The word Xeriscape is derived from Xēros, the Greek word for “dry” that is the base for a handful of English words related to mainly dry printing (xerography) and dry, or xerophilous, habitats and their plants.
In the early 1980s, the Greek adjective was used to name a type of landscaping practiced primarily in the arid western regions of the United States. (The Department of Denver Water, is credited with the coinage.)
What is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscape, as it is called, uses plants that require little water as well as techniques that efficiently use water and reduce evaporation.
Xeriscape landscaping is a method of gardening that uses less water, fertilizer and requires less landscape maintenance. A style of garden design based upon the Xeriscape principles of ecology and conservation of resources.
This landscaping method was developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that utilize water-conserving techniques (such as the use of Heat-tolerant plants, organic matter, and efficient irrigation)
Xeriscaped landscape also has the advantage of requiring less space, which makes it ideal for urban areas.
Using this method will help you conserve water, reduce your carbon footprint, and create beautiful, more sustainable landscapes than traditional lawns.
The goal is to use native plants and natural materials wherever possible. Xeriscaped landscapes would help conserve our planet’s limited resources because it reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Keep reading for more about xeriscaping and some great xeriscape ideas!
What makes Xeriscaping so great?
There are a number of reasons why you might consider using this type of garden design.
For example, you could be concerned about global warming because of rising temperatures. Because Xeriscaping requires a lot less maintenance, you can cut down on your carbon footprint.
You could have limited space where you live.
Your home may be in a dry gardening zone. Gardening zones in arid climates often have water restrictions. This leaves your soil dry and can destroy your curb appeal and the ability to grow other plants that require much more care and H20. Such climates are great for Xeriscaping and using the natural beauty of your environment to enhance your curb appeal.
Or perhaps you just don’t enjoy preparing and caring for the soil. As the climate continues to change, a Xeriscaped yard will be more and more common. If you prefer to help the climate then It’s a good idea to choose a Xeriscaped yard over a traditional one.
ONE ADVANTAGE IS SAVING TIME.
Traditional gardeners must constantly tend their flowers, vegetables, fruits, and bushes. They must always pay attention to their environment and adjust accordingly. With Xeriscaping, there is no need to worry about watering your plants. Instead, you can focus on enjoying your outdoor space. Choose plants that grow in local parks and preserved lands.
ANOTHER BENEFIT IS REDUCING POLLUTION.
Many chemicals found in fertilizers and pesticides pollute our environment. When we choose xeriscaped landscapes, we eliminate the harmful effects of those pollutants. By using organic materials like organic mulches made of native trees and plants, we are able to provide for the soil and, in turn, the plant no matter what the weather conditions are.
IT ALSO SAVES ENERGY.
Watering grass requires electricity. When the land is arid, meaning dry, you will need some type of irrigation. From drip irrigation to fine mist watering, we use organic matter that is native to the region to enhance the landscape and follow the principles of xeriscaping.
In addition, it takes lots of fuel to heat water so much.
BY USING XERISCAPING, YOU’LL CUT BACK ON BOTH COSTS AND EMISSIONS.
Finally, Xeriscaping reduces waste. It’s easy to recycle old pots and containers into new ones.
TO FIND A UNIQUE WAY OF LANDSCAPING YOUR BACKYARD, CONSIDER XERISCAPING.
How does Xeriscaping Work?
XERISCAPING IS AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY LANDSCAPE DESIGN THAT USES DROUGHT-TOLERANT PLANTS AND WATER CONSERVATION TECHNIQUES TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES WITHOUT EXCESSIVE WATER.
Xeriscape gardening requires minimal maintenance than traditional lawns, making it ideal for homeowners looking to save money and resources.
THE FIRST STEP TOWARD CREATING A SUCCESSFUL XERISCAPE IS DECIDING WHAT PLANTS YOU’D PREFER TO INCLUDE.
Plant Selection is crucial. Popular choices include cacti, succulents, ferns, sedums, heucheras, aloes, agaves, and yuccas. Next, choose which areas of your yard you’d like to convert. Choose healthy plants that do not require a lot of water resources such as sprinkler systems, traditional irrigation, and moist soil. This conserves water and prevents water waste that comes from water lost to evaporation, inorganic mulches, and poorly done drip irrigation.
THEN DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT YOU’D LIKE TO INSTALL DRIP LINES FOR DRIP IRRIGATION. DRIP SYSTEMS DELIVER WATER DIRECTLY FROM SPRINKLERS ONTO SPECIFIC PLANT ROOTS. THIS CREATES DEEP ROOTS FOR SPECIFIC PLANTS
How do you come up with Xeriscape ideas for your yard?
