Xeriscaping Landscaping

Xeriscaping, or landscaping with water conservation in mind, was originally developed in Colorado for drought-afflicted areas. While xeriscaping quickly caught on in drought-prone areas of the Southwest, this gardening technique has grown in popularity throughout the country.

In addition to conserving water, one of the appeals of xeriscaping is the low level of maintenance needed to keep your landscape looking inviting. There is no rigid formula to xeriscaping - almost any landscape style can be achieved using some basic principles.

Here are a few of the simple yet effective approaches to xeriscaping:

Make a Plan

Creating an attractive, water-efficient xeriscape begins with a good design. Sketch your property to approximate scale, including permanent features such as your home and outbuildings, pool, large rocks, slopes and existing trees and plants you intend to keep. Identify the current 'climate' characteristics of different areas of your yard, considering moisture, sun, shade, wind and heat - and create different zones using new plants that match the different water requirements. Remember not to mix plants with low- and high-watering needs in the same planting area.

Identify Grassy Areas

Leave a generous amount of turf for visual appeal, and relaxation and recreation areas for your children and pets. After all, there's nothing like laying on a shady patch of cool grass on a hot summer day. Determine which portion(s) of your yard is used least and use that as a starting point to xeriscape your yard.

Use Native Plants

For the best results, use drought-resistant, native plants or ones that naturally conserve water. Aloes and cacti don't work in every region, but lush, drought-resistant plants from all over the world are available. When selecting plants, choose them according to their soil and water needs and what their size will be at maturity. This further reduces maintenance. With good planning, creativity and a little effort, xeriscaping can not only raise your property values, it will also eventually pay for itself through lower water usage.