Drought Resistant Landscaping
Saving money on your water bill is just one of the many benefits homeowners can receive when they choose to landscape their yards with water-saving landscape designs. Drought tolerant landscaping, particularly when using native plants, can save you time and money when it comes to ongoing maintenance. Not only that, but it beautifies your home and can reduce your home’s environmental impact.
By choosing plants, ground cover, and irrigation methods that are water wise, you can make your home’s landscaping more water and energy efficient. Drought resistant landscaping allows you to create an enjoyable outdoor living space and avoid surcharges for excessive water usage. Water conservation through water-saving landscape design can be as simple as limiting the space dedicated to natural grass lawns – which are among the top residential water wasters – or it can involve a complete xeriscape design for a new yard or a xeriscape overhaul for your current landscaping.
What is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping design for water conservation needs of property owners in arid and semiarid regions. Locations include areas like San Diego, CA and the majority of the Southwestern United States.
This landscaping technique includes the creation of visually appealing landscapes using native plant species, drought-tolerant plants, water-saving irrigation methods, mulch, and other ground covers. Additionally, xeriscaping with native plant species can eliminate the need for pesticides and fertilizers. Overall you will lower your carbon footprint by eliminating the need for yard equipment that uses fossil fuels, decrease the amount of time required to maintain your landscaping. and provide a natural habitat for wildlife in your area. A well-designed xeriscape can increase your home’s curb appeal and in some cases, the value of your property.
The concept of xeriscaping is simple. To conserve water through soil improvement, proper irrigation systems, and the use of native, drought-resistant plants and ground cover.
Some homeowners may find this to be a great DIY project, calling in outside contractors only as needed. Such as to install pavers for a patio or artificial grass after they remove their natural grass lawn.
Other homeowners may want to consider hiring a professional landscape designer with experience in xeriscaping. Hiring a professional xeriscape landscaper is the best way to ensure you will be satisfied with the end result. This also helps you ensure that the finished landscape will meet your water conservation goals and will be the focal point of your outdoor living space.
Tips for Conserving Water with Xeriscaping, Drought-Resistant Plants and Ground Covers
Know Before You Grow
Before you start planting things you have seen in magazines, get to know the specifics for your area. Start by researching the following:
- The amount and distribution of natural rainfall each year.
- Native plants that are specific to your region and likely to thrive in your xeriscape.
- Exotic plants to avoid due to their invasive tendencies.
- Natural turf options that have adapted to your region and require the least amount of water.
Select your native plants based on the size they will grow to, rather than their current size. You will also want to plan any tree planting to maximize shade. Maximizing shade will help reduce evaporation and act as a windbreaker or natural climate control option for your home.
Before you begin installing your drought tolerant garden, map out your front yard or backyard. This will help you understand natural drainage and sun dominant areas. With that information you will be able to group plants with similar water requirements.
Limit Your Lawn
If you must have a natural grass lawn, limit the grass area and ask your local gardening center about low water grass types.
You might also consider forgoing natural grass and opting for artificial turf, which will allow you to use the area just as you would with natural grass. Also it doesn’t require the same level of maintenance and water to maintain a natural lawn.
Test Your Soil
For the most satisfying end result, consider testing your soil and making improvements before planting. You can purchase a home soil testing kit if you are the DIY type. Otherwise, you can ask your local garden center to test your soil for you.
If you find that your soil is too alkaline or does not have an adequate phosphorus content, both of which are common in soils found in the southwestern United States, consider adding bone meal or rock phosphate to remedy this.
If your design does not include cacti and succulents, compost is a great way to add organic material to your soil.
Bring on the Mulch
Covering the soil around plants with several inches of mulch is a good idea overall. Use natural options, such as wood chips, compost, bark, or leaves. This helps soil moisture, while also helping you keep weeds and erosion to a minimum.
Saving Water Without Having a Backyard Desert
It is a common misconception that water-saving landscape designs will inevitably result in a backyard that looks more like a barren desert than an inviting oasis. While a desert landscape is certainly possible and can be an attractive option, you do not have to base your backyard design around cacti and gravel.
You are in control of how much water your landscaping saves and can choose your desired outdoor elements. This could include replacing one section of your existing natural grass lawn with a rock garden. Or creating a border with flowering native plants, designing a luxurious outdoor setting with meandering paver walkways and vibrant synthetic turf.
Saving water through landscape design can take on many forms depending on your preferences and your family’s needs.
Here are a few examples that conserve water & go well beyond the stereotypical idea of xeriscape landscaping:
Create a Backyard with Activity Areas for Adults and Children
One option is to use synthetic grass and paving stones to create a patio or play area for all ages.
For example, you can save water by using artificial turf, instead of natural grass, as ground cover for playgrounds, a putting green, an area for lawn bowling or croquet, or your own miniature golf course. Pavers can be added to create walkways and patios for an outdoor kitchen, dining area or pool deck.
With this type of landscaping, you will be saving water and money every month. Also, most people would not even notice that you designed your yard with water conservation in mind.
Design a Backyard Oasis for Meditation, Yoga, and Relaxation
You can save water while creating a usable, appealing outdoor space by designing a private retreat, steps from your home.
For this option, you could consider stone walkways that wind through a rock garden with ornamental grasses, building an outdoor yoga deck or meditation gazebo, creating a hidden reading area with a hammock stretched over artificial grass or planting borders with drought-resistant lavender bushes that will bring beautiful color and an inviting, relaxing aroma to your yard.
Design the Yard of Your Dreams – Just Do It in Zones
Maybe you really want a garden filled with tropical plants or a waterfall that splashes over rocks and into a stream. While these landscaping options are not going to score any points with water conservationists, you can still take steps to use less water by dividing your landscaping into zones.
For example, plant in the section of your yard that best suits their soil, sun and watering needs. Establish an irrigation zone just for these water-loving elements so that you can give them adequate moisture without wasting water in other areas of your yard.
To help make up for the water used in this zone, perhaps you could install a rock garden or a section of native plants in a different zone. Additionally, consider a drip irrigation system for water dependant gardens.
Water Conserving Landscaping: Final Thoughts
Designing and installing water-saving landscaping really does not require any more time or effort than installing more typical yard design options. However, the time and money saved on maintenance and utilities throughout the years can be significant.
There is no need to sacrifice visual appeal or function in exchange for saving water when you can use attractive features. Options like pavers, artificial grass, rock gardens, flowering native plants, and ornamental grasses are great choices.
Because of this, you can enjoy the benefits of water smart landscaping while still having the perfect outdoor entertaining space.
If you are interested in working with a professional landscape designer in San Diego, CA, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today or sign up for a free estimate to get started.