IF YOU’VE DECIDED TO GO AHEAD WITH XERISCAPING, THEN YOU’LL PROBABLY NEED SOME GUIDANCE AS YOU BEGIN PLANTING.
THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL GET YOU STARTED.
- Find out if you already have enough sun exposure.
- Determine if you have adequate drainage.
- Check to see if you have room for additional beds.
- Look into purchasing a rain gauge.
Once these things are taken care of, move forward with designing your new garden.
How much does it cost to create a Xeriscape garden?
Creating a Xeriscape requires careful consideration before beginning construction.
IN FACT, MANY EXPERTS RECOMMEND HIRING PROFESSIONALS WHO SPECIALIZE IN THIS FIELD.
But even if you hire someone else to build your garden, you still need to plan carefully.
WHEN DESIGNING XERISCAPE GARDENS, THERE ARE THREE MAIN COMPONENTS:
These provide shade, privacy, shelter, and wind protection. Most people think about them first when planning a backyard. However, shrubbery can also be incorporated into front yards too.
This includes perennial flowers, herbaceous plants, wildflowers, and more. Remember that not every flower has the same growing season. So don’t expect everything to bloom at once. Instead, plan ahead and which ones will bloom during certain seasons. Depending on environmental conditions, ground cover can also incorporate large rocks, small rocks, seashells.
The foliage component consists of native grasses, ornamental grasses, evergreens, conifers, deciduous trees, and flowering trees. They’re great in areas where you want something green but aren’t interested in seeing much else.
7 Xeriscape principles to keep in mind when building a Xeriscape Ideas list:
Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that uses native plants instead of grasses and other types of foliage. Xeriscaping is a sustainable gardening method that reduces water usage and saves money. Xeriscaping’s goal is to create a beautiful landscape that looks great year-round.
1. USE NATIVE PLANTS
These plants are found naturally within an area. For example, if you live near mountains, mountain laurel, which grows on steep slopes, may be considered a native plant. In the Western United States, Cacti are considered native along with The Joshua Tree.
2. USE WATER WISELY AND INHIBIT WEED GROWTH NATURALLY
Watering wisely means knowing exactly how much water each individual plant needs. Too little water leads to wilting, while too much water results in rot.
To know how much water your plants require, take note of their growth rate.
If you notice that some plants seem to be thriving better than others, then those plants may not need as much water.
If all of your plants appear to be struggling, then you might want to increase the amount of water you give them.
3. CHOOSING DROUGHT-TOLERANT PLANTS
Water-efficient lawns. Grass absorbs up to 50 percent of all precipitation falling on it. That makes grass ideal for dry regions because it keeps soils moist even during droughts.
However, if your region does not receive plenty of rain each season, consider planting drought-resistant turfgrass varieties that will survive extended periods of hot weather. Places like Las Vegas and Arizona use turfgrass for many of their outdoor spaces.
You want to avoid having to water your garden or lawn too often.
4. CONSIDER USING MULCH
Mulching keeps soil moisture by preventing evaporation. It’s beneficial around trees and shrubs.
Mulching is an effective way to keep weed growth.
When you apply mulch around your plants’ stems, it prevents weed seeds from sprouting. It also helps retain moisture by keeping the top layer of soil cool.
There are several kinds of mulches available at nurseries and home improvement stores.
5. EFFICIENT IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
Install drip lines. It delivers water directly to the vegetation roots through emitters spaced several feet apart. Water flows slowly across the ground until it reaches its destination.
Because the water doesn’t run off immediately, it stays put long enough to penetrate deeply into the soil.
This helps prevent evaporation losses and allows plants to grow larger without competing for moisture.
6. USE FERTILIZER WISELY
Fertilizers encourage plant growth. But overuse can lead to nutrient deficiencies. For example, nitrogen-rich fertilizers cause leaves to turn yellow.
7. KEEP YOUR GARDEN WELL-MANAGED
A well-managed garden looks great but doesn’t require constant maintenance. Regular weeding helps eliminate unwanted weed growth. And regular mowing prevents tall grasses from shading smaller plants.
Front Yard Xeriscape Ideas
IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO ADD SOME XERISCAPING IDEAS TO YOUR FRONT YARD, HERE ARE SOME GREAT DESIGNS TO GET YOU STARTED:
PLANT ALONG WALKWAYS
A path lined with shade trees creates a shady spot for relaxing after a hard day’s gardening. Consider installing planters filled with colorful bulbs or flowering vines.
CREATE A GARDEN BOX.
