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Mindful Gardening

Xeriscape: Ultimate Eco-Friendly Garden

August 16, 2017

Using soaker hoses or rain barrels is just one method for conserving water in your garden. Why not take it a step further by turning your outdoors space into a xeriscape oasis? It can definitely have a positive effect in the local community and the environment.

The term “xeriscape” comes from the Greek word “xeros” which means “dry” and the word “landscape.” This type of garden is designed to require little to no additional water other than rain, by using plants that are native to your area or can withstand dry climates.

Two decades ago, these gardens became popular in western states which experience dry weather and drought. However, with more people becoming concerned about the environment, the popularity of these gardens has spread. With xeriscapes gardeners can lower their water bill and help extended their community’s water supply. Native plants also require fewer pesticides, which due to run off, can contaminate rivers and lakes.

Creating a xeriscape requires some reflection and preplanning. When designing an outdoor space it’s important to know what purpose it will serve. Will it be a place to entertain? Will the kids use most of the space to play? Or is curb appeal the main objective? Analyzing the space is also important. By knowing how much sun, shade and moisture each zone in an outdoor space maintains the gardener will know the optimal positions for their plants.

Conditioning the soil is important for xeriscapes, since these dry climate plants have roots that dig deep to look for moisture during summer months. It requires examination and generous doses of compost. When it’s time to plant the shrubs and flowers, gardeners group the greenery in zones that fit the plants’ needs. For instance, resilient plants can be placed in areas with full day sun while the shade should be reserved for cooler plants.

Mulch is also a key feature for xeriscapes as it keeps the soil moist and cool, which lowers the need for additional water. Drip irrigation systems can be installed for those plants that require more than the occasional rain shower.

If you would like to learn more about xeriscapes, dry climate plants, and native turf check out these links from Landscaping Network and Conservation Center.

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