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In the arid Southwest, water is a precious resource. As landscapers and homeowners scramble to adopt practices that conserve this valuable resource, many are discovering the benefits of xeriscaping. Whether you have a large property or a small yard, you can create an eco-friendly landscape that reduces your water usage and maintenance costs. The key is making smart choices about plants, soils, and irrigation systems. While traditional landscaping may be what most people are accustomed to seeing, xeriscaping can be just as beautiful while using less water and requiring less maintenance. Here are some tips for integrating xeriscape principles into your own landscaping.
Select drought-resistant plants
Some plants are more drought-tolerant than others. However, even those that aren’t particularly drought-tolerant can survive with less water. The best way to select drought-resistant plants is to consult a reputable source and choose plants that are native to your region. You should also pay attention to the soil and sun requirements of the plants you choose, as well as their water usage. You can do this by checking the plant marker that the nursery puts on each plant. There are a few guidelines worth remembering when selecting drought-resistant plants. First, most plants that require minimal water are low water use perennials, cacti, succulents and native shrubs and trees. Annuals, non-native plants and vegetables require more water, so they are not ideal for xeriscaping. Second, some flowers require more water than others. Roses and tulips, for example, need lots of water and are not very drought-tolerant. Lastly, some plants are more drought-tolerant than others, but all plants need some water. If you live in an arid environment, you may need to water your plants several times a week if you aren't using native or desert-adapted plants.
Install a drip irrigation system
A drip irrigation system delivers water directly to the roots of your plants. Not only does this method conserve water, but it also delivers water where the plants need it most. Drip irrigation systems have been used in agriculture for decades, and they have gained popularity among landscapers as well. Drip systems can produce significant water savings. In fact, drip irrigation can reduce water use by as much as 50% compared to other watering systems. Drip systems are also easy to maintain, and they can be installed in both new and existing landscapes.
Incorporate soil amendments
While the healthiest plants are those that are adapted to your local environment, you can also help your plants thrive with soil amendments. For example, adding compost will improve your soil and make it more fertile. Soil amendments like compost and mulch can help plants survive hot and dry conditions by reducing water loss from the soil. To create drought-friendly soil, choose slow-release fertilizers rather than quick-release formulas that leach quickly into groundwater. Slow-release fertilizers will provide nutrients to your soil over a period of weeks or months instead of all at once. You can also add organic materials, like compost, which will retain water in the soil and reduce irrigation needs. Native desert plants generally don't need amendments. They do well in the native desert soil.
Drought-tolerant landscaping with rocks
Rocks add beauty and interest to any landscape, and they are an ideal way to create a drought-tolerant landscape. Rocks are among the most effective water-conserving landscaping choices. They also work well in deserts and other arid environments because they help to prevent erosion. Rocks can be used to build retaining walls, walkways, patio areas, and more. You can also incorporate rocks into your plantings. They are the ultimate no-maintenance landscape material.
Water is essential for all forms of life, and xeriscaping helps us to conserve this precious resource. With the tips discussed above, you can create a drought-tolerant landscape that conserves water and reduces your water bills. Whether you have a small yard or a large property, you can create an eco-friendly landscape that reduces your water usage and maintenance costs. The key is making smart choices about plants, soils, and irrigation systems. Call us at (520) 370-5697 if we can answer any of your landscaping questions or if you would like a free quote.