Lush landscapes demand a lot of time and water. Unfortunately, modern homeowners are finding it more and more difficult to find either of these limited resources. But there is some good news. It’s possible to have a beautiful, no-fuss landscape that doesn’t cause a spike in your water bill. Here’s how you can use xeriscaping and other low-maintenance landscaping strategies to create a gorgeous lawn that won’t take all your time.
The Basics of Xeriscaping
The term xeriscape refers to any sort of landscaping that demands very little water. It is generally comprised of drought-resistant species of grass and plants that can survive and thrive in regions that don’t get a lot of rainfall. Xeriscaping is also becoming increasingly popular among homeowners who don’t have the time to nurture elaborate, thirsty lawns and gardens. It’s also becoming trendy in cities that have strict conservation regulations that make routine irrigation difficult or impossible.
Able to support exotic plant life from South Africa, the Middle East and Australia, xeriscaping is an intriguing option for American homeowners who want uniquely compelling landscapes that require little upkeep and few resources. Creating an efficiently designed xeriscape space isn’t too hard, but it’s important to know the fundamental basics to make sure your plants won’t wither and die.
Use Local Plants
Xeriscapes tend to flourish best when they include grasses that are native to the region. These would be plants that have evolved to grow in the existing climate without the need for supplemental watering. Shrubs, prairie grasses, succulents and small-leafed plants are all good drought-resistant choices. That said, your options will depend on your specific climate and region.
If you aren’t sure which kinds of grass to choose for your particular climate, buffalo and Bermuda grass are good drought-resistant options that have the ability to naturally reseed themselves. If you are starting out from scratch, you will likely have to remove your existing grass first.
Unless you have a lot of time and know-how, it’s generally best to outsource this kind of job to a reputable landscaping company. It’s also important to know that drought-resistant plants won’t survive in rainy areas. A professional landscaper can help you choose the right plants, so you don’t end up with a lot of dead vegetation or have to work overtime to keep your plants alive.
Use Lots of Mulch
When it comes to low-maintenance landscaping, mulch is a lifesaver. In addition to being attractive, the material helps prevent weed growth and soil erosion. It also helps control soil temperatures while reducing water loss due to excessive evaporation. Gravel and rocks are nice mulching options in arid climates because they provide very good drainage, which helps water easily reach underlying plant roots. Wood chips and rubber mulch are also suitable options. Whatever the case, if you want to take the headache out of your landscape, mulch is a must-have unless you want to spend your whole summer weeding and watering.
Have a Good Plan
The most effective xeriscaping strategies blend a diversity of plants with different requirements. Before planting anything, evaluate your lawn at different times of the day to see which spots get the most and least amount of sunlight. You should then separate your landscape into different microclimates.
Microclimates refer to smaller areas within greater landscapes that create subtly warmer or cooler temperatures. While shade will create a cooler microclimate, it’s important to remember that rocks will usually hold onto more heat and help keep vegetation warmer. They also provide some extra light, especially if the rocks are white, because the sun will reflect off lighter-colored surfaces. Boulders also provide a windbreak for plants, causing them to stay wetter and warmer. All of these details help to determine exactly what type of plants you should add to specific areas to minimize the need for maintenance.
If you’re not sure where to start, a professional landscaper can help section your landscape into arid, oasis and transition zones. They will then add the thirstiest plants to your oasis zone and the most drought-resistant plants to the arid zone. The transition zone will carefully combine a drier environment with the more lush vegetation established in your oasis zone.
Even drought-resistant plants require a regular supply of H20. If you’re juggling a busy schedule, you will usually have better success with a low-maintenance drip irrigation system. These setups use low-pressure delivery methods to ensure better water retention by forcing moisture deeper into the soil, where it’s more accessible to plant roots. While it comes at a larger upfront investment, drip irrigation systems are quite efficient and can save you more time and money in the long run.
However you go about it, low-maintenance landscaping is a great way to improve the aesthetic of your outdoor living space. Even if you prefer to tend to your own yard, it’s nice to know you have a manageable setup. While an elaborate landscape can be hard to manage during the hot, dry summer months, a low-maintenance landscape allows you to work and vacation without having to sacrifice your plants.
With all that said, it’s very important to have your system properly installed by a professional landscaping service. As too many homeowners learn the hard way, an improperly placed irrigation system can cause your plants to struggle or die, resulting in a dry, desiccated landscape and hundreds to thousands of dollars in wasted costs.
The right setup makes all the difference, allowing you to have a gorgeous outdoor setting that requires less water and only moderate attention. It helps to get input from local Colorado professionals who know how to select beautiful plants and grass that will flourish in Colorado’s harsh, unpredictable climate.
At RMPS Landscaping, we provide a diverse variety of landscaping services, from stonework and plants sod, hardscaping, trees and full-scale landscape renovations. Our skilled experts will collaborate with you to learn your preferences and develop a strategy that meets your needs. Contact our knowledgeable experts to find out how we can help bring your boldest vision into the real world.