Sunday, July 09, 2006

Xeriscapes: Water-Saving Landscaping

All across America, communities have been faced with increased demands on existing water supplies. Consequently, there is a greater focus on water conservation, not just in times of drought, but in anticipation of future population growth. Water can no longer be considered a limitless resource. A philosophy of conservation of water through creative landscaping has created the new term, xeriscape.

The term xeriscape is derived from the Greek word xeros meaning dry, combined with landscaping, thus xeriscaping. The term was coined by the Front Range Xeriscape Task Force of the Denver Water Department in 1981. The goal of a xeriscape is to create a visually attractive landscape that uses plants selected for their water efficiency.

Properly maintained, a xeriscape can easily use less than one-half the water of a traditional landscape. Once established, a xeriscape should require less maintenance than turf landscape.

The eight fundamentals of water-wise landscaping illustrate the concepts and principles of Xeriscape landscaping and other water-efficient approaches.

  • Group plants according to their water needs.

  • Use native and low-water-use plants.

  • Limit turf areas to those needed for practical uses.

  • Use efficient irrigation systems.

  • Schedule irrigation wisely.

  • Make sure soil is healthy.

  • Remember to mulch.

  • Provide regular maintenance.

Proper landscaping techniques not only create beautiful landscapes, but also benefit the environment and save water. In addition, attractive, water-efficient, low-maintenance landscapes can increase home values.

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