As the push for more sustainable living grows and climate change continues to dry out areas across the United States, xeriscaping continues to grow in popularity as a water-efficient landscape design. However, building your own xeriscape can be overwhelming, since it is very technical and design driven. Here, xeriscaping will be broken down into five simple steps to help you create a stunning, water wise outdoor space.
- Incorporate Drought-tolerant Plants: Plants that are native to your area and thrive with minimal water are best suited for xeriscape designs. Plants and flowers with similar water needs should be planted close together to create the most efficient irrigation layout. Some examples of drought-tolerant plants include strawflowers, succulents, and lamb’s ear.
- Integrate Efficient Irrigation: Adding water-saving irrigation systems into your xeriscape, like a drip irrigation system, will help deliver water directly to the plants roots. This will reduce water evaporation since the water is being delivered below a layer of soil and mulch. To further reduce evaporation, set your irrigation system on a timer to release water early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are at their lowest.
- Implement Hardscaping Elements: Adding in gravel paths, decorative rocks, stone walkways, and patios are all effective ways to incorporate hardscape elements into your xeriscape. Something important to make sure of is that these hardscape elements are still permeable, so that water is not prevented from soaking into the ground. The incorporation of these hardscaping elements have many environmental benefits, like reducing the need for water and the reduction of runoff. On top of that, if designed properly hardscaping enhances the visual appeal of your outdoor space.
- Improve Soil and Mulch: A thriving xeriscape is reliant on the use of well-draining soil. The best way to improve your soil is to add compost and other organic matter to ensure that your soil does not become too dry or too soggy. The addition of organic mulches is also key in helping maintain soil moisture. Examples of organic mulch include shredded tree bark, compost, wood chips, and pine needles.
- Add Rain Barrels: The addition of rain barrels in your xeriscape is a great way to make the most of natural water resources. The most effective location to install a rain barrel is right below one of your gutter systems. Then during dry periods, you can utilize the saved natural water as opposed to being fully reliant on irrigation systems or municipal water resources.