The Benefits of Xeriscaping The Benefits of Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is not a new concept. In drought-stricken portions of the country, such as the Southwest, it is used extensively to landscape in areas where grass has a hard time growing.
What is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping is defined as a method to conserve water through the use of creative landscaping. In North America, well over 50% of water used is for watering lawns and maintaining landscaping. With water becoming a precious commodity in the US, xeriscaping become a viable alternative. This article discusses the principles of xeriscaping.
Six Advantages of Xeriscaping
-Xeriscaping saves water. One focus of xeriscaping is the use of drought resistant plants.
-It requires less maintenance. Outside of a little weeding and pruning, xeriscaping needs minimal effort. Simple irrigation systems can provide the necessary water for xeriscaping.
-No fertilization or pesticides are needed. Utilize plants native to your area to eliminate the need for chemical supplements.
-Xeriscaping improves property value. The cost of the process is outweighed by the increase in property value.
-It is pollution free. The use of fossil fuels to power lawn mowers is eliminated.
-It provides wildlife habitat. Using native plants in xeriscaping provides cover for local wildlife.
Xeriscaping as a Design Project
Xeriscaping is a thoughtful process. There is really nothing hard about it. There are 7 things to consider when putting together a xeriscape project:
1. Planning and design process.
Remember that the basis of xeriscaping is water conservation. A landscaper proficient in the value of xeriscaping always looks for ways to conserve water. The design of the xeriscape should take into consideration orientation of the plot in relation to features such as trees, fences, and common walk ways and structures. Be cognizant of areas of shade and sun. Note the contours and draining properties of the site. If areas are to be left for turf, insure they are easily accessible. Consider trees and shrubs that will provide shade for buildings. Visit the local nursery to determine what drought resistant plants are available in your locale.
2. Soil considerations.
The ideal situation is a landscape that not only drains quickly, but stores water, too. Increase the amount of organic soil in your project site, insuring that it is well aerated. Test the soil to determine the PH balance and add compost accordingly. Some species of cacti and succulents prefer a lean soil, while other plants might have different needs.
3. Limit the areas of turf.
Keep turf areas at a minimum, but keep in mind that visual appeal and egress are important. If planting new turf, try to find a drought resistant seed adaptable to your area.
4. Use Appropriate Plants
Always try to use plants that are native to your region. Drought resistant plants have small leaves, and are both quite thick and glossy, silver grey or fuzzy in appearance. Be mindful of ultimate size. The most important thing is to not mix plants that have low watering needs with those having high needs.
5. Always mulch.
Mulch helps retain moisture, keeps weeds down, and regulates temperature. Good mulches may include leaves, pine needles, wood chips, or bark. The mulch needs to be organic so that it can be incorporated back into the soil upon depletion. Mulch should be several inches thick, with no bare areas.
Remember that xeriscaping is a method to conserve water. Never over-irrigate. Some of the best systems are either soaker hoses or drip irrigation. These systems deliver water at a slow rate, which encourages root health and eliminates pooling. It is always best to water deeply and less frequently.
7. Xeriscape maintenance.
One of the biggest benefits of xeriscaping is its low maintenance. Mulch prevents weeds from growing and helps retain moisture. In turf areas, allow the grass to grow longer than normal--it shades the roots and also helps to maintain moisture.
A Few Tips
* Always check local ordinances and codes. Some communities are very particular about lawns and landscaping.
* Always consider drought resistant plants first. The idea is to conserve water.
* Never water during the heat of the day. Early morning is best.
* Water until you begin to see runoff, and then allow the turf areas to absorb the water. Continue as needed.
* Keep the number of young plants at a minimum. They require more water and pruning.
* "Deadhead" mature flowering plants to ensure prolonged blooming.
Xeriscaping is not only functional, but adds color and variety to your landscape. Follow these simple guidelines, and give xeriscaping a try. Conserve water now so we don't run out later.