How to Create a Xeriscape Garden
While a beautifully landscaped garden can make any home look nice, the amount of water required to sustain lush yards can put a drain on your wallet and the state’s water supply. With 50 percent or more of daily water usage going to landscape maintenance, many people are now turning to xeriscaping in an attempt to lower costs for themselves and reduce their impact on local water supplies. Here are a few simple steps to planting a more water efficient, environmentally friendly garden, also known as xeriscaping.
Instructions on how to create a xeriscape garden
Perform a site analysis. If you are planning to create your own xeriscape garden, you must analyze your current landscaping, the location of your home and the land conditions. Make a visual and physical analysis of your site and surroundings. Take into consideration the landscaping prevalent in your neighborhood. Are there restrictions, like homeowner’s association, that restrict the type of plants used in your neighborhood? Depending on the size of your project and the amount of digging and structural work that you are planning to do, you may need to obtain a permit before you can get started with your project. Once you have gathered your information and had made a complete analysis, then you can decide whether you can pursue a xeriscape garden.
Design a plan. Whether you are planning on a complicated or simple design, you would need to have a layout or plan. You need to draw the locations of your xeriscape planting bed, the irrigation system, places to put your plants and trees taking into consideration the proximity to your home and the surrounding fences. Your plan should also include non-plant materials, like making use of boulder rocks and other design elements to make your xeriscape garden more interesting.
Prepare Soil. Depending on where you live, the type of soil will dictate how much preparation you need to do to create a xeriscape garden. Till the soil and mix with soil crystals that can absorb water that gets released during drought season. You may want to create berms and slopes so that water coming from the rain will flow downwards to maximize the use of natural water. You may need to pre-fertilize your soil for plants to be more sustainable. Soil with improved structure retains water better.
Add irrigation. Add drip irrigation where possible to apply water efficiently. Carefully place irrigation carefully. The objective it to ensure water conservation, so any spill-over to the concrete pathways or unused areas must be avoided. Place overhead irrigation (where needed) is applied in the morning or evening. Schedule when it is less likely to be blown away by wind or lost by evaporation. During rainy season, make sure to turn off the automatic irrigation system so as not to waste water. You can also use water collected from the rain for future watering as needed.
Add plants. You can now add your plants. Select plants that are indigenous to your region. These are plants that thrive well where you live. Choose drought-resistant plants. Consider the size of your plants and trees. For example, how big will a tree mature once planted. Base your plant choices with the existing design of your home. For example, if you have a Spanish Mediterranean home you may want to choose plants that will work well with that style like lavender and juniper to name a few. Group plants based on water requirements, also know as hydrozoning. Put plants that need more water closer to the irrigation system. Some bulbs that are drought-resistant may need to be planted deep rooted to prevent loss of water. Remember to space plants and trees appropriately to allow for growth and expansion.
Apply mulch. Mulch helps cool and prevent evaporation of water.
Add structural features. You may want to add rocks or boulders and other architectural details like art works to add interest and whimsy to your garden.
Maintain your xeriscape garden regularly. Contrary to some beliefs, a xeriscape garden is not in any way a no maintenance garden. You still need to ensure that you properly care for your plants regularly. Maintaining a xeriscape landscape is simpler compared to maintaining a garden with a manicured lawn. You still need to water, deadhead and prune your plants and trees as needed.