Eco-friendliness has become the focus of many homeowners today. With more and more stories coming out about the benefits of sustainable updates, people are looking for ways to save and conserve limited resources for the future.
To achieve sustainability, the best thing to start with is water. Although abundant, this resource can still get depleted if people continue the way they use it today.
You can create a beautiful landscape that also conserves precious water through xeriscaping. This article discusses everything you need to know about this gardening technique and some ideas you can incorporate to maximize your landscape’s water-saving potential.
What is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping is a technique that focuses on conserving water through clever and creative landscaping.
The origins of the term itself reflect this very purpose. It was coined from the Greek word “xeros” which translates to “dry,” then attached to the suffix “-scape,” which refers to a view or scene.
In xeriscaping, landscaping experts focus on cultivating plants that need less water and can tolerate drought. Slow-growing plant species are favored in a water-efficient landscape.
Xeriscape layouts also ensure that water used in irrigation is used efficiently, with little to no water wasted. In some cases, it even incorporates rainwater harvesting that serves as a sustainable source of plant moisture while helping prevent soil erosion.
9 Water-Saving Ideas for Your Landscape
You can have an aesthetically pleasing landscape without contributing to the depletion of your community’s water supply. In fact, some of the most beautiful landscaping projects in Manassas, Virginia involve plenty of water-saving features.
Not sure what you can do to conserve this precious resource? Below are nine ideas you can try:
- Choose native plants:
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Since native plants usually require less maintenance, it is the best option for gardens that employ xeriscaping and other sustainable landscapes. Once established, native plants need less water or very little watering.
Enhance the soil: The soil plays a crucial role in keeping low-water plants alive. After all, they still need nourishment to grow.
Although many of these plants don’t require a lot, others may need water and nutrients that aren’t present in your soil.
This means your best option is to enhance the soil in your yard.
Remember that drought-resistant plants need soil that absorbs water well to serve as a continuous source of moisture. Do some research about the soil and plants in your landscape or seek help from landscaping professionals.
Group together water-saving plants:
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Besides plant choices and soil enhancements, effective xeriscaping also requires grouping together water-saving plants and trees.
In a xeriscape, trees have two roles: to save water themselves and aid other plants to do the same by providing shade.
Besides xerophyte plants like aloe vera, Joshua trees, arctic willows, and cacti, below are some recommended water-conserving plants you can cultivate:
Trees: California buckeye, coast live oak, common hackberry, Eastern white pine, Kentucky coffee tree, pomegranate, Serbian spruce, and Western redbud
Perennials: aster, beebalm, butterfly weed, chrysanthemum, columbine, lavender, lilyturf, lupine, rosemary, Russian sage, thyme, and true lilies
Shrubs: common lilac, common witch hazel, coyote brush, juniper, Northern bush honeysuckle spirea, and smoke bush
Annuals: cosmos, dusty miller, flowering tobacco, ornamental kale, marigold, salvia, strawflower, sunflower, wax begonia, and zinnia
Deal with leaks: Leaks waste more water than any other factor in a landscape. Remember that even only one 1/32-inch diameter of seepage can waste about 6,000 gallons of water annually, so you must make sure there aren’t any leaks in your irrigation system.
Besides, outdoor leaks tend to be more wasteful than indoor ones because they usually go unnoticed for quite some time. Hiring a landscape company to help maintain your yard should help as they check for leaks during every visit. But if you’re doing your own landscape maintenance, make it a point to include leak inspections in your regular lawn maintenance routine.
Use compost and mulch: Mulch and compost also serve xeriscaping purposes. When planting, you use compost to nourish the soil and mulch the area afterward.
Composting ensures that water is always easily accessible to the plant’s roots, while mulching helps prevent water evaporation. Just remember to leave some space around the base of trees and plants, and avoid creating mounds of mulch around them.
Cut down your lawn:
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According to research, an average American property consumes 30 percent of the 320 gallons one household uses outdoors. And more than half of these are utilized in plant irrigation.
For this very reason, you can choose to cut back on the turf grass. Instead, opt for drought-resistant ground covers and other alternatives that require no mowing and cover bigger areas. You can even choose paving which is just as lovely as it is functional in preventing soil erosion.
Let your plants soak: Ask a lawn care expert in Manassas, Virginia and they’ll tell you how important moisture is to grass and other plants.
In a xeriscape, deep watering is preferred over frequent shallow irrigation. Keep in mind that as much as one-third of the water your sprinklers produce end up evaporating because of the heat. So, instead of frequent watering, give your plants only two to three soakings in a week.
Install a rain barrel: Besides preventing soil erosion, rain barrels are also an excellent alternative source of irrigation for plants and grass in your landscape. The best part is, it also serves as a salt- and chemical-free water source.
When xeriscaping, you can ask your landscape irrigation expert about the best way to integrate water into an already-existing irrigation system. If you’re only beginning to have your yard landscaped, you can also work with your landscaper to incorporate this into a sustainable landscape design.
Water efficiently: Watering using a sprinkler system is fine, so long as you make sure that the water goes exactly where it is needed. While plants like to get soaked, they need it along the root area and not the leaves.
Too often, gardeners end up watering the leaves more than they do the soil around the roots, which not only wastes water but also increases the risk of plant disease.
Conserve Water with Xeriscaping
Landscaped yards and lush green lawns offer a much-needed reprieve from the stress, pollution, and stress of city living.
Consider the ideas in this list and have yourself a beautiful, healthy and sustainable garden.