Xeriscape (zer'-i-skape) comes from the Greek word Xeros meaning dry. Xeriscape does not imply a landscape consisting only of cactus and rocks; however, a landscape of this kind can be very beautiful in the appropriate setting. Xeriscape landscape is a landscape that saves money by using water wisely, saves time in maintenance, and has the look of a traditional landscape. The following 7 steps are the ingredients for a water-wise garden.
- Planning & Design
A good design is the first step, whether you start from scratch or renovate an existing landscape.
What are your needs?
Do you entertain?
Do you want a vegetable garden?
Do you have children?
Analyze your site.
What areas receive the most sun?
What areas have shade?
Is there appropriate drainage?
- Practical Lawn Areas
Since grass or turf uses the most water and involves high maintenance in a landscape, it should only be used in areas where it provides functional uses. It should also be irrigated separately from trees, shrubs, and ground covers. Ground covers, mulches or other low-water demanding shrubs and plants often can replace turf.
- Plant Selection
There are many low-water use plants suitable for any type of landscape and most microclimates. This doesn't mean you can't have water thirsty plants in your landscape. The important thing to remember is to group plants with similar water-use needs together. Low-water use or drought-tolerant plants should be irrigated separately from plants that do not need a lot of water.
- Soil Analysis
A soil analysis will help you make the proper selection of plants. It will also indicate what amendments you may need for best absorption of water and water-holding capacity of the soil.
- Efficient Irrigation
An efficient irrigation system can save both water and money. Turf or grass is usually irrigated with pop-up or gear-driven sprays; trees, shrubs and garden flowers can be watered with drip irrigation or bubble emitters.
Mulches cover and cool the soil minimizing evaporation and reducing weed growth. Mulches are organic (i.e., bark chips, wood grindings) and inorganic (rock and gravel).
A Xeriscape landscape is easy and inexpensive to maintain. Pruning, weeding, proper fertilization, pest control, and adjustments to the irrigation system help save on water consumption. Always water your plants to their specific needs.
Call Utilities Administration at 760-839-4657 to request more information on Xeriscaping.