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The no. 1 thing to consider before landscaping your backyard

Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 04, 2020

Tackling your front- or backyard is no small feat, but it can be easier when you know exactly where to start. Landscape designer Cynthia Bee shared her "Localscapes"philosophy that helps homeowners end up with a more functional, low-maintenance space by asking one question:

Not, "What plants should I use? but actually, "where are my activity zones?"

Cynthia said, "Homeowners think that there is a special combination of plants that can fix whatever is ailing their yard, but great landscapes are determined long before the plants are selected. The layout of the landscape will determine not just the attractiveness but also the function and maintenance required to keep it that way."

She recommends taking time to plan out activity zones and planting beds before you even begin to break a sweat on execution.

"Keep a balance between planted areas and open spaces—that’s really the secret to creating an amazing yard that won’t work you to the bone," Cynthia said. "When you break up planting beds and lawn areas by adding Gathering Areas, dedicated Activity Zones and Paths, you’re creating areas that, for the most part, need little work and water to keep them looking great."

After determining your zones - for example, a patch of lawn for soccer, or a covered patio for outdoor dining, or a garden seating area for soaking up nature - then you can start to pick plants for the planting bed zones.

Cynthia recommends going to your local nursery who can help you pick out native plants that will require less maintenance and less watering.

She will be teaching people how to create a great landscape at the Salt Lake Tribune Home and Garden Show presented by BioGrass Sod Farms (details below).

"The Home Show offers a one-stop shop where you can learn how to design a great landscape through my free classes then find experts at the show who can provide the expertise or materials you need to accomplish it," Cynthia said.

Her free classes will be on the Garden Design Stage on Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 7 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m.

Show Dates:

Friday, March 6, 2020 Noon–10 p.m.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Sunday, March 8, 2020 11 a.m.–6 p.m.


Mountain America Expo Center

9575 South State Street

Sandy, Utah 84070


Adults (Door) $12

Adults (Online) $10

Weekend Adult (ages 13+) and Seniors 55+– Valid all three days of the show $15

Senior 55+ (Door & Online) $8

Weekend Senior (55+) – Valid all three days of the show $12

Children Ages 12 & under FREE (with a paying adult)

Group Tickets (20 or more) $8

Teacher Appreciation and Hero Day: All teachers, active military personnel, veterans, fire, police and first responders get FREE admission with valid ID on Friday, March 6, 2020. A valid ID must be presented at Will Call in the South Lobby.

Trade Day: All home-related tradespeople or members of an affiliated association get into the show complimentary on Sunday, March 8, 2020. A valid ID must be presented at Will Call. Business cards, association membership cards, employee IDs, vocational school and trade school IDs are accepted.

For more information, please visit