San Antonio Botanical Garden unveils clever new water-saving village
Like it or not, the broad expanses of verdant turf that once boxed off America's neighborhoods will soon become as anachronistic as wall-to-wall shag carpeting and conversation pits. A large lawn is much less impressive when it's crispy and brown.
With scarcer water supplies and climbing temperatures in mind, the San Antonio Botanical Garden's (SABOT) latest project points to the future. WaterSaver Community, built in partnership with the San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Water System, and Bank of America, opened on December 9 to promote sustainable living in Alamo City.
Located near the Auld House and the Old-Fashioned Garden, WaterSaver Community replaces the Botanical Garden's previous WaterSaver Lane. The exhibit offers an immersive look into water conservation with staged facades providing a footprint of how landscaping relates to residential builds. The idea is to teach South Texas residents how residential landscapes can be equally attractive and resource-efficient.
"This is more than just another garden space," said Katherine Trumble, SABOT Interim CEO, via a release. "It's a step to becoming a more water-conscious community."
The project is divided into six miniature cottages — each in a different architectural style — outfitted with drought-tolerant landscaping. In Goofus and Gallant fashion, one installation illustrates what not to plant.
The conservation-minded tracts, filled with native plants, fragrant herbs, groundcover, and patio hardscaping, show that sustainable planting can be even more showstopping than its more thirsty alternative.
Of course, the area isn't just about aesthetics. The exhibit provides examples of how to reduce flooding and protect the quality of San Antonio's rivers. And, of course, it offers guests ways to save money when managing their own homes.
"It is not lost on us that this past summer in San Antonio was the hottest on record," said Bank of America San Antonio President Ventura Perez. "Saving water is not only critical for our wallet, but it is necessary for our environment."