Having a beautiful garden often comes at a pretty high ongoing cost—to you and the environment. The traditional idea of having lush, green vegetation can be tempting, even for people who live in dry climates and desert zones. As a result, it’s all too common to landscape for the climate you want over the climate that you have. And as a result, many gardeners end up paying up in monthly watering bills and high maintenance costs.
But there’s a better way, and chances are you’ve never heard of it. We’ll cover what the xeriscaping method entails, the many benefits of trying it out, some tips and tricks to get you started, and the smart way to reduce costs and maintenance even further. The ongoing task of tending to a garden is about to get much, much easier.
What Is Xeriscaping?
It might sound intimidating, but actually, xeriscaping (zeh·ri·skay·ping) just makes sense: the whole point of it is to create a low-maintenance (but still beautiful) landscape that uses minimal water. Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping that emphasizes the use of drought-tolerant plants, water conservation techniques, and efficient irrigation systems to achieve a gorgeous garden, without much water loss.
This is typically achieved by selecting native plants and grouping them based on their water needs, using mulch to retain moisture, and more. By reducing the amount of water needed to maintain a landscape, xeriscaping can help conserve natural resources, reduce water bills, and keep your garden looking pretty great, too.
What are the Benefits of Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping is all about the benefits. Here’s what to expect when you start landscaping for the landscape and climate that you actually have: more conserved water, a higher drought tolerance, cost efficiency, and so much more.
More Water Conservation
By using drought-resistant plants, xeriscaping reduces the need for ongoing irrigation. Plus, it often incorporates design elements such as mulching, grouping plants with similar water needs, and using highly efficient irrigation systems, all of which help reduce water use. Less water used to maintain your landscaping means more water conserved for the planet (it’s a valuable natural resource, after all) and, of course, a lower monthly water bill.
Higher Drought Tolerance
Xeriscaped gardens make for a more resilient, drought-tolerant garden, because they’re designed to survive with minimal water. Because it utilizes plants that are native to or adapted to the local climate and have naturally low water needs, xeriscaping is a must for areas that experience droughts.
The Lowest Maintenance
Get ready to have some extra time on your hands. Xeriscaped gardens are super low maintenance, because the locally adapted, drought-tolerant plants they utilize also require less fertilizing. Plus, those same xeriscaping practices of bringing in mulch, rocks, and ground covers also suppress weed growth and minimize the need for frequent mowing and other yard work.
Go Xeriscaping, Save Some Cash
It’s true: if your garden doesn’t need as much irrigation or maintenance, you will save some cash. Xeriscaped gardens use much less water than traditional landscaped gardens, and they’re designed to be low-maintenance and lower costs for watering, weeding, and general upkeep. Plus, you’ll save money when you buy native plants as opposed to their non-native counterparts. And with xeriscaping, there’s no need to get digging for some massive irrigation system. All of this adds up for significant savings.
Xeriscaped Gardens Can Be Beautiful, Too
It’s time to expand how we think of a beautiful garden. Xeriscaped gardens can be just as beautiful as traditional gardens by incorporating a variety of shapes and colors through the use of locally native or adapted plants. Plus those rock formations, mulch, stones, and wood? They’re a great opportunity for a unique design. Because while most traditional gardens look the same, every xeriscaped garden can be distinct. Sky’s the limit for designing yours.
Welcome More Wildlife, Help the Planet
Since xeriscaping uses native plants, it naturally provides food and habitat for local wildlife and helps maintain biodiversity. The use of mulch, rocks, and other organic materials in xeriscaping also helps to conserve soil and prevent erosion, which is super beneficial for the wildlife and the planet. The use of organic gardening methods and reduced pesticide use in xeriscaping helps protect pollinators and other wildlife and improves soil health, which benefits the planet. Add all that to how much water you’re saving, and it’s easy to see the positive impact your xeriscaped garden has on the environment as a whole.
Getting Started with Xeriscaping: Tips and Tricks
Ready to try xeriscaping for yourself, after hearing all of its benefits? Makes sense! Here are some tips and tricks to get you started. Soon, you might forget you ever liked the traditional way.
Analyze Your Soil
Before you get started, it’s helpful to get your soil analyzed, whether you send a sample to a local lab or use a test kit that measures the pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in your soil. Knowing these specs will help you choose plants well-suited to your location.
Choose Your Plants Natively
When selecting plants, choose species that are native to your area or known to be drought-tolerant. One way to research plants native to your area is to go to your local dot gov, as most counties provide resources that list local species. You can also simply use a search engine. For example, the phrase “Williamson County Native Plants List” yields
Group Plants to Simplify Irrigation
Those gorgeous plants you just got at a reasonable, native price? They’re about to get cozy. Group plants with similar water requirements together, and enjoy years of water conservation to come.
Reconsider that Lawn
Got a grass lawn, too? Consider reducing it. Lawns are often the largest water consumer in a landscape! If you do decide to reduce, go ahead and replace it with a larger xeriscaped plot or drought-tolerant ground covers.
Make It Mulch
Mulch is the moisture master when it comes to your garden. On top of keeping water in your soil instead of evaporating in thin air, it also works as an organic fertilizer. That means stronger moisture and stronger soil, all for the price of one mulch bag (or however many it takes).
In Praise of Rain and Shade
To take up your water conservation up a notch, look to natural sources. Collect rainwater and use it to water your plants, and create shade in your garden to decrease the water needs of your plants, such as planting trees or hanging shade cloth. Sunny days will dry up your soil faster than you can say “xeriscaping”!
Reduce Costs and Maintenance Even More!
The perfect way to minimize the water loss of a xeriscaped (or even the traditional type, too!) garden is to employ a smart irrigation system. The The OtO device analyzes local weather, windspeed, humidity, temperature data, the specific measurements of your lawn and garden, and the type of plants you have. Using that data, it adjusts its watering schedule and delivers the perfectly right amount of water to your garden. By employing an ultra-precise watering stream, this device targets specific plants in up to ten zones, which means each plant gets the exact amount of irrigation it needs, all while reducing water use.
Plus, irrigation is just one of its features—it also fertilizes using a natural solution, which improves the health of your soil, including structure, and increases water retention. It also deodorizes after pets, keeps away ticks and mosquitos, and so much more.
With a combination of xeriscaping and the OtO device, you’re as close as possible to using every drop of water in your garden. That’s a job well done—and with smart technology, you’re actually done. Enjoy it.