Xeriscaping: Environmentally Wise Landscaping – From HomeAdvisor Newsletter by Matt Goering

Xeriscaping is a landscaping term that refers to the practice of planting  native plants, shrubs, and trees to reduce maintenance, water usage, and upkeep.  It is most popular in the Western United States, where recent drought and water  shortages have highlighted how wasteful keeping non-native species alive can be  when it comes to sucking up water resources. And while many homeowners assume it  means drab and colorless landscape, xeriscaping is more often than not achieved  with stunning and beautiful results.

Does It Really Make a Difference? Absolutely. By some accounts,  over fifty percent of the water resources in many municipalities goes towards  keeping landscape alive and well. Xeriscaping, by utilizing smart choice of  vegetation, water saving irrigation techniques, and other water conservation  measures, can cut down the water use in your home by up to 60%! That means big  savings on water bills, a clean conscience when it comes to environmental  responsibility, and best of all, this style of landscaping means the amount of  time you’ll have to waste on maintaining your landscape will be reduced  accordingly as well.

Xeriscaping Improves the Value of Your Home For all these reasons,  this landscaping practice isn’t just a good decision from an environmental  standpoint, it’s also a great investment from a financial standpoint. Because it  drastically reduces water usage and yard maintenance, it is a big selling point  to prospective homebuyers. Most new homeowners aren’t going to take shine to a  garden filled landscape that they’ll have to spend hours each week to maintain.  But if they can have a beautiful yard without doing much work, then it’s an easy  sell. In fact, property value increases of up to 15% are not unheard when this  landscaping strategy is utilized.

Go Native, Or at Least Think Climate When You Buy Choosing the  right vegetation is a big part of the equation with xeriscaping. When shopping  for the plants to put in your yard, make sure they’re used to your native  climate, or come from an area with similar demands. And be conscious of each  plant‘s needs when you plant. Hydrozoning refers to the practice of planting  vegetation with similar water needs in the same area, making watering much more  efficient in the end.

Xeriscaping Isn’t All about the Plants Planting native species of  plants isn’t the only strategy that makes this environmentally-friendly  landscaping work. It’s actually a holistic philosophy that relies as much on  irrigation practices, mulching, and smart landscaping layout as it does on low  water vegetation. Drip irrigation is the irrigation of choice, mulching your  flower and garden beds goes a long way towards conserving water (and reducing  weeds), and layout can make a huge difference. That luscious green yard is one  of the biggest offenders when it comes to wasting water, so reducing it as much  as possible is a must. Keep it where you need it, such as areas where kids and  pets play, but let rock gardens, flower beds, water wise shrubbery, and other  less demanding landscaping dominate your yard. It will go a long way towards  conserving water and saving you the money and time required to keep everything  alive during the hot and dry season.

If you think saving water, saving money, increasing your home’s value, and  getting a beautiful yard to boot sounds like a good idea, talk to a landscaper  in your area about designing a landscape with xeriscaping in mind. It’s one of  the best landscaping choices you’ll ever make.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter,  is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over  600 articles.


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