UNLV's entire main campus has for more than two decades been designated an arboretum - a conscientious display of vegetation suited to Las Vegas' high desert climate.
As the local community has shifted in recent years from landscapes of grass and trees to water smart displays of drought resistant vegetation, UNLV's emerald in the desert - as the arboretum is known - has followed suit with massive turf reduction projects and xeriscape gardens.
For two of its most recent efforts, the UNLV facilities management team was honored by the Southern Nevada Water Authority during the agency's annual Landscape Awards Competition.
The facilities team, which manages the university's 332-acre campus, took first and second place in the commercial/institution category for converting turf to xeriscape near the Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center and for re-landscaping the courtyard outside of the Alta Ham Fine Arts Building.
The awards were based on overall beauty, efficient water use, plant selection and design and recognized the University for choosing water-smart landscapes that were aesthetically pleasing. When properly irrigated, such landscapes can use up to 75 percent less water than turf.
The award-winning projects are just the latest in the university's effort to reduce water use on campus grounds. Since 2001, UNLV has converted more than 855,000 square feet of turf to water smart landscaping, a savings of up to 45 million gallons of water each year.
Learn more about UNLV's landscape plan and the UNLV arboretum.