Springs Preserve
Las Vegas, Nevada
October 2010

This is the garden I currently work at. The 180-acre site opened to the public in 2007. There is an 8-acre area designated as a garden, featuring plants recommended for water-smart landscaping in the area. However, the rest of the site serves as a showcase for Mojave Desert plants.


The garden is intensively designed with numerous interpretive elements making it a great educational experience. Several design elements serve as classrooms, like this Watering Can Theater.

Watering Can Theater

Cactus Alley features cacti and succulents from the world’s deserts.

Cactus Alley

Many displays provide examples of landscaping techniques to educate homeowners. This paving display shows the wide variety of materials available and is well-labeled so the consumer can make a choice then buy the material they like.

Paving Display

There are also very nice interpretive signs explaining gardening concepts and techniques.

Interpretive Sign

Beyond the gardens, there are trails that wander through the rest of the site, showcasing native Mojave plants and plant communities. There are numerous interpretive panels that tell the story of the Mojave Desert and the Springs Preserve.

site overview

One of my favorite things about Springs Preserve is the solar panels that cover the parking lots. Not only do the panels provide power for the site but they also provide shade for visitor’s cars. If you’ve ever visited Las Vegas you know what a nice amenity shaded parking is. Here’s hoping other people pick up the idea. It is such a shame to destroy acres of desert with solar arrays when there are acres of parking lots in the city just crying out for this kind of covering.

Solar Panels

The Springs Preserve is a lot more than a public garden. It has beautiful LEED Platinum buildings, solar arrays providing power, exhibits of archaeology and history, and a small zoo featuring animals (mostly reptiles and invertebrates) that call the Las Vegas Valley home. The theme is sustainability and the buildings and exhibits all reflect that. They also tell the story of Las Vegas history. Not just the history of the Strip, but history from prehistoric to historic times. The 180 acre site is the birthplace of Las Vegas, a place where springs flowed in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The water has drawn people to the Springs for thousands of years. The Springs Preserve tells the story of all these people.

To see more photos of the Springs Preserve, click
here to visit the Springs Preserve website.

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