What is xeriscape?
Xeriscape (pronounced ZEER-i-scape) is a water-efficient or water-wise approach to creating an attractive and sustainable landscape; based on seven sound gardening principles.
- Plan and design for water conservation, beauty and use from the beginning of the process.
- Limit turf areas to manageable sizes and shapes. Use appropriate grasses or turf alternatives.
- Improve the soil with compost or manure, if necessary. Most of our native plants do not require a lot of compost.
- Use low-water plants and group according to similar water needs. This is known as hydrozoning.
- Irrigate efficiently with well-designed systems. Apply the correct amount of water at the right time.
- Consider using mulches, such as wood chips, to reduce evaporation; especially in moderate and high water zones.
- Maintain your landscape appropriately – mow, weed, prune and fertilize properly.
Xeriscape: what it is NOT: (Jim Knoff, Landscape Architect from Boulder Colorado, corrects the following misconceptions)
- Xeriscape is NOT dry only. Even though dry-only landscaping can be very colorful and lush, limited areas of highly-watered landscape are completely consistent with wise water use, if the return justifies it.
- Xeriscape is NOT just rocks and gravel. Although dry (xeric) rock gardens can be marvelous, there are many other wonderful choices for the xeric portions of Xeriscape designs.
- Xeriscape is NOT necessarily lawnless landscaping. Some lawn area can be consistent with wise water use. Let’s call it “less-lawn landscaping”.
- Xeriscape is NOT about native plants only. Although there is a vast array of regional native plants to choose from, non-invasive introduced plants which are well adapted to our climate are great additions to waterwise landscaping.
- Colorado WaterWise
- Plant Select
- Colorado Native Plant Society Native Plants
- Colorado State University Extension Yard & Garden
- CSU Extension Native Plant Guide
- Waterwise Landscaping with Trees, Shrubs and Vines by Jim Knopf
- Xeriscape Flower Gardener by Jim Knopf
- Xeriscape Plant Guide by Denver Water