Xeriscaping refers to the conservation of water through creative landscaping.
- Saves Water
For most of North America, over 60% of residential water is used is applied to landscape and lawns. Xeriscape can reduce landscape water use by 50 - 75%.
- Less Maintenance
Aside from occasional pruning and weeding, maintenance is minimal. Watering requirements are low, and can be met with simple irrigation systems.
- No Fertilizers or Pesticides
Using plants native to our area will eliminate the need for chemical supplements. Sufficient nutrients are provided by healthy organic soil.
- Improves Property Value
A good xeriscaped site can raise property values, which is more than offset the cost of installation. Protect your landscaping investment by drought-proof it.
- Pollution Free
Fossil fuel consumption from gas mowers is minimized or eliminated with minimal turf areas. Small turf areas can be maintained with a reel mower.
- Provides Wildlife Habitat
Use of native plants, shrubs and trees offer a familiar and varied habitat for local wildlife.
The Seven Principles of Xeriscaping
Planning for Water Conservation
Evaluate your property and design a plan incorporating your particular characteristics. Think long term (2 - 3 years) in planning. Answer these questions:
- How will you use your site?
- What amount of sun and shade does it receive?
- What type of soil do you have and how does it drain?
- Are there any slopes or puddle-collecting depressions?
- What competition do other landscape elements present?
Improving the soil and Using Mulches
Examine your soil type for proper water holding capacity and drainage. Try adding organic matter, such as compost or mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and decrease soil compaction. Mulch is used on top of planting beds while compost is usually dug into the soil.
Mulches can be Organic:
- Wood chips
- Shredded wood
- Pine needles
- Grass clippings
- Coarse peat
Mulches can be Inorganic:
- Crushed stone
Using Alternative Ground Cover Rather than Grass
One option is to reduce the amount of lawn you have by selecting other types of groundcovers.
Groundcovers can be Organic:
- Choose cool-season grass type with lower fertilizer requirements, such as a mixture of one the fescue grasses (creeping red, chewing's, sheep, tall and hard fescue) with a finely textured "turf type" perennial ryegrass.
Groundcovers can be Inorganic:
- Interlocking paving stones
- Cement patio
- Crushed stone walkways
Plants and trees love rainwater, so why not give them all you can?
Try some of these techniques:
- Raise the soil around each shrub and tree to form a mini basin.
Use gutters and downspouts, you can catch rainwater and channel it to your landscape or catch it in rain barrel and use it during dry periods
Using Highly Effective Watering Methods
Water your Xeriscape garden early in the morning to avoid excessive evaporation and burning of plants. Make sure you only water the lawn and planted areas and not the pavement. Water heavily (one inch) once a week.
Pruning and Maintenance Practices
If you've used fertilizer on any of your plantings, they will need a lot of water to grow (a slow release fertilizer and compost is best). Pruning and thinning out of trees and shrubs not only shows them off more, it also saves water. Make sure you don't overdo it or tree bark will get sunburned and soil will dry out.
Selecting Low Water Use Plants
- Check out the variety ofdrought-tolerant plants available at your local garden center.
- Try experimenting with a small area first.
- Native plants are ideal for water wise gardens because they are generally more resistant to disease and pests.
- Walk around uncultivated areasaround your neighborhood to get an idea which native plants do well in your locale.
- Almost all bulbs are drought-tolerant, making them ideal choices for water wise gardens.
|Plant Type||Botanical Name||Common Name|
|Annuals||Artemisia stellariana||Dusty miller|
|Ground Covers||Arctostaphylos uva-ursi||Bearberry|
|Ground Covers||Coronilla varia||Crown vetch|
|Ground Covers||Potentilla 'Yellow Gem'||Yellow gem cinquefoil|
|Perennials||Asclepias tuberosa||Butterfly milkweed|
|Perennials||Stachys lanata||Lambs ears|
|Perennials||Sempervivum||Hens & chicks|
|Perennials||Coronilla varia||Crown vetch|
|Shrubs||Cotinus coggygtia||Smoke bush|
|Shrubs||Aronia arbutifolia||Wild cherry|
|Trees||Celtis occidentalis||Iron wood|
|Trees||Elaeagnus angustifolia||Russian olive|
|Trees||Juniperus virginiana||Upright juniper|
|Vines||Lonicera japonica||Climbing honeysuckle|