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Xeriscaping, a philosophy in landscaping, is a concept that’s been around since the ‘80s but many people still don’t know what it is. Some people do and they have already used it to make their garden more beautiful, sustainable and save money along the way. Not sure where to start or how to even get xeriscape ideas?
So, if you want to know what xeriscaping is all about, read this article to learn more about it.
What is Xeriscaping?
The word xeriscape comes from two Greek words which mean dry and scape. The concept was created by Denver Water in the late 70s as a philosophy that uses native, drought resistant plants arranged in efficient ways that save water. The idea is now spreading quickly and many people are getting on the trend because of droughts and the many money saving possibilities.
There are many misconceptions about it. Some feel it means using no water at all, some think of it as the use of barren landscape with a few cacti, which is a negative image.
However, it’s not a desert-like landscape with cacti and tumbleweed. This concept means using native plants, many plant varieties and it can look really great and attractive. If used effectively, it can help people save money on water they would otherwise spend on their gardens.
It also saves money on maintenance later, even though the initial cost of turning a garden into xeriscaped garden might cost a bit more at the outset. However, with how much it can save in a year on garden water, it pays itself off.
Here are seven principles of Xeriscaping:
- Planning the design appropriately
- Making soil better for the plants
- Selecting plants
- Creating practical turf areas
- Watering plants
- Using mulch
What are the Benefits of Xeriscaping?
Many dry areas have already embraced xeriscaping as the king of landscaping. The basic concept is to create landscape designs that look great and save a lot of water, thus helping the environment.
Here are some of the great benefits of xeriscaping:
It looks great
Xeriscaping not only saves money but it also looks amazing and realistic, much better than turf landscaping. There is plenty of nice designs you can use and they look much more pleasing than many other landscaping ideas. Additionally, you don’t have to work that hard to keep it looking good because weeds only grow in the spring.
Maintenance is easy
With the use of decorative rocks and blooming native plants, you don’t have to worry about maintenance that much. For instance, you don’t have to push a heavy lawnmower in the hot summer days or spend money on landscaping any further. The only thing you will have to do is a trim here and there throughout the year and remove the weeds in the spring.
It looks natural
In a dry environment, lush green yards don’t look natural but rather out of place. Instead, choosing several native plants can fit in a lot better with the landscape of your home and look amazing in your yard. You can use cacti and desert flowers which bloom and look beautiful and natural.
You will save water
Beautiful green yards take a lot of water and maintenance. Summer in dry areas is especially difficult if you want to maintain greenery which is more used to wet conditions or at least, not accommodated to dry conditions. The water supply can be scarce in the summer too, so it’s ethical to use less of it and conserve it to save more water.
You will save money
Your monthly utility bill probably suffers because of your expensive gardening habits. But if you had a xeriscaped garden, you could avoid all of that and still enjoy a beautiful landscape while spending half as much money. Xeriscaping products are also less expensive and it can cost a lot less in general than green turfs.
You will save time
You will get to save a ton of time without all the lawn mowing, weeding and watering. This can make a huge difference in the hot desert sun where it takes a lot of work to maintain the green lawn and greenery. By simply planting desert flowers, putting the rocks in your yard and so on, you save yourself a ton of time and effort while still having a great yard.
Xeriscape Ideas for Your Home
Xeriscaping, in essence, is a lot simpler than it sounds. It’s very sustainable with a goal of saving water and using native plants with a lot of gravel to support that. The fact is that you don’t have to do your whole garden at once, since many people are not ready to let go of their beautiful greenery and lush vegetation. Start with small sections of your yard and expand from there. Create areas and layers. Use rock garden concept in some areas or in small quantities and then move on from there. It can also give your greenery a special accent and make it look a lot better.
Here are some xeriscaping ideas for your garden:
Xeriscaping pathways and steps – These are often used in xeriscaping as landmarks. These transitional areas look amazing and they can offer a great chance for you to draw attention to the plants near them, especially if you create a beautiful design with gravel and stepping stones. It can also reduce the amount of grass you have and thus reduce the amount of water you spend. This is a great idea if you are just transitioning into xeriscaped garden slowly and want to keep some greenery.
Using native grasses – Paths and steps with gravel and stones can be further enhanced by using native grasses and pebbles in a fun way.
Display this against some green scenery and you will get a truly memorable space.
Stepping stones in xeriscaped areas – Use small gravel like limestone and design an angular or irregular path through your garden. Both ways have a great aesthetic and you will be able to plant great plants native to your area there.
Add some sculptural rocks to your garden – These can look amazing, especially in the areas that have been somewhat xeriscaped already and with native plants and succulents.
Create steps if you have a flat yard – This will add some layers and make it more interesting. Besides, you can plant many great plants both native and non-native in that area of your yard.
Xeriscaping can fit in with any type of home, whether you have an older, mid-century home, contemporary home or home with a great lush yard. You can make it work in a steep garden and no matter how big it is. Of course, start small and see what you like. Remember that xeriscaping can look really great, especially with the wide variety of blooming succulents you can get nowadays and with native grasses. They have interesting colors, not just green, and this can add a special interest point in your own garden. So, plan everything, pick your plants and start small.
Which Plants are Best for Xeriscaping?
If you want your garden to look amazing but you still want to save water, xeriscaping plants will help you with that. Here are some that you should use.
- Pinyon Pine
- Northern Catalpa
- Russian sage
- Lead plant
- False indigo
- Blue mist spirea
- Ice plant
- Purple Coneflower
- Jupiter’s beard
- Indian grass
- Blue Avena Grass
- Maiden grass
- Blues little bluestem
- Feather reed grass
How Does Xeriscaping Save Water?
Up to half of the water used in gardening goes to waste because of evaporation, wind or overwatering. This is why getting a landscape that saves water can help you save the environment and your own wallet.
There are several ways xeriscaping can help you save water.
You need to plan and design it well – Check for areas which consume most of the water you spend in your yard. This can help you figure out which area to act on first. Having a design helps you make it manageable. Don’t think you have to remove all grass either, you can keep some of it but it’s important to start somewhere when you want to reduce the amount of water you are wasting.
Choose plants that are native to your area – Select plants that work well in the climate of your area. If you live in a dry area, those would be plants that do well in drought.
Water the plants properly – Efficient irrigation is one of the key parts to having a xeriscaped garden. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation system, or water your plants by hand because sprinklers and misters don’t really do anything. The water goes on the plants or over them and it needs to be near the roots. Group plants by their water needs. Water during low use hours, early morning is the best. That way, not too much of it will evaporate. You should also check for puddles or run offs because it signals that you are adding too much water.
I’m in a rental, large yard but the front by the porch is a mess. I have to use pots but reading this has encouraged me to try this is pots which can be decorative also. So much better than buying plants that usually die because of the extreme heat in AZ.