by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 25, 2015)
At first glance, the word xeriscape might look intimidating, but it simply means to landscape or grow plants with very little water. Derived from the Greek word xeros, which means dry, employees at the Denver, Colorado, Water Department tacked on the word scape to refer to the landscape, and coined the term xeriscape.
If you already conserve by using gutter water to water your lawn or garden, you are using the principals of xeriscaping, whether you know it or not. True xeriscaping involves all types of plants—not just plants that will grow with little water—with the goal of using a low-maintenance system and conserving water. Working with your climate, the annual rainfall, and choosing zone-appropriate plants are all part of xeriscaping.
So, how do you grow plants without using sprinklers and hoses to water them? You find creative ways to use the water already available. Here are some guidelines and tips for incorporating xeriscaping into your landscape:
If you absolutely must water your landscape, choose a more water-efficient method such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation, where the water won't evaporate or run off. Ensure that your growing soil is mulched and composted often to keep it in the best growing condition possible. Try to plant similar-needs plants together. If you have a water-sucking hosta, plant it with other water-sucking plants. That way, if you need to water, you will only need to water that one area.
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