Xeriscaping refers to a landscape that uses minimal supplemental water. Xeriscape techniques include a proper combination of design, native plant selection, efficient irrigation, appropriate ground cover, and proper maintenance.
A proper design is essential in any xeriscape. A good xeriscape design should take into consideration factors, such as sun exposure, site grade/slope, and soil type. Xeriscapes are typically divided into zones with different watering needs. A moderate use zone is usually limited to high use, highly visible areas such as patios and entrances. A low use zone consists of lower water use and lower maintenance plantings. The furthest away zone is a very low use zone which requires little, if any supplemental water. Appropriate plants and locations are chosen based on the previous assessments.
Carefully select plants to be compatible with soil, sun exposure, and water needs. Choosing native plants is best practice, as they are drought tolerant, hardy, less vulnerable to disease and pests, and are already adapted to native soils.
Irrigation systems should be designed to fit the water needs of the plants installed in each particular zone. A drip system should be considered, as they deliver water directly to the plant with little run-off or evaporation. In coordination with the drip system, water run-off from roofs, hardscapes, and slopes can be channeled through swales and delivered to specific planting areas. Additionally, this water can be captured and incorporated into extensive rainwater systems.
A proper ground cover over the soil reduces evaporation, soil temperature, and erosion. Additionally, weed growth is reduced along with competition for water and nutrients. Organic materials such as wood chips or bark can be used. A more finished look can be created by using a combination of weed fabric and crushed rock.
Xeriscape landscapes still require some maintenance. Some people find gardening very relaxing, while people with less time may prefer a landscape that requires minimal maintenance. The design will determine the maintenance required. Any garden will require some upkeep such as pruning, trash removal, weeding and pest management, irrigation monitoring, and seasonal irrigation adjustment.
Many additional factors can be considered when planning your xeriscape. For further information, please click the link below: