Xeriscape is a word coined in 1981 by an environmental planner for the Denver Water Department. The term is based on the Greek work "xeri" for dry, needing little water and embodies the principles of water conservation through creative landscaping. The principals of xeriscape are:
* Planning and Design. A planned
design takes into account the climatic conditions of the site, existing
vegetation, and topographical conditions, the intended use and desires
of the occupant, and the grouping of plants by water needs. It should
also allow for landscaping to be done in phases.
* Limit Turf Areas. Turf should not be treated as a fill in material but rather as a major planned element of the Xeriscape landscape. Reducing turf can result in a significant reduction in water use. The use of native grasses and drought-tolerant alternatives to blue grass will reduce irrigation requirements.
* Efficient Irrigation. Water only when plants need water. The use of soaker hoses and drip irrigation to water deeply encourages root growth resulting in a healthier and more drought tolerant landscape.
* Soil Improvement. Soil amendments can enhance the health and growing capabilities of the landscape by improving water drainage, moisture penetration and a soil's water holding capacity. This is probably the most important step for a homeowner in our area.
* Use of Mulches. Mulches that are applied and maintained at appropriate depths will assist soils in retaining moisture, reduce weed growth, and prevent erosion.
* Appropriate Plant Selection. Plant selection should be based on the adaptability of the plant to the landscape area and drought-tolerance. Native plants are Xeriscape plants, since they do not require supplemental watering after their establishment period.
* Appropriate Maintenance. Proper landscape and irrigation maintenance will enhance your landscape and help to reduce your overall costs and time. A Xeriscape landscape also uses less water, less fertilizer, pesticides and other chemicals.
For more information please visit http://www.xeriscape.org