Did you know that Americans use about 9 billion gallons of water per day on landscape irrigation? Between record droughts, increasing prices, and high demands for water, designing your yard to conserve water could help you save 22,000 gallons of water per year.
Xeriscaping is one way to simultaneously save money and help the planet. This landscaping design technique uses drought-resistant plants and low maintenance principles to increase your curb appeal and maximize your outdoor living space.
A popular practice in dry climates, converting your front yard into a xeriscaped space doesn’t have to compromise beauty. If you are considering making a change, here are 9 xeriscaping ideas to get you started.
1. Gather Xeriscaping Ideas and Make a Plan
Great xeriscaping starts and ends with a thorough plan. Start with gathering landscaping ideas or talking with a professional about xeriscaping design in your region. It’s important to evaluate what you are working with to create a beautiful design from the existing environment.
Take a look at all the features of your yard. Take note of any flooding issues and areas with a lot of shade or sun.
Also, think about how you want to be spending time in your yard. Have you always wanted a fire pit, outdoor patio, or outdoor seating areas in the shade? Xeriscaping is an opportunity to create more comfortable outdoor living areas as well.
2. Choose Gravel Over Grass
A key xeriscaping tip is swapping out grass for gravel. While having a bright green lawn is a common picture of American living, think about all the time, effort, water, and money that goes into keeping it that way.
Decreasing the size of your lawn is one way to quickly reduce your water usage and day-to-day maintenance. Your former yard space doesn’t have to be boring. It can include elements like pavers, rock gardens, container plantings, and birdbaths.
If you want to have a grass area for your kids or pets, consider limiting your lawn area or investing in synthetic turf grass.
3. Find the Best Plants
Remember xeriscaping doesn’t mean getting rid of all your beautiful plants. Rather it’s an opportunity to find the best native and drought-resistant plants for your region.
Finding native plant species means that they have the natural ability to survive on the water that’s available. These plants will also make your yard a hub of activity and safe haven for pollinators like birds, butterflies, and bees.
Get creative with drought-tolerant plants. From cacti and bamboos to hardy herbs like lavender and rosemary, your yard can be beautiful and productive.
4. Follow the Sun
Use the sun to your advantage when considering different xeriscaping ideas. The amount of shade and sun in your yard should dictate what you are planting and where you are planting it. This ensures the new landscaping you are doing actually saves water and sets your new plants up for success.
A good tip is to keep your sun-loving plants on the western side of your house— to ensure they will get light for most of the day.
Rocks also do a great job at absorbing heat. Consider using pavers or other features in high sun areas instead of having hot gravel. On the other hand, gravel helps with areas in the shade that usually flood.
5. Group Plants Based on Water Needs
It’s a good idea to group plants in three different zones based on their water needs and the distance from your house. If you’ve already plated your yard, you can also relocate water-needy plants into one distinct area.
The three xeriscaping zones your should place for include:
- The Oasis Zone: Taking advantage of gutter downspouts and water catchment, this area should be close to your house and include plants that have more consistent water needs.
- The Transition Zone: This is a buffer zone that still requires irrigation. This area should have drought-tolerant plants. Water use and maintenance should be minimal.
- The Arid Zone: Furthest from your house, this is an opportunity to leave the land in a natural or close to a natural state. Focus on native plants that can survive on rainwater.
6. Incorporate Smart Watering Practices
For your plants that require occasional watering, consider incorporating water-catching methods into your design a well. Smart watering practices include catching water that comes off your house and using barrels to collect water (they can be creatively hidden or even stylish).
If you are planning on adding irrigation to your redesign, drip irrigation is going to be the most efficient.
7. Add Mulch in Your Designs
Soil quality really matters to the success of your new landscaping. You’ll want to make sure that it’s healthy and has the ability to retain moisture.
Adding mulch to your xeriscape can be a great design feature and is an easy way to keep water locked in the ground. Organic mulches like shredded bark or wood chips actually improve the soil health as they break down.
8. Embrace Creative Accents
Your new landscape is also a great place to feature creative accents like sculptures, fountains, and pathways made of decorative pavers. Large rocks or stacks of rocks can be used to fill in spaces between plantings or to divert water.
Consider planting crevices between rocks and pavers with trailing plants or succulents to create visually interesting and unique areas.
9. Create Outdoor Spaces You Can Enjoy
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that having comfortable outdoor areas extend your living space and improve your quality of life. Think about carving out new spaces in your yard for different types of seating or adding a patio.
The Benefits of Xeriscaping in North Texas
There are so many xeriscaping ideas that can immediately make an impact on your quality of life. From reducing your daily yard maintenance to creating havens for native plants and animals, it’s no wonder xeriscapes are growing in popularity across the county.
Splendid Gardens is a woman-owned neighborhood landscape company that serves North Texas with residential and commercial services. We can help you create the xeriscaped landscape of your dreams—from installing river rock displays and walkways to patios and artificial turf.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can put our experience and expertise to work for you.