Posts Tagged ‘water conservation’

Xeriscaping – There’s More to it Than Cacti

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Xeriscaping – also known as drought tolerant gardening – is a relatively easy and affordable way to get a back (or front) yard landscape that looks incredible while saving water and making the most of the natural resources around you. The basic premise behind xeriscaping is that it requires no water beyond that that Mother Nature provides in the form of rainfall.

Xeriscaping is of course most popular in areas that receive little rainfall, Nevada or Arizona for example. It is also gaining ground in areas where the demand for water is outstripping the supply as is the case in Los Angeles.

Contrary to what many people believe when they first hear about the concept, xeriscaping is not all about filling your garden full of cacti. They can certainly be a feature in some areas, there are some amazing looking ones available, but there are any number of flowers, grasses, vegetables and even trees that flourish in a low water environment. Commonly used plants include cacti, agave, lavender, juniper, thymes and various kinds of sedums.

Although water conservation is one of the primary objectives of those whochoose to try xeriscaping there are other reasons to give it a go as well.

One of the biggest reasons to invest in this kind of landscaping is not only because it is environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing, but it can also garner the homeowner big savings as well. No longer do you have to fight nature to encourage a lawn to grow unnaturally and of course your water bill will drop if you aren’t running a sprinkler day in and day out.

Choosing the right plants and crops is of course essential to xeriscaping success. In hotter climes these will be plants that are native to the area. A trip to a local nursery should put you in contact with gardening professionals who will usually be more than happy to help you pick out the right plants for your project.

Once you have the vegetation you need, remember to try to group them together in such a way that any additional watering is kept to a minimum.

Although xeriscaping is best known in the West and Southwest of the US there is no reason why similar principles cannot be applied to gardens in the Midwest or Northeast. Yes, cacti and yucca will look a little out of place in say, Pennsylvania, but the idea is to mimic your local natural surroundings and take your cues from the plants that are native to the area, whatever the climate.

Have more environmentally friendly gardening tips? We’d love to hear about them. Why not visit Tip the Planet and add them to our rapidly growing green wiki?