Article written by Tim Smith
Xeriscaping is a strategy of growing that requires the least amount of additional irrigation to sustain plants. It uses naturally occurring species that have adapted to the amounts of rainfall available in the region. Using these plants saves water for other uses and also helps to reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides used for gardening and landscaping.
The word “xeriscaping” comes from “xeros,” the Greek word for “dry.” Thus, xeriscaping provides a landscape for dry environments, with the most efficient use of water resources. Essentially, the concept encompasses the idea of water conservation through the careful use of creative landscaping. It includes using native plants that have adapted to the particular region, the use of stones and gravel to reduce water use and careful design to maximize the use of water flow on the property.
Pros of Xeriscaping Your Property
Any property can benefit from the use of xeriscaping principles with:
Cons of Xeriscaping Your Property
- Less water consumption – This result is of particular benefit in some areas of the country where water is scarce.
- Lower water bills – With the increasing price of water, many homeowners appreciate lower water bills that result from xeriscaping their property.
- Lower maintenance – Xeriscaped property needs less maintenance and allows you to spend more time enjoying your property and less time caring for it.
- Less need for pesticides and herbicides – Xeriscape plants have the natural ability to withstand local insect and weed invaders, so fewer chemicals are needed and less harm is done to the environment.
- More hospitable environment for birds and wildlife – Reduced use of chemicals makes a healthier environment for birds and other wildlife on your property.
- Increased property values – Xeriscaped properties mean less maintenance and a healthier environment, two significant factors in the value or your property.
Not all homeowners are excited by the xeriscape concept and voice a number of disadvantages:
- Xeriscaped properties require planning – Many homeowners dislike having the extensive planning required by xeriscaping and prefer a more free-form design.
- Plant selection is more limited – Restricting your choice to water-saving plants can feel too limiting for homeowners that are accustomed to great variety and large amounts of blooming flowers.
- Xeriscaping can be more expensive – Plants may be more costly than common varieties offered at nurseries and home improvement centers.
- Plants require more caution – Some xeriscaping plants like cactus and agave have sharp, serrated leaf edges that can be hazardous to children and pets.
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