A Dry Spell: A Look at Xeriscaping

August 15, 2014 / by / In


As California continues its seemingly endless drought, water conservation has become more important than ever from using water-saving plumbing components, to reducing the amount of time watering the lawns. Homeowners can be fined up to $200 a day for wasting water or watering their lawns outside of the designated time.

However, your yard doesn’t have to look like a desert just because you have to keep your water usage in check. Through xeriscaping, you can keep your home looking beautiful and conserve water. Read on to learn more about xeriscaping.

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping, which joins the Greek words for “dry” and “view,” was coined by Denver’s water department during a particularly heavy drought from the late ‘70s to early ’80s. The term describes a landscaping philosophy that combines native, drought-resistant plants, mulch, and irrigation methods to save water.

Some people are under the misconception that xeriscaping involves cacti, brush, and barren landscapes, but through xeriscaping, you can create some lush, beautiful settings that reduce water usage by at least 60%.

Xeriscaping Principles and Techniques

Xeriscaping operates under seven basic principles:

  • Planning and design – Any good landscape starts with a good plan. With xeriscaping, planning gives you the opportunity to determine the types of plants to choose or avoid and the placement of turf, barbecue pits, and other elements.
  • Turf – Grass requires a lot of water to maintain. While that doesn’t mean you have to complete get rid of grass, replacing parts of your lawn with synthetic turf can save you money and water. Replacing grass with turf can garner you rebates of up to $3 per square foot.
  • Plant selection – Native plants are naturally drought-tolerant and thriving. Remember that the grouping and location of your plants has just as much of an effect on water usage.
  • Soil selection – The right type of soil will hold more water while allowing for proper drainage to prevent stagnation. Check your soil’s pH and phosphorous levels annually.
  • Irrigation – Know exactly how much water your plants need, and water low to the ground to prevent it from evaporating or spreading to unnecessary areas. Install low-flow sprinklers, drip lines, and programmable systems to monitor your water usage.
  • Mulch – Use mulch on slopes and in planters. Mulch minimizes evaporation and erosion, cools down the roots, and reduces weed growth. It comes in fiber, organic, and inorganic varieties. Inorganic mulch consists of stones, which draw heat, so be cautious of using it in areas without shade.
  • Maintenance – Keep an eye on your plants, landscape, and irrigation system, and take care of any problems immediately.

Xeriscaping is a smart and effective means of keeping your lawn and garden looking great while keeping your water usage to a minimum. Remember that droughts don’t have to mean ugly landscaping.

Image Source: Houzz



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