Water is a big issue. This is especially true in the western United States where the climate is more arid and there is less rainfall. In fact, some states limit when people can water their lawns or wash their cars.
They legally enforce water restrictions to ensure there is enough water to last through the long drought seasons. Sprinkler systems can waste gallons of water every hour. When people choose to xeriscape they can conserve this valuable resource.
Xeriscaping, or xerogardening, is the process of gardening or landscaping without bringing in extra water from irrigation. Xeriscaping creates a sustainable way to landscape that can be applied all over the world. It is an especially important process in places with water restrictions. Colorado’s arid climate is where the idea and process of xeriscape was originated and perfected, but places like Hawaii also utilize xeriscape to conserve potable water. Xeriscaping is useful wherever you are.
For many people xeriscaping is a scary word. It brings to mind gardens full of rocks and cacti. Luckily, xeriscaping is more exciting than that. Xeriscaping can include rock gardens, native wildflowers, annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, logs, aloe, giant boulders, ornamental grasses like Purple Fountain grass or Mexican feather grass. Xeriscape can produce aromatic, colorful, enchanting green spaces.
The goal of xeriscape is to match local, native plants with their environment. Usually natural plants are hardier and can tolerate more. If a plant can naturally function in a climate, there’s a good bet it’ll be great for any xeriscaping project.
Xeriscape is a simple process. There are a few basic guidelines that should be followed. They are:
- Plan and Design – By planning and designing, you can better utilize your space. Garden design is important in any garden or landscape area.
- Soil Improvement – Soil that retains water is best. By adding compost or other organic materials, water will stay in the soil and be able to feed plants for longer.
- Efficient Irrigation – Plants need water. Sprinkler systems can waste water through evaporation and run-off. Watering by hand ensures that no water is wasted. See: Irrigation Jobs
- Appropriate Plants – By choosing drought resistant plants, water use is minimized. There are lots of drought resistant perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees – lavender, columbines, marigolds, zinnias, honeysuckle, witch hazel, acacia, and fig. Many plants can survive on a minimal amount of water. It is also important to plant plants in the best locations. Think about sun, wind, and water. If a plant needs extra water, place it near a drain spout. The local garden center will be able to recommend drought tolerant plants that are best in your area.
- Mulch – Lay several inches of mulch in any areas that aren’t grassy. It helps minimize evaporation and limits weed growth.
- Limited Grass – Grass is great. It’s soft, pretty, and green, but some grasses are better than others. Be sure to plant appropriate grass that is ideal for the climate.
- Maintain – Plants do better if they are maintained. Pruning, composting, mowing, and basic care is necessary. In a xeriscape, native plants take less upkeep than plants in traditional gardens.
The benefits of xeriscape are outstanding. It creates little or no maintenance, less water usage, survival of local plants with only natural rainfall, adaptation to water restrictions, added property value, wildlife habitats, and limited use of fertilizer – not to mention it creates a sustainable green space and cuts down on hefty water bills.
People are quickly realizing the benefits of xeriscape. Sustainability is growing in popularity across North America and xeriscaping is one of the best ways to sustain your green hobbies. Imagine a landscape or garden that takes minimal upkeep, saves you money, and is visually appealing.