Xeriscaping is a great way to save money on watering your lawn, especially if you use native plants
If your water bill’s getting a bit steep lately, one way to decrease it over the long-term is by xeriscaping your lawn. That is, landscape with dry-loving plants, so that you can save money simply by conserving water.
If you were wondering, “xeros” is the Greek word for “dry” (thus “Xerox”, which uses a dry ink method for photocopying). Make sense? It’s also why some people call drought-resistant landscaping “xerogardening.”
While you might think from the name that this concept applies only to arid regions, that’s not the case. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
Dry-loving plants not only use less water, they tend to require less insecticide and fertilizer, adding to the savings you can expect when you xeriscape.
Cacti and other spiky desert succulents usually come to mind when most people think of drought resistant plants. And in fact, those can be good choices, if you live in a warmer climate that usually gets a low to moderate amount of annual precipitation. However, such plants may not thrive where you live.
Fortunately, most regions support a wide variety of native drought resistant plants that you can turn to for your xeriscape. For more information about which native plants are appropriate for xeriscaping in your area, check with a garden center or your local county extension agent.
The Lawn Issue
It’s not quite as easy to find water-wise native lawn grasses as it is to find corresponding ornamentals or trees, so you might have to fall back on a standard drought resistant turf… unless you’d prefer to just spray-paint your lawn green, as some people have taken to doing recently.
If you prefer a true, living green that doesn’t require excessive watering or maintenance, there are lots of options. Popular drought resistant grasses include zoysia, St. Augustine, buffalo, bahia, fescues, centipede grass, wheat grasses, and Bermuda. Again, check with your extension agent for recommendations.
Another option is to use a drought resistant alternate groundcover instead of grass. Click here for some interesting possibilities.
The Xeriscape Transformation
Let’s be frank: if you decide to rip all your plants out at once and replace them with hardier varieties, you’re not going to see any savings for a long time. However, there’s no reason you can’t gradually phase in your xerogardening options a few plants at a time.
Add a rock garden here and a native ornamental there, and if you ever need to replace your lawn, install a water-wise turf grass. If you have an opportunity to start a lawn from the beginning, consider installing all dry-loving plants. Xeriscaping can save a lot of money in the long run — and time and effort, too.