Home Home & Garden Xeriscape Gardening within the Mountain West – FineGardening

Xeriscape Gardening within the Mountain West – FineGardening


In the event you’ve lived within the Mountain West for any time period, you realize the significance of water. All through our winters, we watch snowpack totals accumulate in our mountains, and through summer season we eagerly await the monsoons; this impacts drought circumstances. These drought circumstances in flip influence our pure surroundings and residential landscapes. An infinite quantity of potable water is used to irrigate these landscapes in our semi-arid local weather, so it’s no surprise that many people have transitioned our gardens to xeriscapes.

What’s xeriscaping?

The authors of Xeriscape Colorado describe xeriscaping as “purposefully creating a fantastic, restful outside surroundings with out consuming hundreds of gallons of expensively purified water within the course of.” In brief, xeriscapes require little to no irrigation to keep up. Nonetheless, xeriscape gardens could be far more than simply collections of junipers (Juniperus spp. and cvs., Zones 2–9), rocks, and cacti. They are often lush, stuffed with shade, and even embody small lawns.

placing plants
Xeric vegetation and planting kinds could be blended with rock gardening hardscaping, however not all xeric vegetation thrive in rocky soils. Photograph: Michelle Provaznik

Isn’t that simply rock gardening?

There may be positively some overlap between xeriscaping and rock gardening, however xeriscape is extra of an general idea and philosophy to create a water-wise panorama. Rock gardens are a specific sort of gardening fashion that includes berms, rocks, and boulders of assorted sizes, and plant materials that thrives in these circumstances. Xeriscape gardens and landscapes can embody rock gardens. Rock gardens could also be xeric, however not essentially so—it might depend on the plant materials chosen.

7 key ideas of xeriscaping

How would you go about incorporating this planting fashion into your backyard? There are a couple of key ideas to bear in mind.

1. Planning and design. Decide how a lot time you need to spend sustaining the backyard and the way you’ll use the panorama. Subsequent, create a base map of your panorama, which might be your template for creating zones in your backyard. These zones could be composed of hardscaping, flower beds, greens, garden, or different parts.

2. Enhancing the soil. You’ll be able to at all times get a soil take a look at executed, however on the very least incorporate a number of inches of compost or different natural matter. Faster plant development and exquisite blooms might be your reward. It is very important be aware that a few of our native and desert vegetation desire gravelly soils over compost-rich soils. Be aware of this when selecting your vegetation.

removing sod
Rethink your conventional garden to avoid wasting water and cut back upkeep. There are a lot of lawn-alternative seed mixtures in the marketplace that match totally different wants and existence. Photograph: Michelle Provaznik

3. Sensible turf areas. Watering grass requires a lot of the water utilized in landscapes. Contemplate if a patio can be extra helpful than a turf space or how massive a yard your kids actually need. You might also need to have a look at nontraditional turf choices corresponding to buffalo grass or blue grama. These choices require much less water than conventional turf however usually can’t take heavy foot visitors.

4. Deciding on applicable vegetation for every location. There are a lot of stunning xeric vegetation to select from so to have shade all season. See the tip of this text for suggestions. Keep in mind to group vegetation collectively which have related water and light-weight necessities. Put vegetation that want extra water in low-lying areas or close to a downspout, and put people who love sizzling, dry areas in sizzling, dry places in your backyard.

tools for drip irrigation
Drip irrigation is a good way to ship water the place you want it to go with out extra runoff and evaporation. Photograph: Michelle Provanik

5. Watering effectively. Contemplate changing your planting mattress to drip irrigation to water extra effectively by placing the water instantly within the root zone of every plant. Group vegetation in accordance with water wants.

6. Mulch. Mulch helps forestall weeds and minimizes water loss resulting from evaporation. Wooden mulch ought to be utilized 2 to 4 inches deep, and small rock or pea gravel could be utilized 2 to three inches deep. Once more, some vegetation desire mulch or rock and vice versa, so bear in mind.

7. Upkeep. A correctly maintained backyard helps maintain the panorama stunning and wholesome.

For xeric plant suggestions, learn on right here:

To study extra about xeriscaping, take a look at these organizations, xeriscape gardens, and different assets:

—Michelle Provaznik is government director of the Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado.