Xeriscaping as an alternative to grass lawnsLush green lawn is the quintessential feature of any landscape design. However, during the growing seasons, a lawn can use as much as 1-2 inches of water per week. This creates problems for water conservation in areas that receive limited water supply or are drought-prone. Xeriscaping is an alternative approach to traditional landscaping. It is the process of creating a landscape that uses little to no water, and it is achieved by replacing traditional lawns with a variety of drought-resistant plants, mulch, and rocks.
Benefits of xeriscaping for sustainable landscapingXeriscaping offers numerous benefits beyond water conservation. A few of the benefits include.
- Reduced Maintenance: Xeriscaping requires minimal maintenance compared to traditional grass landscapes. It can save time, money, and effort.
- Less water usage: Xeriscaping reduces the overall water usage of the landscape, lowering the water bills.
- Improved soil health: Mulch and rocks used in xeriscaping help to stabilize soil moisture and protect root systems of the plants.
- Reduced waste: Lawns generate yard waste, such as clippings, that have to be disposed of. Xeriscaping generates less waste while retaining the natural look of plants.
Drought-tolerant plants for xeriscapingXeriscaping utilizes plants that require less water and are resistant to drought. These plants may be native to the area or imported species. Below are a few examples of drought-tolerant plants
- Myrtles: Myrtles are small trees or shrubs that are hardy, drought-resistant and can hold their blooms during droughts.
- Trees: Species such as the Desert Willow, Redbud, and Ironwood tree are ideal for xeriscaping. They have deep roots, require little water, and offer shade for the garden.
- Flowers: Daffodils, Coneflowers, and Yarrow are hardy, drought-resistant flowers that bloom reliably and hold up well in hot weather.
Creating a xeriscape garden with mulch and rocksMulch and rocks are essential components of xeriscaping because they reduce water evaporation from the soil. They help keep the soil moist, regulate the temperature and stabilize the soil structure. Furthermore, mulch and rocks discourage the growth of weeds, reducing the need for herbicides. Here are a few tips to create a xeriscape garden.
- Prepping the soil: Before laying mulch or rocks, the soil must be loosened and leveled. This will also help to lay the groundwork for the plants that will be added to the xeriscape garden.
- Choosing the right mulch: Organic mulch like wood chips, leaves, or pine needles help improve the soil, while inorganic options such as gravel or lava rock don’t break down over time.
- Laying the mulch: Mulch must be applied to the base of trees and plants in an even layer of around 3 inches.
- Using rocks: Rocks help in the drainage of the soil, which reduces the water usage, and as they don’t break down over the time, they also make for low-maintenance landscaping.
Native plants for xeriscape designsNative plants are always the best choice for xeriscape gardening. These plants are already adapted to the local climate and require minimal maintenance. They are resistant to pests and diseases, which can reduce the need for chemical solutions. Also, local plants are often beneficial to the ecosystem and pollinators, improving biodiversity. Here are a few native plants to consider for xeriscape design
- Blue flax: This flowering plant features sky-blue petals and fern-like foliage that thrives even with little water and severe heat.
- Coneflowers: The coneflower is a popular flower for xeriscapes, thanks to its colors and hardiness in dry climates.
- Buffalo grass: Buffalo grass is drought-tolerant and thrives even in poorer soils. It requires minimal watering