Water Wise Landscape
Xeriscaping – or drought-tolerant landscaping - is a notion that is gaining in popularity, particularly with California’s recent scarcity of water. While using limited irrigation, xeriscaping does not mean limiting your garden to cacti, succulents, and rocks. With proper design, you can have a beautiful, lush yard that is easy to care for and uses less water than traditional landscape.
Whether you decide to plant your xeriscape yourself our hire a professional, the steps are basically the same.
- First, you’ll need to plan ahead and develop a design that accommodates your lifestyle and your site. Thinking about how you use the space and sun/shade exposure are important considerations. Look through magazines and websites to find plants and ideas that appeal to you.
- Minimalize thirsty traditional lawns. Xeriscape doesn’t necessarily mean no lawn; but you might consider having smaller lawn or use drought tolerant grasses – which have the added benefit of requiring less attention and water than traditional turf grasses.
- Select appropriate plants: Visit your local garden center for plants that are well suited to your environment. When planning your plant placement, group plants with similar needs. This will enable you to set up an efficient irrigation system.
- Improve soil: Check with your local agricultural cooperative extension office to help you determine what – if any – soil amendments would be beneficial. Doing this before planting will help assure that you will have healthy, happy plants later.
- Use mulch: You’d be surprised at how much a thick layer of organic mulch will do to help your landscape. It looks good, reduces weeds, and adds color and texture to your garden.
- Irrigate efficiently: Your local hardware store is a great place to shop for irrigation supplies. Clocks, timers, and rain shut-off sensors are valuable tools in managing an efficient irrigation system. You’ll want to establish irrigation zones depending on each plant group’s requirements.
- Maintain landscape: As with a more traditional landscape design, a certain amount of maintenance is in order. You’ll want to monitor watering, as well as weed and fertilize.
Whether you create your own garden or hire a professional for all or part of the job (check out our vendor site for a recommended landscaper), you’ll find you can have beautiful, easy to maintain, water-efficient landscaping. If you are a Bay Area resident, you might want to check out Bay Natives Nursery, an interesting source for unusual, drought tolerant native plants.
To get your creative juices flowing, be sure to take a look at our landscape ideas page for what can be done with pavers, gravel, succulents, and other water-wise plants.