Reducing turf areas, lowering water costs and bringing a more organic look to the landscape was the big ‘to do’ for us in 2009. In other words, Xeriscaping was back into favor with homeowners, designers and contractors. I have a good feeling it’s going to top 2010 project list again.
Now, before you get the idea this translates to a few cacti, scotch broom and a cover of river-rock mulch, you just might want to take a new look at Xeriscaping. At its most basic, this is a practice designed to help make low-water-use landscaping an easily recognized concept. Here in the Truckee Meadows, water costs, mandatory watering schedules and plant deaths have demonstrated Xeriscaping is a smart choice and can look magnificent.
Xeriscaping represents a multi-step approach to incorporate soil amendments, compatible plant material and efficient irrigation into a well thought-out design. Try to look at your landscape in a simpler way and choose appropriate plants, native and naturalized, for our area. Use plantings that will survive and thrive Northern Nevada’s climate. And think organically at all times; part of your overall earth-wise gardening solution will conserve water with native and adapted plants and consume less synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, while reducing emissions from lawn equipment.
You don’ have to sacrifice style and grace to create a beautiful Xeriscaped garden. Instead of roses, peonies and Hydrangeas in flower beds, showcase the plants in a pot or urn that can be appreciated close up and maintained easier. For a green, clipped European-themed garden, you can spend a lot less effort, money and water using native plants to achieve the great designs and the first place to start is by asking questions of your landscaper or nursery. They have the professionals on staff with the native plant knowledge to steer you in the right direction.
Be Water Smart
Drip irrigation is gaining popularity in our state as we’ve begun to experience more drought and watering restrictions and should be part of our commitment to the intelligent use of water. Drip products are made of control zone components that control water flow (valves, filters and pressure regulators), distribution components that get water where it needs to go (blank tubing or dripline emitter tubing) and emission devices (drip emitters and low volume microsprays).
Drip systems are often the perfect solution for sparse planting schemes. Applying water directly to the plant roots without watering the areas in between, you not only cut down water use but also help prevent weed growth. It’s also ideal for plantings near buildings and paved areas, greatly reducing runoff and overspray that are wasteful and can ruin wooden structures – such as your fence or the side of your house.
Grass is still OK!
Xeriscape garden does not have to look dry and desolate, and it doesn’t require the absolute absence of turf grass. We loves turf and use it frequently in moderation as in a ‘turf medallion’ in an arid-type garden, or as a focal point, a destination or a way to set off the plantings that surround it. Your landscape will still benefit from turf’s summer cooling properties and even more exciting, the sizeable water expense savings.
Also, you might highlight interesting architecture and use brightly painted yard art, urns, stones and plants with colorful flowers, foliage, fruit and bark to lend year-round intrigue to a Xeriscape.
For any questions about how you can produce a wonderful Xeriscaped landscape, give your landscape professional or nursery a call. They’ll spend the time to provide you with smart, affordable ideas on how you can transition your old-school yard into a stylish, sturdy outdoor environment designed for Nevada.