“Xeriscape” has been a word we all hear and are familiar with in the drought-ridden west for years, however as we are seeing drier and drier summers it’s more important than ever to replace grass lawns with drought-tolerant plants and xeric gardens.
What are drought-resistant plants and xeriscape gardens? Read more below to understand Xeriscaping and the benefits it can have on your garden in Colorado’s drought climate.
Now, as we face summers that are getting drier and hotter in Colorado, it’s becoming more important than ever to buckle down on replacing water-hungry grass lawns with drought-tolerant plants and xeric gardens. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to replace their grass with low-water xeric gardens, so we’ve put together this simple strategy
First, assess your current garden and sun and water zones (otherwise known as hydro zones)
1) Observe your yard and designate sun and water zones (a.k.a. hydro zones) step-by-step guide for xeriscaping in Colorado.
As you map your garden (drawing by zone and sunny vs. shade areas) ask yourself:
Which areas of your garden receive FULL sun? Partial sun and FULL SHADE during the growing season
Learn about the best drought tolerant plants for Colorado. We have a blog post where we share some of the best drought-tolerant plants for Colorado. Read more here.
Some plants that we highly recommend both because they require very little water AND because they add some beautiful color and texture to your garden are below:
Hot Wings Tatarian Maple:
These are offered in multi-stem or single-stem and blossom with beautiful bright red samaras [seeds] throughout the summer.
This has attractive bark which provides red fruit in fall, white flowers in spring, golden fall foliage and stays relatively small. This is another great tree option to help Update Your Landscape to Save Money.
Spreading groundcover with foliage that persists through the winter, flowers and berries in summer and fall.
Mini Man Viburnum:
Stays a little smaller than typical Korean spice Viburnum sharing fragrant white flowers in spring which turn to small fruits in fall. In the fall this has red foliage. A perk of Mini Man Viburnum is its very low water needs and that it holds up well in the heat. Definitely, a plant to consider when you update your Landscape to save money and reduce overall watering needs.
Undaunted Ruby Muhly Grass:
This plant has grey-green mounds of grass-topped with clouds of ruby/pink flowers. It’s another great plant that requires very little water.
Iceplant offers a huge variety of colors available and its groundcover explodes with bloom. Iceplant thrives in the sun and requires little water.
What we love about the Coneflower is the variety of colors and the high-rising flowers. Coneflower will do well in heat and another benefit of this plant is that it’s great to attract pollinators
These are lower to the ground but provide a wide variety of foliage. It’s available in many colors including dark purple to red/orange to green. They are quite pretty with spikes of flowers rise from them in late spring. They do best in shady spots.
Third, it’s important to remember that keeping water needs at their LOWEST possible is key to xeriscaping. As a result, compost is KEY!
Compost should be added at least once a year on top of the root zone of your plants. At least two inches of it will enrich the soil, whether sand or clay. In addition to aiding water retention, compost supplies plenty of nutrients for plants to thrive and improves rooting conditions. In addition to compost, mulch on top of compost will keep water-sapping weeds under control. A couple of inches of shredded bark can make weeding easier and helps you further hold moisture in the root zone of the desired plants (requiring less water). LID Landscapes offers mulching and composts services to reach out to our team here for us to take care of all of your mulching needs.
Also, avoid a runoff by keeping slopes terraced and using drip irrigation to deliver exact quantities of water to specific plant material without over-watering the surrounding area. Drip irrigation provides the most efficient use of water of any irrigation system allowing you to adjust water quantities for plants in different hydro zones to get the most out of your water while maintaining your plants’ health.
Hopefully, you found our tips for xeriscaping helpful. If you’d like to learn more or speak to a member of LID Landscapes for any of your Landscaping needs please contact us online here.