilets), and urinals. Indoor plumbing fixtures shall comply with the requirements outlined in Chapter 29 “Plumbing Systems”, of the International Building Code.

OUTDOOR LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Applicability: All new and rehabilitated landscaping for public agency projects, private development projects, developer-installed landscaping in multi-family and single-family residential projects within the front and side yards, and homeowner provided landscape improvements within the front and side yards of single and two-family dwellings shall comply with the landscaping standards below. It is recommended and encouraged, but not mandated, that rear yard landscape improvements of single and two-family dwellings comply with these same standards.
  2. Landscaping Requirements:
    1. All irrigation shall be appropriate for the designated plant material to achieve the highest water efficiency. Drip irrigation or bubblers shall be used except in Lawn areas. Drip irrigation systems shall be equipped with a pressure regulator, filter, flush-end assembly, and any other appropriate components.
    2. Each irrigation valve shall irrigate landscaping with similar site, slope and soil conditions, and plant materials with similar watering needs. Lawn and Planting Beds shall be irrigated on separate irrigation valves. In addition, drip emitters and sprinklers shall be placed on separate irrigation valves.
    3. Landscaped areas shall be provided with a WaterSense labeled smart irrigation controller which automatically adjusts the frequency and/or duration of irrigation events in response to changing weather conditions. All controllers shall be equipped with automatic rain delay or rain shut-off capabilities.
    4. At least 3-4 inches of Mulch, permeable to air and water, shall be used in Planting Beds to control weeds and improve the appearance of the landscaping.
    5. At maturity, landscapes are required to have enough plant material (perennials and shrubs) to create at least 50% living plant cover at maturity at the ground plane, not including tree canopies.
    6. Lawn shall not be installed in Park Strips, Paths, or on slopes greater than 25% or 4:1 grade. Lawn area shall not be less than 8 feet wide at its narrowest point. To the extent reasonably practicable, Lawn shall be free from obstructions (trees, signs, posts, valve boxes, etc.).
    7. In residential landscapes, the landscaping shall adhere to the following Localscapes requirements and shall be properly labeled on the landscape plan submitted to the City for review:
      1. If size permits, the landscaped areas of the front yard and back yard shall include a designed Central Open Shape created by using Lawn, Hardscape, groundcover, gravel, or Mulch.
      2. Gathering Areas shall be constructed of Hardscape and placed outside of the Central Open Shape. In a landscape without Lawn, Gathering Areas may function as the Central Open Shape.
      3. Activity Zones shall be located outside of the Central Open Shape and shall be surfaced with materials other than Lawn.
      4. Paths shall be made with materials that do not include Lawn, such as Hardscape, Mulch, or other groundcover
      5. Lawn areas shall not exceed the greater of 250 square feet, or 35% of the Total Landscaped Area.
      6. Small residential lots, which have no side yards or back yards, where the Total Landscaped Area is less than 250 square feet, and where the front yard dimensions cannot accommodate the minimum 8 feet wide Lawn area requirement of the Landscaping Requirements in section F, are exempt from the 8 feet minimum width Lawn area requirement.
    8. In commercial, industrial, institutional, and multi-family development common area landscapes, Lawn areas shall not exceed 20% of the Total Landscaped Area, outside of Active Recreation Areas.
    9. The City Engineer may allow or require exceptions from the slope limitations and other elements of the Landscaping Requirements in public utility infrastructure landscape areas upon the applicant’s showing of good cause (a reason rationally related to the development) and in the best interest of the City.
    10. These outdoor standards are not intended to be in conflict with other landscaping requirements as defined by Utah law, including stormwater retention requirements and low-impact development guidelines. Notwithstanding these outdoor standards, whenever any requirement may be in conflict with Utah law, such conflicting requirements shall not apply