Ever heard of xeriscaping? If you are into both gardening and green living, you may need a proper introduction to the technique. Xeriscaping is traditional landscaping, but it’s practiced in a way that cuts out the need for irrigation to provide extra water for plant life in drier areas.
Landscapers practice xeriscaping in climates that lack sufficient access to a steady supply of fresh water. Historically, gardeners used the method primarily when working with Kentucky bluegrass. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in climate patterns. Local officials frequently mandate water conservation in many regions, so xeriscaping has increased in popularity as a way to nurture healthy lawns while keeping water use to a minimum.
Advantages of Xeriscaping
The primary advantage of xeriscaping, of course, is that it conserves water. However, it’s not only good for the water supply; the practice has plenty of other advantages tied to it as well.
There are quite a few attractive options for low-water plants, and a big plus is that many of the species carry minimal disease and pest issues. Fertilizers and pesticides can hurt organisms that may provide benefits to your plants, and the chemicals they contain can negatively influence the water and air quality of your home. That’s why plants used in xeriscapes are so great – many don’t require pesticides to thrive.
Another huge bonus for these kinds of plants is that most thrive with very little high-nutrient fertilization. You will also reduce the need to continually prune and maintain your plants and hedges when xeriscaping. This is a very green advantage – think of all the landfill space you’ll preserve over time!
All of these advantages will of course save you loads of time and help the environment in the process. However, the biggest benefit for xeriscaping is the money factor. You will save untold amounts over the years by implementing this technique for your own yard. You can stop buying fertilizer, using hedge clippers, or needing expensive irrigation systems. The biggest savings, however, will show up on your monthly water bill.
Xeriscaping: Best Practices
If you want to try xeriscaping, simply follow a few “best practices” to fashion a drought-tolerant landscape for your own backyard.
Begin by carefully researching and choosing the right water-conserving design for your region. Group plants with comparable moisture requirements so you can use the lowest amount of water possible to sustain them.
For your lawn, determine which variety of grass works the best in your climate with the least amount of water possible. Then, completely replace your existing grass with the new strain. Consider replacing portions of your lawn with a biodegradable ground covering that requires little maintenance as well.
Finally, choose plants that need very little water to sustain life. Use a watering system that conserves as it waters, and apply mulch to ward off erosion and protect against water evaporation.
It may take a bit of work to get your xeriscaping efforts off the ground. But, once your new landscaping is in place and you are reaping the rewards, you will feel good about making the switch – and so will your pocketbook.