With freshwater accessibility becoming more expensive and climate change making the differences in climates more extreme, xeriscaping has become an interesting option for your outdoor space.
So, is xeriscaping worth it for your land? It is, if you want to save money and water, plus if you want to be environmentally friendly overall. This is especially true if you live in an area with dry climate, since xeriscaping mimics the landscape found in these areas.
Xeriscaping is gaining popularity in most dry regions that lack access to reliable supplies of freshwater. When done right, xeriscaping makes for a good gardening investment. Below we’ll take you through the ins and outs of xeriscaping.
Is Xeriscaping for You?
Xeriscaping may be for you if you find yourself affected by droughts and dryness in your area.
Listed below are two of the many benefits that xeriscaping offers.
Water Conservation & Saving
In most residential areas, over 50 percent of water is used for lawns, landscaping, and gardening. According to records, xeriscaping may reduce water usage by up to 50 percent. And if done really well, xeriscaping may even save you 75 percent on water. So the first and most well-known benefit of xeriscaping is that it reduces your land’s water use.
Officials in Novato California offered their residents lowered water bill incentives to have their lawns xeriscaped. According to this National Geographic study, Novato’s water department estimates that those who had xeriscaping done on their lawns saved up to 120 gallons of water a day.
Xeriscaping is perfect for areas stricken by drought or that have very little water. The type of grass xeriscaping uses can survive with just a quarter of the amount of water that most varieties of grass needs. The less you depend on water for your land, the better off you will be.
Low Maintenance & Efficient Irrigation
Xeriscaping employs efficient irrigation methods. A xeriscaped land requires less maintenance than most landscaped areas. Xeriscaping frees you from the tasks of mowing the lawn, adding fertilizer, and other such gardening chores. Weeding and pruning are probably the only tasks that you will have to get hands-on with on a xeriscaped lawn.
Maintenance is not hard because you’re focused on planting greens that thrive naturally in that environment. Growing and grouping together plant life with similar water requirements also offer more efficient irrigation.
Maintaining and trying to make a garden and land look neat can be time-consuming. And mowing can be a tiresome task, especially during the rainy seasons, as this means you’ll have to mow the grass more often. And if it doesn’t rain, you have to proactively work to keep your grass alive. This is why many owners view the low maintenance part as xeriscaping’s main benefit.
Difference Between a Normal Lawn and a Xeriscaped Lawn
Traditional grass lawns look classic, lush, and good in a lot of homes. However, there are significant downsides to this type of lawn when compared to a xeriscaped lawn.
A traditional lawn is cheaper to install all around and requires minimal planning and labor. And generally, a normal lawn costs less to install. But one of the biggest downsides for a traditional lawn is the maintenance it requires. The maintenance for normal lawns far exceeds the maintenance needed for a xeriscaped lawn.
Traditional lawns also need greater amounts of water to keep thriving. And lastly, a traditional lawn may not grow well or even have grass at all during some parts of the year depending on the region’s climate
Environmental & Economical Benefits of Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is built upon the following seven key factors for water-wise landscaping:
- Plan & Design
- Soil Improvement
- Efficient Irrigation
- Appropriate Plant Selection
- Use of Mulch
- Limiting Turf Areas
- Proper Maintenance
These key factors may apply to multiple areas and serve as a guide for designing and planning a water-efficient and environmentally friendly landscape. These factors allow you to save water while keeping your landscape attractive.
Here are some more of the environmental benefits that xeriscaping offers:
Creates a healthy environment and reduces the need for pesticides
Global warming has been a huge problematic discussion almost everywhere. What many need to realize is, Xeriscaping is an important way to offset the drought effects of this climate change concern. Perhaps the most significant environmental benefit of xeriscaping is that it is perfectly suitable for use in drought-stricken areas.
Xeriscaping uses a variety of trees and plants that are resistant to droughts like cacti, myrtles, and daffodils. Xeriscaping uses them instead of grass and other non-native plants or flowers. These types of drought-resistant plants that are adapted to arid climates are called xerophytes. And the good news is that xerophyte plants may still provide green foliage and rich, colorful blooms.
