Conserving Water Through Xeriscaping

Conserving Water Through Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping refers to a particular design in landscaping that conserves an immense amount of water. This type of landscape design diminishes or completely removes the need for additional irrigation.

By implementing xeriscaping into your landscape or garden, you will reduce the need for expensive and elaborate irrigation systems, save immense amounts of money in set-up and maintenance, and conserve a great deal of our most precious natural resource—water.

Xeriscaping follows seven principles, that when joined together to make a comprehensive unit can reduce the amount of expended water by 75 percent. The seven principles are as follows: garden planning and design, soil analysis and preparation, practical turf areas, the appropriate selection of plants, irrigating efficiently, using mulches, and proper maintenance.

Planning and Design

The most typical water-wasting problem is run-off. This problem most often occurs when watering too much and too often. Soil does not have time to absorb excess amounts of water, so valuable money is wasted when precious water runs off from your plants, taking valuable fertilizer and nutrients with it. When combined with watering more efficiently, your properly designed landscape should reduce run-off. High beds should also be avoided in xeriscaping, as lower beds allow the soil more time to absorb the water and distribute it to the plants. Plants in your landscape should also be grouped according to their water needs. Placing plants with similar watering requirements near each other will greatly reduce the amount of wasted water. All of these things must be taken into account when planning and designing your landscape.

Soil Analysis and Preparation

Having your soil analyzed will tell you what kind of plants will flourish in your soil, and it will give you specifics on what kind of fertilizer to use and how much you should be applying to your landscape.

Practical Turf Areas

Turf grasses generally need more water than shrubs, bushes, and other plants. Therefore, minimizing turf areas will contribute to your water savings. Regardless of how much turf grass you choose to include in your xeriscape layout, you should try to keep the shapes of the turf grass geometric, linear, and simple. This will help with installing and efficiency of irrigation systems and will reduce water waste.

Appropriate Plant Selection

Many people assume that a landscape designed for water conservation will result in several cactuses and rocks. You don’t need to sacrifice aesthetic appeal to conserve water. The best way to conserve water and still have the luscious, green landscape that you desire is to select plants that are native to your area. You can also include exotic plants and turf grasses that have been adapted to your environment. Remember that grouping plants according to their water requirements will help conserve the most amount of water as possible.

Efficient Irrigation

Xeriscaping will sometimes eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation altogether. However, if you need some type of irrigation, drip systems are generally more economical and effective than sprinkler systems. They can reduce water use as much as 60 percent. Drip systems direct the water to the precise spot for the most efficient absorption. They will also reduce over watering and lessen run-off.

Use of Mulches

Mulch plays a vital role when it comes to conserving water in your landscape. Mulch can reduce water use by up to 40 percent by keeping the soil cool and damp and by reducing evaporation from the soil.

Appropriate Maintenance

Xeriscaping will reduce the maintenance of your landscape by about 50 percent. You will continue to conserve a great deal of water by keeping up with proper maintenance. This includes checking on your irrigation system’s efficiency, mowing your grass, fertilizing at the proper time and with the proper amount, and by correctly timing insect and disease control measures.

The individual tenets behind xeriscaping have been carried out in the landscape industry for years, but when combined into one all-inclusive concept, these seven principles result in an innovative and successful approach to water conservation.

Zane Schwarzlose is a writer at The Grass Outlet, a Texas sod seller. Zane xeriscaped his parents’ house once.

You can leave comments by clicking here, leave a trackback at or subscribe to the RSS Comments Feed for this post.