Wisescape & Xeriscape

What is Wisescape?

The City of Moscow established the Wisescape concepts in 2008 to promote water-efficient landscaping on the Palouse. The concepts include landscape design, reduction of resource use, soil enhancements, and plant selection. Please go to Wisescape Guidelines for more details. Furthermore, the City has also launched a Wisescape Award opportunity for Moscow residents to nominate themselves, or to be nominated by neighbors, businesses, developers, the City, etc. The award will recognize individuals who set examples for aesthetic and resource conservation. Please go to Wisescape Award for nomination forms and more details.

Why Wisescape?

Wisescape Guidelines


  • Aesthetically pleasing (Looks nice during various seasons)
  • Practical (Designed for efficient resource use)
  • Limit traditional Turf (Limited use of turf and/or water-conserving varieties)
  • Plant zoning (Plants with similar needs together, appropriately placed)
  • Efficient irrigation (Manual and/or automatic; creative capture/reuse systems as authorized)

Reduce Resource Use

  • Water Savings (Reduced volume during peak season)
  • Less mowing (Savings in energy and fuel; reduction in biomass for disposal)
  • Labor savings (Savings in time and/or money)
  • Fertilizer savings (Diminished leaching of fertilizer into surface and storm water systems)
  • Pesticide savings (Diminished leaching of pesticides into surface and storm water systems)
  • Reduction in yard waste (On-site retention and/or composting)


  • Enhancements (Compost, mulches, etc.)

Plant Selection

  • Site-appropriate plants (Suitably selected and placed with in landscape)

Wisescape Award

Wisescape Awards will be selected from among businesses and residences that set examples of attractive, water-conserving use of outdoor space. The intent is not based on competition or to reward the most lavish or expensive projects, but rather to acknowledge people's creative efforts, however modest, and provide inspiration to others. Not all of the Wisescape Guidelines need to be fulfilled; a combination of the guidelines is preferred. Please go to the City of Moscow Nomination Form to download your form. You can also submit nominations and/or questions to Nichole Baker by emailing nbaker@ci.moscow.id.us, by phoning the Moscow Water Department at 208.883.7114, or by post or hand-delivery to the Moscow Water Department at 201 North Main Street, Moscow. For those in the surrounding areas of Moscow, please feel free to download the Palouse Nomination Form​ to start a program in your area.

How do Wisescapes differ from Xeriscapes?

The term Xeriscape was created from the Greek word "Xeros" meaning dry and the word "Scape" from landscape. Xeriscaping is a strategy of sustainable landscaping that involves planting low water requiring plants. Through xeriscaping, individuals are able to save water, and therefore money. The cities of Moscow and Pullman built upon this concept to develop landscaping themes that work especially well with the unique environment within the Palouse.

Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

In 2001 the City of Moscow and the University of Idaho collaborated to create a Xersicape demonstration garden located at the University of Idaho arboretum. The garden includes: bunch grasses, brushes, flowers, turf grass, and a variety of other low water requiring plants available for public viewing.

Contact Us

We are located at:

Water Department
201 N. Main Street
Moscow, Idaho 83843
Voice: 208.882.3122
Fax: 208.883.7113

The development of the Wisescape demonstration garden at the Water Department, 201 N. Main Street.





Wisescape 20​13 before and after example.

The Xeriscape garden at the University of Idaho Arboretum