What is Xeriscaping Anyway?

A new buzz word in the green movement, XERISCAPING may be a mouthful but is easier to do than you think.
Xeriscaping is all about water conservation, which was one of the top 10 green building trends of 2010. Since water is such a precious resource for life, we need to work at managing it well in our homes. And you have to admit that a lot of water is used in traditional landscaping and gardens across the continent.
So how does it work? Do you need to rip up your lawn and spread pea gravel or plant cacti instead of roses? Xeriscaping is more of a management strategy for your yard and includes everything from the plantings to the lawn and soil.
In basic terms, xeriscaping is a method of creative and intentional landscaping aiming for water conservation in your yard.
It starts with the soil. Make sure your soil contains plenty of organics and is aerated properly on a regular basis. This helps maintain good drainage and still allows the lawn and garden to absorb a healthy amount of water. Adding compost and other organics is beneficial in so many ways, including in a xeriscape design.

When designing your landscape, it’s important to pay attention to the natural conditions, including drainage and light exposure. Plant things to take advantage of drainage and always choose plants that are suitable for the light – part sun or shade loving flowers will need way more water to thrive in full sun than in their preferred spots.
Pick drought resistant plants whenever possible. This doesn’t always mean cactus (although there’s something incredibly beautiful and exotic about succulents in the garden). Look for native plants. They will be naturally drought, pest and disease resistant and generally need less maintenance.
If you want to keep the grass, limit it where possible and plant water-saving species. Ask about ones that are best suited to the precipitation levels in your area. Also remember to keep your grass a tad long. Mowing it too short will allow the sun to dry out the soil faster.
Always mulch your gardens. This isn’t just for water conservation, but to cut down on the weeds and the work for you. Trust me – you won’t regret the minimal cost. It’ll keep your gardens looking their best all season long.
Xeriscaping is a growing trend and even small xeriscape design steps will help. Work at reducing your water usage in the yard to have a greener, more eco friendly home.
photo courtesy of Chris Ayers – sxc/cayers7000

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