Because xeriscaping uses native plants, they are less susceptible to pests. This reduces or eliminates the need to use toxic chemicals to control pests.
Preserves the native plants
Often, people disregard their native and indigenous plants and choose plants that don’t thrive well in their environment. Generally, xeriscape designs focus on using native plants.
But there is also the consideration of using those that come from similar environments and would have the best chance of thriving in the landscape being considered. These types of plants thrive well throughout the year without requiring much care.
Decreases air pollution and noise pollution
Gas-powered mowers, blowers, and weed trimmers contribute to air pollution in the environment. And the noises these equipment make aren’t pleasing to the ears. Xeriscaping an area of land helps reduce pollution by minimizing, if not eliminating, the need for these types of gardening equipment.
Saves landfill space
Grass clippings and other such stuff create waste for landfills. But with a xeriscaped lawn, you would have no green waste anymore to contribute to these landfills.
Provides natural habitat for local wildlife
Native plants and vegetation offer a familiar habitat for the local wildlife in your area. Much of the local wildlife depend on native vegetation for food and nourishment. And the native plants need the local wildlife for pollination and spreading of seeds.
When you xeriscape your lawn with native plants, it allows you to reap the benefits from all the local insects and birds in your area.
Other Pros and Cons of Having Your Land Xeriscaped
Xeriscaping is a creative and intelligent way of adapting to the ever-changing climate. Here are plenty more advantages of xeriscaping:
When designed and planned carefully, a xeriscaped landscape may look beautifully unique. Xeriscaping offers a limitless amount of design plans, which may look more aesthetically pleasing than most normal gardens.
Though xeriscaping is most common in drier areas, xeriscaping can work almost anywhere on the globe. You don’t always need to xeriscape your whole land. You can start off by xeriscaping a small portion of your garden. This gives you the freedom to experiment with it and see how well xeriscaping works for you.
Increasing property value
A well-xeriscaped property can increase in value quite significantly. Which may make the increase in property value outweigh the cost of xeriscaping.
A normal garden needs maintenance every week and fertilizing every month. And all other gardening things need regular maintenance. But a xeriscaped garden frees you from these usual mundane tasks giving you plenty of other free time.
One of the big advantages of a xeriscaped lawn is that it does not need regular mowing. Taking care of a lawn can be very time-consuming. So if you’re tired of mowing, xeriscaping would be best for you.
Xeriscaping uses types of grass that grow slowly and grow at a maximum height that needs no mowing. Some types of grass used for xeriscaping are buffalograss and mondo grass.
There are also disadvantages to be considered when considering xeriscaping:
Rougher vegetation and soil
This may be the biggest disadvantage of xeriscaping. Most of the vegetation used is rough and has sharp thorns. The ground is also generally rougher since the materials that efficiently retain water are rougher.
May not support native ecosystem
You need to select plants that focus on water conservation when xeriscaping. This, however, doesn’t always support the local ecosystem. Not all native flora is drought resistant, but most native plants contribute to its ecosystem.
Spending significant time and money at first
While it’s true that it saves you time and money in due time, xeriscaping may prove a very big job from the onset. Changing your landscape is not an easy or cheap job. So, it may cause stress for some going through the process at the start.
Xeriscaping must be planned, done, and designed carefully and intricately. Design mistakes may affect your land for a very long time. When done badly, it may cost you more money since you’ll have to employ the help of a landscape specialist.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to xeriscaping, but overall it may still make life for you easier and more comfortable.
Xeriscaping’s Hardscape Advantages
Hardscaping is one of the things that xeriscaping utilizes well. Anyone can create an aesthetically good-looking landscape without having to fill the entire land with plants and flowers. Building some paved areas and hardscaping can add an interesting and elegant design to your area. Hardscapes are decks, patios, and other such gravel areas.
Here are more things that make a xeriscape and hardscaping worth the investment:
Hardscaping requires very little maintenance. Once you’ve designed and built it, it’ll be like that for years to come. It requires no mowing, watering, pruning, and other regular maintenance necessities.
By hardscaping your land, you can save yourself lots of time. Flowers and plants will eventually wither after some time, but hardscaping allows things to stay the same for a very long time. Hardscaping will also cost less in the long run.
