Yabiku, Scott T., D.G. Casagrande, and E. Farley-Metzger. 2008. "Preferences for landscape choice in a Southwestern desert city." Environment and Behavior, 40(3): 382-400.
Through outdoor water consumption, residential landscaping behavior affects public policy and the environment in the American Southwest. We propose a decision framework based on cost, ecological constraints, laws, and individual preferences. Controlling for cost, ecological constraints, and laws, we surveyed residents in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, using computer-generated landscape images to examine the effects of environmental attitudes (measured using Dunlap's New Ecological Paradigm), socialization, aesthetic affect, and demographic variables on landscape preferences. Landscape images varied from low-water xeriscapes to lush designs. Residents preferred high-water-use landscapes over dry landscapes for their own yards, even though they considered desert landscapes to be aesthetically pleasing. Women and long-term residents of the area were significantly more averse to dry landscapes. Stronger environmental attitudes did not lead to preference for xeriscapes but did lead to compromises on the amount of turf grass preferred in lush landscapes. This may contribute to the "oasis" mentality commonly found among area residents.