, a word coined by combining xeros
(Greek for "dry") with landscaping
, is a water-conservative approach to landscaping. Plants whose cultural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid wasting water
to evaporation and run-off. Xeriscape is a trademark created by the Denver Water Board
Xeriscaping is not the same as hardscaping (in which the landscape consists mostly of concrete, stones or gravel, with perhaps a cactus or two thrown in), but can look quite lush and colorful.
Implementation of xeriscaping includes:
- appropriate choice and arrangement of plants - Where possible, use plants that are native to your area or to similar climates, as well as other plants that tolerate or avoid water stress (xerophytes, halophytes, spring-flowering bulbs, very deeply rooted plants) as ornamentals. Group plants that require more water (for example, vegetables, fruits, flowers you just can't live without) so that only limited portions of the landscape need extra water. These less water-efficient plants may also be sheltered from the wind and/or sun to decrease the amount of water they need.
- minimize turf areas - Use drought-tolerant turf grass species where turf is needed at all (children's play areas), and keep the size of the turf area as small as possible. Fill in the landscape with borders and islands of more water-efficient ornamental plants.
- efficient application of water - Use drip irrigation where possible; where overhead irrigation is needed, apply water in the morning or evening, when it is less likely to be blown away by wind or lost by evaporation. Do not give drought-tolerant plants more water than they need to look good, and of course do not allow water to splash onto concrete walkways or other areas where it isn't needed.
- conservation of water in the soil - Improve the soil structure so that it retains water better and apply mulch to cool the soil surface and hinder evaporation.
- lower water bills
- more water available for other uses and other people
- less time and work needed for maintenance
- can be lazy during the hot dry months
- little or no lawn mowing!
- requires planning
- may require more start-up work
- some homeowners' associations may not appreciate interesting, creative landscaping
- requires that people moving from water-rich to water-poor areas change their mindset - Not everyone can have an English cottage garden, but everyone can have landscaping that is just as lush and beautiful, but in a different way! You can easily have a Japanese garden in Japan, but in southern California you may need to use different plants if you want to have a garden that looks Japanese without exorbitant water bills.