HOT TOPIC - Water Conservation: Benefits of converting to a xeriscape landscape!
If you live on the front range in Colorado, you have been hearing the rumbling talk of stricter watering restrictions and the motivation for converting your landscape to a more water conservative design. Cities like Aurora and Boulder are some of the first to take this initiative.
Some CSU studies show up to 50% of household water being used for lawn and garden purposes!
Look at updating your Irrigation Controller if it is more than 10-15 years old. Top quality controllers can last up to 20 years before issues are noticed. Newer models can help the system run more efficiently, and added rain sensors can benefit the system if enough rainfall has occurred within recent hours.
Converting hard to water areas, step slopes, and narrow patches to xeriscape or low maintenance ground cover is a better alternative to grass that needs constant water from spring to fall. Sloped areas of the yard can also have a lot of surface runoff from your irrigation system which reduces the amount actually absorbed into the grass you are attempting to water, resulting in over watering needs and an increased monthly water bill.
Xeriscaping doesn’t mean non-functional, it just means more drought tolerant while still catering to the family household needs. Conserving on water by using products that mimic natural landscapes (i.e.. artificial turf), too implementing xeriscape plants such as succulents, hardy shrubbery, and conifers which in nature after establishment are less “thirsty” of species.
Help control and place water only where it is needed in the landscape can certainly help cut down on watering consumption. Over spraying of sprinkler heads into rock beds, onto driveways or sidewalks, or just older model sprinkler nozzles can all be an advocate for higher water consumption throughout the growing seasons. Simple updates to your current irrigation system can make a large difference in your monthly water bill.
When planting your new xeriscape plants ensure you are not mixing plants with different watering needs in the same area. Group plants together that have similar water needs to ensure that each plant is getting efficient watering requirements.
Using low-pressure drip lines can help conserve and distribute the water effectively and efficiently throughout your landscape.
Materials That Classify as Xeriscape Products:
Decorative Rock & Boulders
Crusher Fines/ Breeze
Outdoor Living (i.e.. Paver/Porcelain/ Concrete Patios & Walkways)
Driveways (i.e.. Pavers or Concrete)
Retaining and/or Terrace Walls
Tips for Good Planting For Xeriscaping
Succulents, Grasses, Shrubbery, & Conifers (talk with you landscaper or local nursery for a good list for your climate zone)
For the first year of planting and natural rooting process, cover the root ball of the plant in a moisture retaining mulch (we like Washington Cedar/Gorilla Hair). Little watering might be required for root establishment in the first year. Hand watering or a dripline can be used to achieve desired watering needs.
Create a balance using these materials in the given space you are desiring to transform to a xeriscape. Give the space a sense of character and invite guests to stay and hangout in each area of your yard.
With careful plant selection and placement a proper xeriscape will save you time in maintenance and money on reduced watering all while still creating a curb appeal that will have all the neighbors talking and buzzing!
Don’t be afraid to play with decorative rock, boulders, and mulch varieties. By carefully blending these materials you can create a xeriscape that is truly unique.
Dry river creek beds are a great chance to divide sections of the space and/or retain and direct surface water in that area. This is a perfect opportunity to tie in home downspout systems for adequate and proper water drainage and flow as well.
Place larger 1’-3’ size boulders along the creek bed edge, space them out with just a few clustered together (PRO TIP: Use 1-2 types of boulders for enriched appearance and curb appeal)
Use Decorative Rock Cobble Sizes of 2”-12” along the creek bed edge from boulder to boulder sections. Try to keep this cobble from rolling to the bottom/ middle of the creek bed, only along the creek bed edge.
Fill the center belly of the creek bed with an angular or cobble decorative rock ¾”-1½”.
For additional curb appeal use some larger boulders/rip-rap/ or sloan stones in different sections of the creek bed to create drops in the center of the creek bed belly. When properly constructed this gives the resemblance of small tiered natural water falls. (PRO TIP: Use different variants of rock to create ledges, small or large in height and depth. General waterfall height in our creek beds are 6”-12”.)
Raised planter berms provide opportunities to create natural privacy and shading while giving the xeriscape dimension in its design. Most of the berms we construct vary in length and after finished compaction and set materials are between 14”-18” in height. Use a clean fill dirt to construct your berms and be sure to compact in lifts as you add your fill dirt to the berm (PRO TIP: Use a machine to move larger amounts of fill dirt at once, this will also help you shape the berm. In lifts run the machine tracks or tires back and forth the length of the berm to help compact your fill). Once close to desired finish height use a plate compactor to shape and contour the berm to your specifications.
Some well placed 1’-3’ boulders can give the berm character and help retain fill dirt when adding to desired height.
Mulch is a great material when considering what to cover your berm in once complete.
Be sure to fill in the newly constructed berm with xeriscape friendly plants! (PRO TIP: A few conifers can make this space resemble a mountainscape scene.)
Reduced Monthly Water Bills, Little - NO Monthly Maintenance Services Required, and Hassle Free Landscape!
Functional and water conscious.
ECO FRIENDLY: By converting your outdoor areas to more xeriscape friendly designs you will cut down on the need to use gas-powered machines; in the long run becoming more environmentally friendly and decreasing your carbon footprint!
With a quality installed and maintained xeriscape this can increase your property value significantly by improving the curb appeal at first sight to potential new home buyers.
Basic Design Idea
Berm Design Idea
Creek Bed Design Idea