Xeriscape for a Water-Efficient Garden

This approach to landscaping is environmentally friendly.

| May/June 1999

  • Silver Sage Artemisia
  • Catmint
  • Sunray Coreopsis

  • Jupiter’s Beard
    Courtesy of High Country Gardens
  • Meadow Sages

“There are somewhere between thirty and fifty thousand pesticide formulations available today. Perhaps 10 percent of them have had some sort of safety assessment done on them.”
—From Building a Healthy Lawn: A Safe and Natural Approach By Stuart Franklin, Storey Communication, 1988. 

The Xeriscape, or water-efficient, approach to landscaping offers so many outstanding benefits over traditional highly watered landscaping that it is surprising it hasn’t emerged as the most common form of landscape design. The extraordinary savings in water alone are so significant, both to individual property owners and to municipalities trying to keep up with water demand, that water-wise landscaping is commanding increasing consideration as a relevant part of water supply planning. In addition, the potential saving in initial landscape construction, as well as in ongoing maintenance, is substantial.

The Xeriscape approach to land­scaping is truly a good-news story. As Doug Welsh, president of the National Xeriscape Council, states, “Xeriscape is an opportunity to take a proactive stance and exhibit a true stewardship approach to the most precious of natural resources. It is a ‘win-win’ situation. Everyone wins: The water agency does its job of efficiently using its resources; the landscape professionals help to bring beauty to the community and ensure their livelihood; the gardener gets a quality landscape that requires less water, less maintenance, and ultimately less dollars; and the educator receives satisfaction by being a facilitator in the entire orchestration of Xeriscape programs.”

Xeriscape Fundamentals 

The seven Xeriscape fundamentals provide a quick idea of how water-efficient landscaping is able to provide so many advantages over traditional landscaping.

1. Plan and design comprehensively from the beginning.

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