Basics of Xeriscaping: How to Plant a Low Water Garden

Creating a beautiful landscape out of the space in your backyard is one of the biggest joys of being a homeowner. Greener spaces make us happier and having a nice outdoor space gets us outside more often and encourages us to invite friends over for social gatherings. Maintaining your lawn and garden can be a fun hobby, but it also happens to be a huge waste of water.

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As population increases, the need for more water also grows. Now is more important than ever to reduce and conserve water in order to meet future demands. Many climates experience drought and water shortages meaning that having a sprawling lawn doesn’t make economic or environmental sense. In fact, the EPA reports that up to 50% of outdoor water is wasted due to wind, evaporation, and runoff. This water waste costs precious resources and a lot of money.

If you’re still craving a luxurious yard but don’t want to waste a ton of water, xeriscaping may be a great option for you. Xeriscaping is a type of landscape design that incorporates native species, grass alternatives, and low-water plants to reduce the need for supplemental water. The word itself derives from the Greek word for “Dry.” When you think about desert climates and landscapes, you may imagine nothing but gravel and cacti. However, because xeriscaping uses native species, it varies wildly from location to location. There are a ton of drought-tolerant trees, flowers, and shrubs that can still help you achieve your dream garden or yard.

Before jumping right into planning a xeriscape yard, you’ll want to do your research on the steps involved. Luckily, you can learn all about xeriscape-friendly plants and design tips to help get you started on your home makeover using this guide from The Zebra.

Xeriscaping 101

Xeriscaping was first created in Colorado in an effort to reduce water use. However, when it became popular, principles were defined so that the landscape trend could be replicated in locations and climates all over the world.

As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to live in a drought-prone area to utilize xeriscaping techniques. Actually, the most important foundation for xeriscape yards actually begins with careful planning and preparing your soil.

  1. Proper Planning: You can use a landscaping expert or do it yourself, but do a walk around your property and identify areas that receive the most sunlight, the least amount and any areas that are prone to rain collection. This will allow you to plan out which plants will go where.
  2. Soil Preparation: Xeriscape-friendly plants most commonly do best in well-draining soil. You’ll want to add organic matter a few inches deep to make sure it isn’t holding in too much moisture.
  3. Minimize Grass: Obviously, grass requires a lot of water so you’ll either want to confine it to a small area or look to grass alternatives for ground cover.
  4. Incorporate Native Species: Do research on native plants that are already adapted to your climate. These shrubs and flowers should flourish in your garden with little water.
  5. Water Efficiently: Sprinklers are not an efficient watering system. Look into installing a drip-irrigation system so that you limit water waste.
  6. Mulch: It sounds simple, but this is an important step. Mulch helps reduce erosion and hold in moisture, maximizing the water your plants receive.
  7. Maintain: The initial set up may be high but afterwards, you’ll enjoy a low maintenance and beautiful yard that is good for the environment.

 

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