Natural Outdoor Living with Xeriscape Landscape Design

Xeriscaping, a form of landscape sustainability is becoming much more common throughout the nation, however, because it not only protects our limited water resources but is low maintenance and promotes natural, chemical free gardening techniques that are safe for the environment.

xeriscape landscape designXeriscaping is not zero-scaping. A xeriscape landscape design can be full of life and color, and still use 60% less water than a typical outdoor design. The key is selecting the right plants. More than half of the water used in the western portion of the United States is for lawn and garden purposes. Recent droughts and water restrictions have caused many of these landscapes to suffer, creating a greater interest in this environmentally friendly alternative.

The Principles of Xeriscape Design

Xeriscape gardening is based on a combination of seven widely accepted gardening principles that work together to produce a flourishing landscape design that requires little irrigation and very little care.

1. Planning and design: Every good landscape design requires careful planning with consideration to the natural terrain and characteristics of the space. Planning a xeriscape demands even more attention to detail, especially in regards to drainage, irrigation, and placement of various features.

xeriscape landscape design

2. Select the right plants: A xeriscape landscape design can include a variety of different flowers, trees, and shrubs. Drought tolerant plants naturally suited for your particular climate are the best choices, especially those that retain water. Group plants according to their water needs and use trees to block sun and wind, reducing evaporation.

3. Evaluate the soil: Your soil should drain well without completely drying out. A consistently moist, balanced soil is best. Instead of fertilizers or chemical gardening materials, a natural compost can add extra nutrients to the earth. You can also improve the soil with a natural soil enhancer containing micro nutrients.

4. Minimize turf: Grass lawns require a great deal of water as well as a large amount of maintenance. Incorporate native ground covers, paved terraces, or beds of drought tolerant wildflowers rather than expansive turf. Select grasses that require the least amount of water for small lawns in your landscape.

xeriscape landscape design

5. Consider irrigation: Install an irrigation system that makes the most of the natural rainfall, like a drip system.

6. Use mulch: Organic mulch, like pine needles or wood chips, should be spread throughout planting areas to help retain moisture near the roots of flowers and trees. Keep the mulch several inches thick over all soil, remembering to reapply periodically.

7. Properly maintain your xeriscape: Applying the above principles will result in a landscape design that requires very little maintenance. Keep lawns trimmed to a healthy height and eliminate weeds within flower beds and mulch.

It is easy to have a beautiful yard that increases the value of your home and at the same time protects our earth’s delicate resources.

A selection of native plants that are drought tolerant and a simple, but effective irrigation and drainage design, can create an outdoor haven for relaxation that requires very little maintenance.

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