Xeriscaping is known as the art of conserving water through creative landscaping.
The concept was coined and trademarked by Denver Water, the city of Denver’s water department, during a difficult drought period in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Since then Xeriscaping has become more mainstream even in areas where this is no drought but where people would like to conserve water for many other reasons.
Yards that embrace xeriscape ideas actually feature all manner of plants and garden styles, including cottage gardens. The term simply refers to a landscape that minimizes water use.
For a Xeriscape exercise to be successful the following steps need to be considered.
- Thorough planning and design of the overall area
- Improving the soil with organic matter to hold more moisture
- Practical turf management. Turf grasses have a place in xeriscapes for recreational space, for pets, or just for their aesthetic appeal. However, because turf grass uses more water and maintenance than any other part of the xeriscape, it is recommended only for limited areas that serve a specific purpose. Lawns created primarily for appearance could be replaced by attractive alternatives, which also reduce erosion, prevent the sun’s glare, and cool the local environment.
- Appropriate plant selection is key. As you research xeriscaping plants, always select ones that are winter hardy in your zone. Many of these water-wise plants demand well-drained soil. Take time to amend soil in planting beds with compost or grit, which includes things like gravel, pulverized granite, terra-cotta pot pieces or builder’s sand.
- Efficient irrigation practices, such as “smart systems” like those from Rachio that recognize moisture content or drip systems which lessen evaporation.
- The use of mulches, both organic (compost, wood chips, bark, etc.) or others such as gravels, cobbles or decomposed granite.
- And finally, on-going maintenance of the garden to ensure long term health and appearance.
As members of the American Society of Landscape Architects we have years of experience and are eminently qualified to assist you in your xeriscaping pursuits. We are able to tackle xeriscaping in Chicago and xeriscaping in Denver with teams in both of these areas and surrounds.
Contact us and we will get right back to you.