Thinking you want a beautiful yard and a lower water bill. Xeriscaping is the answer. It’s landscaping designed to conserve water but still create a beautiful, enjoyable surrounding for your home. Here are 5 steps to follow.
1. Plan to Save! You need to do more than just plunk down some native plants. A good xeriscape starts knowing your space. Pay attention to the natural contours of the plot and its natural drainage. Take advantage of that knowledge to plan different zones with plants that need the same amount of water. Plan your “people areas” – places to relax, places to BBQ and eat, shady places and sunny places according to your wishes. Take into consideration any existing plants you want to keep. Think high to shade your home with existing trees and shrubs or ones you will plant.
2. Improve the Soil. You want a soil that will drain and, at the same time, store water. An increased amount of organic material in your soil will help meet these two goals. You’ll also want to keep it well aerated. If you’re using succulents and cacti, keep the soil “lean”. If not, consider composting!
3. You can Go Green. It’s OK to have a turf area to enjoy – think about a soft curving edge and make sure you make it easy to mow and water. Thin strips of grass are difficult to water with a sprinkler. Plan for conserving water with the shape and drainage. Remember, to let your turf grow on the longish side – that will help conserve water.
4. Drought Resistant Plants are a Must. It’s a good time to go native. Look at the open areas around your location and see what’s growing there without the help of any additional watering. Put the plants that need the very least water in the hotter south and west areas and use the north and east cooler areas for plants that like a little more moisture. At the nursery, look for labels that say drought tolerant and take a look at the leaves. Many drought resistant plants have either thick or glossy leaves or silvery and fuzzy leaves.
5. Don’t Forget the Mulch. Choose your mulch by color and texture. You can use course bark or finer gravel. The mulch will help retain water and soil temperature. Mulch that is organic will slowly “join” the soil, enriching it, but that means you’ll have to do some top dressing. You want to keep your mulch several inches thick.
It’s fun to plan a xeriscape. Make your landscaping supply company your partner in the planning. Before you make your final plans, visit one of their sites and take a look at all your options – the different colored gravels, the make-a-statement boulders, the variety of mulches. Then, decide one the ones that will make your xeriscape amazing!