Successful Xeriscape landscaping

Periwinkle ground cover

Successful Xeriscape landscaping incorporates three key principles: drought-resistance, tolerance of a variety of soil types and hardy, native plants. These three factors support a wide range of landscaping ideas, six of which are presented to spark your creativity.

Six Xeriscape Landscaping Ideas

1. Beneficial and Aesthetic Wildlife Garden Design

Many Xeriscape plants are beloved by butterflies who feast on the nectar of the tiny flowers. Among these are the Autumn Joy variety of stonecrop, bluebeard, and coreopsis. The dark heads of coneflowers will draw dazzling goldfinches to your garden. Lamb’s ear, on the other hand, will prove helpful in keeping deer away from your Xeriscape garden. The soft fuzzy texture of the leaves is reportedly repellent to deer.

2. Traditional Row Design

Xeriscapes can be laid out in traditional rows, with tallest plants at the back, intermediate height plants in a center row, and a short-growing type in the front. Alternate the rows with grasses, shrubs and flowering plants. Leave room between for sunlight to reach the stalks and leaves, but shade the roots.

3. Clump and Scatter Design

On a site that gets full sun, group the plants that love the light. Place bluebeard in the center of a circle. Orbit it with Hosta and edge with a low grass like blue fescue.

In shade areas that are hard to get grass to grow, Periwinkle is an excellent choice.  Springtime blooms and year round evergreen ground cover.

4. Rock Garden Design

Xeriscape landscaping also complements a rock garden. Plant the least thirsty on the highest terrace or slope of the rock garden, in clumps rather than ruler-straight lines. On lower levels place the ground cover that needs more water.

5. Monochrome Rock Garden Design

Coordinate foliage with rock color for a xeriscape that highlights texture rather than color, using non-flowering plants and grasses with silver or pale green leaves among light and dark gray river-smoothed rocks.

6. Handkerchief Lawn Design

On your tiny inner-city front lawn, remove the turf grass altogether and plant coneflowers, iris, poppy, and lavender in a border around an ornamental grass like maidenhair. Your neighbors will stop to chat more often.

Xeriscape Benefits

Saves Water. For most of North America, over 50% of residential water used is applied to landscape and lawns. Xeriscape can reduce landscape water use by 50 – 75%.

Less Maintenance. Xeriscape gardens typically have much lower maintenance requirements.  This means fewer leaves to clean up and lower weeds maintenance.  There is also reduced lawn mowing areas. Aside from occasional pruning and weeding, maintenance is minimal.

No Fertilizers or Pesticides. Using plants native to your area will eliminate the need for chemical supplements. Sufficient nutrients are provided by healthy organic soil.

Improves Property Value. A good Xeriscape can raise property values, which more than offset the cost of installation. Protect your landscaping investment by drought proofing it.

Pollution Free. Fossil fuel consumption from gas mowers is minimized or eliminated with minimal turf areas. Small turf areas can be maintained with a reel mower.

Provides Wildlife Habitat. Use of native plants, shrubs and trees offer a familiar and varied habitat for local wildlife.

Preparation:

Soil Preparation – Aerify and enrich soil.  I use Liquid Nature’s Magic with Aerify to deepen water retention causing roots to grow deeper.

Bed Preparation – Install a landscape fabric to block weeds.

Plant appropriate plants – Lowe’s stocks plants appropriate to your climate and local requirements,

Mulch – Apply mulch to reduce water evaporation.

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