Xeriscaping is a term that was coined by the Colorado Waterwise Council. It is a combination of seven common-sense gardening principles that save water while creating a lush and colorful landscape.
Plan and Design:
Like a house, a well-designed landscape should start with a plan, or rather, a series of plans. The first plan is a base plan which shows the major elements of the current landscape, including the footprint of the house, driveway, patios, walkways and all existing trees, shrubs and garden beds. The base plan should also show directions (indicate which way is north),
and should include the location of spigots, downspouts and external electrical outlets. <<READ MORE>>
Create Practical Turf Areas:
Contrary to what you may have heard, converting your yard to Xeriscape does NOT mean you have to get rid of all the grass. It does mean you need to think about where it makes sense to have grass, rather than just putting turf everywhere. While traditional landscaping in America has always included expanses of lawn, in Colorado's semi-arid climate many grasses need a lot of supplemental irrigation to stay green and lush. That's why it's important to limit grass to areas in the yard that need to be useful lawn. <<READ MORE>>
Select and Group Plants Appropriately:
There is a misconception among some people that the only plants allowed in a Xeriscape are cactus and other desert perennials. Nothing could be farther from the truth! There are a large number of plants that do well in our semi-arid climate with little or no supplemental irrigation. The trick to waterwise gardening is to put the right plants in the right place.
Improve the Soil:
Soil is the foundation of every landscape. The better the soil, the more successful a Xeriscape will be. Soil is made up of three main types of particles - sand, silt and clay. In Colorado our soils tend to be either primarily clay or primarily sand. Clay soil has a high moisture retention capacity, but it is slow to absorb water and slow to release it. When water
is applied too quickly to clay soil, the soil can't absorb it and most of it runs off. Clay soil also tends to be heavily compacted, making it difficult for plants
to establish the deep root systems necessary to survive a drought.
Mulch is an essential component of gardening in a semi-arid climate like ours, for several reasons. Mulching minimizes evaporation. It cools plant root zones, which reduces the amount of water plants lose through evapotranspiration. It reduces weed growth, and it helps control erosion. Mulch also adds a finished look to the garden. <<READ MORE>>
Once you’ve installed a Xeriscape, it’s important to water it efficiently. Efficient irrigation is the planned management of water in the landscape to prevent waste and over use. In order to achieve this goal you must understand both the plant water requirements and the operating specifications of the irrigation equipment. BASIC PRINCIPLES Although irrigation systems can range from a new automatic system to a sprinkler attached to the end of a hose, there are some basic principles that will allow you to be more efficient with your water use. <<READ MORE>>
Maintain the Landscape:
No garden is completely maintenance-free. Like more traditional landscape, Xeriscapes require regular maintenance to look their best. This includes pruning shrubs and trees, deadheading perennials, aerating, mowing and
fertilizing lawns, and controlling pests. <<READ MORE>>
For a complete list of the seven principles ~ click here