Xeriscape or xeriscaping refers to gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the needs for water use. A xeriscape garden is a perfect choice for areas that do not have supplies of water. It incorporates good planning, use of well-adapted plants, efficient irrigation and water saving methods.
Reasons to Xeriscape
In addition to water, a xeriscape garden requires less weeding, fertilizing, pruning, mowing, aerating and pesticides. A xeriscape garden not only save money, water and time, but also raise the value of your home, as a beautiful-looking yard can inspire your neighbors. Choose xeriscaping if you want to make your home more beautiful and reduce the amount of time you spend working on it rather than enjoying it.
How to Create a Xeriscape Garden
A good landscape and garden begins with a good design. Planning is the first and most important step, as a good plan will save you time and money. You can start a good plan by creating a diagram, drawn to scale, that shows the major elements of your landscape including: house, sidewalk, deck, driveway, existing trees and other elements that must remain. Consider the location of immovable objects, existing vegetation, and local regulations. It is also a good idea to draw an arrow pointing North, because sun exposure is important to your xeriscape.
Design your Xeriscape
By this stage, you can take a walk along your property and observe areas that are difficult to water. You should develop a planting plan, indicating where your plants should go in your space.
A composted material contains and abundance of organic matter and will add nutrients, improving the soil texture. Checking the soil can give you a good idea of which plants are best adapted to the site and it is easier to grow something that is appropriate to your soil type, than it is to significantly change it. Plants should either fit the soil or the soil should be amended to fit the plants.
There are many varieties of colorful, fragrant, and beautiful plants that you can choose from that have low water need that you can select for your xeriscape and you should always group them together according to their water needs so that irrigation can be done more efficiently.
When newly planted, all plants will need to be watered until they become established. When installing irrigation system, consider an automatic sprinkler system, as it will provide water more efficiently. However, the objective is to ensure water conservation, so any spillover to the concrete pathways or unused area must be avoided.
Adding mulch can help keep plant roots cool, prevents soil from crusting, reduce evaporation, minimized weed growth and creates a finished look to the garden. It is also important to select organic mulch that is composed of wood chips because they can allow the soil to breathe. The mulch should be approximately 10 cm deep to be an effective weed suppressant.
Note: Do not place any weed barrier under the mulch. Weed barrier or plastic can kill useful organisms that give nutrients to your plants.
After everything is planned, prepared and planted, the final step is to maintain your xeriscape garden regularly. However, the amount of maintenance required in a xeriscape garden is related to the amount of water applied. You still need to water and prune your plants and trees when needed. Proper maintenance will protect and maintain the beauty of the garden, enhancing the water savings.