Our Complete Guide to Xeriscaping for a Water-wise Landscape in Colorado Springs
We’re diving into the wonderful world of xeriscaping, a sustainable landscaping approach that reduces the need for irrigation. Colorado’s arid climate and water challenges make xeriscaping a great choice for homeowners looking to maintain a beautiful, low-maintenance yard.
What is a Xeriscape?
“Xeriscaping is a diverse combination of low-water plants and materials that create a beautiful and water-wise landscape” design. This type of landscape comes with many benefits for the environment and can be a great way to incorporate native plants into your outdoor space. Over the years, drought-tolerant landscapes have become popular in areas with dry climates throughout the rocky mountain region.
Benefits of a Drought-Tolerant Landscape
Obviously, the biggest plus side to a Xeriscape is water conservation! With the use of low-maintenance and drought-tolerant native and non-native plants, there is a lower amount of water use. With less water comes water savings and lower bills, which is a win for any homeowner. Additionally, fewer areas of turfgrass means mowing can be less of a chore.
The 7 Principles of Xeriscaping in Colorado
Originally outlined by Denver Water, these xeriscape principles can be used as a guide to creating your water-wise outdoor space. We’ve outlined the cliff notes below. Feel free to check out their helpful tools and resources for more information!
Planning and Design
To ensure a successful xeriscape, you need a plan. Drawing a detailed diagram of your property will help get an idea of your landscape design. It’s recommended that your plan is drawn to scale and will help you select plants for different exposures. The plan should include everything from the front yard, slopes, and existing trees, to driveways, downspouts, and fences. When finished, you can decide where each plant will go.
When choosing your plants, it’s important to know what kind of soil they need and if soil improvements are needed. Sandy soil doesn’t hold much water unless irrigated frequently. You can amend your soil with organic matter like compost to help retain water. Planting with native plants normally doesn’t require soil amendments.
Different plants have different watering needs and that should be taken into account in your planning step. Mapping out your irrigation system is crucial. Turf areas should be zoned separately from groundcovers and other plantings as they have different watering needs. Always adjust your sprinkler system’s schedule to align with the weather and supplemental watering.
Group plants with similar needs together for the most water-efficient plan. Take into account the different environmental factors around your property, like light/shade, wind, and drainage. Plant in areas that fit the needs of each group.
In hot, arid climates like Colorado, mulch can help plants stay cool, retain water, and minimize evaporation and weed breakthrough. Organic mulch should be applied about 4 inches deep in the soil and is the best choice for new plant beds. Inorganic mulch (like rocks and gravel) should be applied at least 2 inches deep and work well in windy areas of the lawn.
While Kentucky bluegrass is known for its hardiness, it can require a great amount of water. To limit water use in your landscape, try using native plants, patios, pavers, mulches, or tall fescue grass.
When getting started, it will take time to achieve a low-maintenance landscape. New planting beds in your xeriscape will need adequate watering, weed control, and cutting back native grasses or perennials as they become present.
Low-Maintenance Doesn’t Mean “No Weeds”
Colorado xeriscapes and rock beds can still be prone to weeds. They require special attention the same way any turfgrass lawn would. Difficult-to-control perennial weeds can’t be prevented with pre-emergent weed control and can establish deep roots.
Water-Wise, Native Plants for a Colorado Xeriscape
When planning what drought-resistant plants to add to your new outdoor space, it’s important to do some research. You can check the USDA Plant Hardiness map to figure out what plants will thrive in your area’s climate. The local Extension Office can also be a great resource for homeowners looking for native plant options in Colorado.
Professional Rock Bed Weed Control in Colorado Springs
Since 2001, Integrated Lawn Care has been a trusted lawn care provider in Colorado Springs. With our lawn care services, tree and shrub care, and rock bed weed control, we are equipped to care for any of your outdoor spaces. If you’re looking to skip the DIY approach, our team is here to help limit weeds in your Xeriscape. Our prices are based on the square footage of your property. Contact us today to get a quote.