Hardscaping is also one of the reasons why a xeriscaped land is so water efficient. Softscaping generally requires and wastes a lot of water for maintenance, while hardscaping allows you to go water-free on some parts of your land. Think about the amount of water it’ll save you when you have a hardscaped lawn.
Reduce The Chances of Erosion
When done right, hardscaping reduces potential erosion. If you strategically place stone or concrete barriers in areas to prevent erosion, you can be assured that your ground stays intact for years and years.
Hardscaping frees you from worrying about the negative effects of heavy rains and storms on your garden. Instead, the rains will wash away all the debris and clean your xeriscaped area. Such an added benefit would definitely be a plus!
Extends Your Usable Space
This gives you plenty more space for entertainment, increasing your home’s outdoor area. By extending your outdoor area, you add several varieties of possibilities to what you can do on your property.
Increases The Property’s Market Value
As xeriscaping significantly adds value to your property, even more so does hardscaping. Hardscaping extends the usable square footage of your property. This is why a large percentage of buyers look for a home with proper hardscaping.
Taking advantage of your outdoor area does not always have to be expensive or time-consuming. Hardscaping can be cost effective and easy. It is a good investment that is beneficial for the environment and also helps raise your home’s overall value.
How Much Xeriscaping Costs
Xeriscaping costs vary depending on a number of factors. Below are a few of the factors that may impact xeriscaping costs.
Hardscapes are generally more expensive than softscapes or plants. Though hardscapes may cost more it will not need much maintenance, so over time, it will save you money.
2. Specialized Irrigation
Advanced irrigation systems may cost more to install but because of their smart features, they may garner lots of savings over time.
3. Customized Additions
Installing systems that collect rainwater for use may cost a bit. But this is a good investment that may help you save lots on your water bill.
Overall xeriscaping may cost between $10,000 to $30,000 USD. While it is more expensive than other options, the low maintenance and water-saving designs help make it a good investment in the long run.
Xeriscaping on a Budget
If you’re not too keen on spending a whole lot on xeriscaping there are a few ways you can save on xeriscaping if you’re on a tight budget.
Why not plant the garden and design it yourself. This may save you a lot of money. Remember to do your research so you won’t make any bad mistakes during planting.
You could also get a pre-planned Garden-In-A-Box. These boxes are a great way of xeriscaping your yard without spending too much. It is an in-between situation that could work for you.
Buy smaller plants
Instead of buying full-grown plants you can collect and buy seeds, which are usually cheaper. Check stores for more common options and start from the seed.
You will not have a beautiful garden from day one, but you will manage to have the same plants for much less. You will have to wait a bit to see it fully grown, though. Patience saves you money.
Why not grab some free seeds from your neighbors or family. Plants can be grown from clippings so keep your eye out and look for some cheap options.
Make the mulch yourself
Find someone with a shredder or mulcher and make your own mulch. Leaves and small clippings make for good mulch.
Minimize hardscaping costs
If you’ve already got hardscaping, like flagstone and boulders in your area, then that’ll save you a lot. Make your own hardscape design by adding small tiles and marbles. Look for cheaper alternatives for pathways, like gravel and woodchips. Using a fast-setting concrete would also be a good option.
Using the natural hardscape in your area adds to its naturalistic look. It also means you spend less when you utilize the rocks, wood, seashells, and whatever else is available in your area. These hardscape materials are meant to fill spaces and draw attention to the beauty of your lawn. Unlock your creative side and look for pieces that you could use to spice up the look of your xeriscaped garden.
Also, remember that it may not always be cheaper when you DIY everything. So compare prices and get quotes from a few services and see if it’s worth doing yourself or not.
Xeriscaping is sustainable into the future and is a good investment for several reasons. A xeriscaped property does not have to look dry and barren. There is plenty of drought resisting native plants that may add lush color and delightful scenery in a xeriscaped garden.
Whichever way you go make sure to consider and plan it carefully in order for you to make the most out of your xeriscaping job. With xeriscaping, you can contribute to saving the environment, whilst significantly saving on money and time.