Xeriscaping Principles & Best Practices
- September 29, 2017
As water availability lessens and the cost of water increases in many western states, more and more homeowners are choosing to install xeriscaping – landscaping that utilizes less water by using plants that are highly drought resistant, laid out in a strategic way that maximizes moisture conservation and available water use.
If you are one of those homeowners who is considering xeriscaping, here are some things to consider when planning your project:
Some soil lends itself to xeriscaping better than other soil, for example, very loose, sandy soil will not retain water or nutrients well, as water is leached below the root zone. Heavy clay soils will also lose water, due to runoff. Though almost any soil type can be used in a xeriscape plan, the ideal soil will be a good balance between sand, silt, and clay – soil that has as much as 50% by volume pore space.
These types of soil will provide adequate nutrients to your xeriscape plants – who may need little water but still need to receive some nutrients from the soil.
Even if your xeriscape soil isn’t ideal, you can build a great soil foundation by adding organic matter annually to your landscape area. Adding organic amendments to your xeriscape can mean the difference between plants that struggle and those that thrive.
Just as with soil type, almost any type of slope can be used in xeriscaping. Steeper slopes are more challenging, as these tend to waste water through rapid runoff. Even less steep slopes can be tempered through the use of a drought-resistant ground cover that slows water loss. Terracing steeper slopes is also helpful.
There are numerous plants that can be effectively utilized in a xeriscape. They include Yarrow, Apache Plume, Mohave Sage, Prairie Winecups, and Coral Bells. These plants are chosen for their heartiness, their year-round beauty, and their ability to fit in well with most home xeriscapes. The right plant for you is a blend of your own personal preferences combined with the ability to use it in your area and in your xeriscape plan. Check out our blog post about plants commonly used in Colorado xeriscaping for more information.
Though most xeriscapes require very little water, you should be prepared to irrigate if necessary. Irrigation of xeriscapes is often called xerigation. Xerigation involves having proper ground cover under plants, proper sloping to encourage retention of water, properly calibrated irrigation heads, and strategic water dispersion to maximize water placement.
Integrated Lawn & Tree Care can provide additional recommendations and on-site guidance to plan your xeriscape project, including tips on how to proactively care for your xeriscape landscaping. We provide weed control services in xeriscapes, help with watering, and other xeriscape maintenance services for your unique landscaping.
We’d love to talk to you more about your xeriscape landscaping – and how we can help you make it even better.