This type of container has drainage holes at its base, so excess water drains away naturally. Garden boxes come in various sizes and shapes. If you want something more permanent, look into raised beds. Raised beds allow you to grow vegetables right above ground level.
ADD A FOUNTAIN.
Waterfalls and bubbling streams make any backyard feel magical. Fountains are easy to install and cost very little money. Just be sure to choose one that won’t spray too far when turned on.
INSTALL RAIN BARRELS.
Rainwater collected by this device goes back into the home instead of running off onto streets and lawns. To save even more water, consider adding a second barrel to collect extra rainfall.
GROW EDIBLE GARDENS.
Edible gardens include fruits, herbs, and veggies that you eat directly from the plant. These gardens are perfect for small spaces since they only take up about 1 square foot per plant.
BUILD A DRY CREEK BED.
Dry creek beds are similar to streambeds but lack flowing water. Instead, these channels hold water until it evaporates during hot summer months. When winter comes around, the medium dries out completely.
MAKE A POND.
Ponds can be made from concrete blocks, large stones, or recycled tires. You’ll have to dig them yourself unless you hire someone else to do the work. Once dug, fill the hole with gravel and then cover it with dirt.
KEEP GRASS SHORT.
Grass takes up lots of water and needs regular mowing. Shorter grass means fewer trips to the lawnmower.
Back Yard Xeriscape Ideas
Backyard xeriscaping is a great way to save money on water bills while creating a beautiful outdoor space.
THE FOLLOWING ARE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR BACKYARD XERISCAPE:
SELECT SHADE-TOLERANT PLANTS.
Most people think about growing trees in their backyards, but shrubs and small flowering perennials work just fine too.
These plants don’t have deep root systems, so they won’t compete with tree roots for nutrients. In addition, many of them provide year-round beauty.
ADD ROCK FEATURES.
Stones absorb rainfall and hold on to it longer than dirt does. The result is less runoff into storm drains and more time for the water to soak into the surrounding area.
Look for stone formations such as cobblestones, slabs, walls, steps, keeping walls, terraces, benches, fountains, and fireplaces.
ADD GRAVEL PATHS.
Gravel pathways allow water to drain away quickly after heavy rains. The path should slope slightly toward an outlet like a gutter or downspout. If there isn’t one available, install a perforated pipe at least 6 inches below grade level.
CREATE A RAIN GARDEN.
Rain gardens use porous materials to slow the flow of surface water from streets and parking lots. Plants help filter out pollutants before they reach waterways.
Perennial flowers bloom year-round and don’t need replanting every spring.
The Use of Drought Tolerant Plants Indigenous to Your Area
They usually grow in their natural habitat. A native plant is often easier to care for than a non-native plant because they are adapted to local conditions.
THEse are the BENEFITS OF PLANTING An Indigenous PLANT (native to the local ecosystem):
- Better at filtering pollutants from the air.
- They are drought tolerant and can withstand other environmental stresses.
- Provide food and shelter for wildlife.
- Helps prevent erosion on land. This happens when soil particles wash away due to heavy rains. The loss of topsoil leads to flooding along streams and rivers.
- Reduce runoff pollution caused by storm drains. Storm drain pipes carry excess water away from homes and businesses. If left untreated, polluted waters flow down nearby creeks and eventually end up in our oceans. Xeriscaping really helps with runoff.
- Improve biodiversity. In other words, more diverse ecosystems contain more significant numbers of species. Planting native vegetation increases this diversity.
- Promote healthy soils. Healthy soils support vigorous root development. Roots absorb nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from the ground. These elements then become available to plants through photosynthesis. Plants use them during cell division and reproduction.
- Can be used to stabilize slopes or hillsides. When planted together with shrubs and trees, it can form dense thickets that hold back eroding earth.
- It Has been shown to attract pollinators. Pollination occurs when insects visit flowers to collect pollen. Bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, ants, bats, birds, and even mammals depend upon flowering plants for survival.
- Make good choices for urban areas. Urban environments tend to lack green space. Many cities have strict regulations against removing existing vegetation. However, there are ways to incorporate the native plant into city parks without disturbing established communities. For example, you could plant small patches of natives around sidewalks and streets.
The Importance of Xeriscaping in Climate Change
Because Xeriscaping is the practice of designing a landscape that uses native flora instead of grass or other non-native plants.
It can help reduce water consumption by up to 90 percent, according to the Xeriscape Institute.
Native flora are also better at filtering out pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides. It’s also known as “dry landscaping” because it requires less water than traditional landscaping methods.
By saving water and adding back to the native environment, xeriscaping is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help with reversing climate change.