Quantcast

Xeriscape Your Yard

If you live in a high precipitation area, perhaps you’ve installed a lovely rain garden. But what’s a good landscaping choice for no rain at all?

Several regions of the U.S. are experiencing record droughts, from the shrinking Colorado River basin to megadroughts in California

While we have no choice but to wait for rainfall whenever it comes, how we respond to this crisis is up to us—for example, investments in water efficiency. What is a sound option for our lawns and yards?

A lush garden that conserves water? Photo credit: Planet Natural

Enter xeriscaping.

Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that conserves water. The word is a combination of xeros, the Greek word for dry, and scape, meaning scene. While dry landscaping may sound unappealing to some, xeriscapes are not just dusty rocks and thorny cacti, but a combination of elements in a landscape that are locally appropriate and water conserving. Watch this video from GreenCO to see why it’s not a garden but a system—and one that can be colorful and lush.

Xeriscapes exist in nearly all states and can reduce water used for landscaping by 60 percent.

To visualize how much water can be saved, check out this graphic presented by the city of Albuquerue, NM.

 The landscaping system is based on the following 7 principles:

  • Planning and design

  • Soil improvements

  • Efficient irrigation

  • Plant zones

  • Mulches

  • Turf alternatives

  • Landscape maintenance

When designing your landscape for water-efficiency, be sure to choose plants that are defined as low water use or drought tolerant for your area. To search for native plants for your xeriscaping needs, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense database, searchable by state, to find lists for your area.

Once you have selected your natives, follow these 10 steps for a healthy xeric plant:

  •  Select the right plant for the right spot

  • Dig the right size hole

  • Amend the soil

  • Carefully remove plant from container

  • Separate matted roots

  • Place plant and backfill the hole

  • Give the plant a good soaking

  • Mulch it

  • Use efficient irrigation

  • Maintain your xeriscape

 Have you tried xeriscaping in your yard?

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed new restrictions on oil exploration in his state yesterday by putting a moratorium on hundreds hydraulic fracturing permits until the projects are reviewed by independent scientists, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
The endangered Houston toad. Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

While the planet continues to heat up, almost every single one of the 459 species listed as endangered in the U.S. will struggle as the climate crisis intensifies, according to new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
"This singular scientific achievement was accomplished at Heliogen's commercial facility in Lancaster, California." Heliogen

A startup backed by Bill Gates unveiled a breakthrough solar technology Tuesday that could free heavy industry from fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that can help with chronic fatigue and stress-related burnout. Tero Laakso / Flickr

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

While everyone has specific life stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tend to be the most common.

Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.

Read More Show Less
A video shows a woman rescuing a koala from Australia's wildfires. VOA News / YouTube screenshot

More than 350 koalas may have died in the wildfires raging near the Australian town of Port Macquarie in New South Wales, but one got a chance at survival after a woman risked her life to carry him to safety.

Read More Show Less