In our last post, we discussed the benefits of creating a xeriscape garden and how they not only conserve water, but can also be very beautiful.
Believe it or not, xeriscape is not just for dry, arid areas. Over 42 states have xeriscape landscape programs in place. So, how about you? Would you like to create your own beautiful xeriscape?
In our previous post, we listed the 7 principles of xeriscape that were created for the average homeowner to follow.
So, lets get started….
1. Planning and Design –
Okay, so we need to start with creating a plan. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a landscape designer to do this. Just draw out your existing landscape, including structures, driveway, turf areas, trees and shrubs.
Now decide what you want for your landscape based on your budget, how you want it to look, what is your landscape’s function, do you want a low or high maintenance landscape and how much water will it need.
Here is some great how-to information to get you started “Backyard Makeover Tips”
2. Soil Analysis –
You may have sandy soil or maybe clay like soil. How does it drain? Most drought-tolerant plants need well-drained soil. No matter what kind of soil you have, you will need to improve it by adding organic matter to the existing soil. My favorite way is to add a 2 – 4″ layer of compost to my planting areas and mix it in with the existing soil. If you don’t make your own compost, you can buy compost at most nurseries.
Adding organic matter to soil not only increases the fertility, but also improves the structure of the soil which allows it to absorb and hold onto water.
3. Practical Turf Areas –
Believe it or not, turf can be a part of a well-planned xeriscape. The key is moderation. For example, if you entire backyard is covered in turf, you can decrease the amount of turf by removing it from the outer perimeter and adding drought-tolerant plants in its place. The same holds true in the front yard.
Not all grasses have the same water requirements – some use more then others. Choose a type of grass in your area that uses the least amount of water. In much of the Desert Southwest, Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that uses less water then other types.
Another benefit in reducing the amount of your turf in addition to water savings is you have less to mow 😉
These are the first few steps in creating a beautiful, waterwise garden. Our next post will talk about plant selection, irrigation as well as proper maintenance.
So, get out your pencils and get started mapping out your landscape!