August 2013 Blog

XERO-SCAPE (xeriscaping)

XERO-SCAPE   (xeriscaping)

   When people hear the words

"desert landscaping" they immediately imagine cacti, driftwood, tumbleweeds,

and a bunch of concrete.This is called xeriscaping (zero-scape), and though it is certainly an option

that requires no maintenance,it is also a bit of a downer because there's no personality

to it. Just because you live in a dry climate

and want to conserve water doesn't mean your yard can't be full of life.

You want to embrace yournatural setting while still retaining some color and foliage

along the way. Therefore, xeriscaping has become a very popular choice among

homeowners. It literally translates from Greek as "dry scene" (xero-scape), and it

helps to conserve water and energy by allowing a yard to match its natural landscape

and climate. Why live in the desert and try to make your lawn

look like a forest? Instead, embrace and showcase the setting.

Less Maintenance, More Savings
Though water conservation is one of the main benefits of xeriscaping, a lot of financial

advantages can be reaped from this landscape as well. One of the biggest reasons

to invest in "dry design" is not only because it is environmentally sound and aesthetically

pleasing, but it also brings you big savings. You no longer have to fight the climate

and force your lawn to act unnaturally. By giving into the landscape itself,

you're on the winning side of a losing battle. Preserving water isn't just a smart thing to do;

it saves you money on bills. You also don't have to fertilize as much.

There is less of a need for pest control and expensive chemicals. There will be less

maintenance, less pruning, and no more wasteful trimmings.

All of this will help save the environment while saving you time, effort, and money.

But, in order for it to be successful, there are certain preparations that need to

be made. You'll probably need to work with a professional landscape designer to

get it done right the first time, but here are some things to always keep in mind.

Appropriate Planting
First, any quality xeriscaping will need the right kinds of plants. Typically, these

are native species that require less water and can withstand the heat. Although you

want drought-tolerant plants, it doesn't mean they all have to be cactus and yucca.

In fact, there are many types of tough desert lawns, turfs, and flowers that grow

bright and colorful. Buy plants that can be deeply rooted and are bred to endure

harsh climates. Also, as you install your vegetation, make sure that you plant in

groupings for better water efficiency.

Water Conservation
Conserving water is important, whether it's your choice or the government's.

Buying plants that require less moisture will help, but there are other ways to

preserve as well. First, try to invest in a drip-irrigation system. This sprinkler system

runs along pipes throughout your lawn and slowly drips water directly onto the vegetation.

It acts as a gentle rainfall or a dewy morning.

This not only cuts down on wasteful inaccuracy

(no need to water your home's siding and driveway)

and over-watering, it also prevents immediate evaporation into the air by high winds.

But if you do use traditional sprinklers, make sure to water in the mornings or

evenings when the soil is more primed to soak up moisture.

Soil Conservation
Desert soil is naturally impervious to water conservation. It quickly soaks it up,

dries it out, and lifts if back into the atmosphere. An easy solution is mulching as

much as possible. It cools off the ground, holds water, and cuts down on energy bills

and maintenance costs.

But you can also plan bigger projects, such as re-structuring your soil so that plants can retain

any moisture for a longer period of time. It's not easy, nor cheap, but once you've put time and

energy into the initial investment, you'll get a return on your money in no time.

One Last Tip
Though xeriscaping is a very popular trend in dry climates (such as the West and Southwest)

it may not be as common or successful in other areas of the country.

Therefore, check with your neighbors and homeowner's association to see if this re-design

is allowed. But even if desert landscaping itself isn't permitted, the philosophy behind the design

is still applicable. If you live in the Midwest or Northeast,

match your yard to fit your region's natural landscape and climate. Succumbing to the

natural world,no matter where you live, will lead to less work and bigger savings.