Xeriscaping: Creating Your Ecologically Beautiful Landscape
Xeriscaping is creating beautiful landscapes that do not eat up a lot of one of Mother Nature’s most precious resources – water. It is an environment-friendly way of combining not just water-tolerant plants and Utah decorative rocks, but also having a deeper understanding of how you can naturally meet the needs of your landscape and plants. You can also use Salt Lake City sand, as well as grasses, flowers and trees.
Xeriscaping is an ecologically sound landscape and provides the following benefits:
– Low water usage. Since the plants use water more efficiently, you can enjoy considerable savings on your water bills. When your xeriscape is well-planned and well-thought out, you can save as much as 50% on your water bills.
– Low fertilizer usage. Usually, plants used in a xeriscape require very little fertilizer.
– Low maintenance effort. Unlike regular landscapes that require regular maintenance – trimming, watering, mowing, pruning and disposal, xeriscaping makes use of slow-growing plants that need little maintenance
There are of Utah landscaping supplies that can meet your xeriscape landscaping plans. But it is important to draft a sound xeriscaping strategy for your lawn and garden.
– Making a site analysis. Central to the concept of xeriscaping is identifying how you can efficiently meet the needs of your plants. You can do this by:
- Analyzing the soil to determine what kind of plants will thrive in your lot and what nutrients are already in the soil.
- Identifying which parts of your garden have the most and least exposure to the sun. Consider that the sun will be in different positions throughout the day.
- Studying the pattern of rainfall in a given year.
- Determining zoning rules for your area. Your homeowner’s association may require certain amounts of lawn/garden size. Before you do any xeriscaping, make sure that these plans are up to par with the requirements in your area.
– Hydrozoning your plants. When you group your plants based on their need for water, the result is the more efficient delivery of this commodity. In Xeriscaping, there are three zones you should look into:
- The Arid zones, which have the highest exposure to sunlight, are located in areas where there is low traffic. The ideal plants for these areas would be those that are best for that natural habitat, or those that need very little water. These areas are far from structures, such as the house and thus don’t benefit from the shade it provides, as well as any water run-off from the rain. It is best to used drought-resistant plants that also love exposure to the sun.
- The Transition zones, which can use a combination of plants in the arid zone and those that need little moisture and maintenance.
- The Oasis zones, which affords you the use of “lush” plants. There are high-traffic areas (where people spend the most time) and are near large structures, as well as large trees. This is the most maintenance intensive area in your xeriscape. You can redirect rain run-off from your roof onto your plants to reduce the need for water considerably.
– Setting up your irrigation system. Part of planning your xeriscape includes planning an irrigation system. Whatever you chosen irrigation system, it should be placed where it will benefit your oasis zones, instead of water just running off and hydrating the weeds. You can consider micro-spray or drip systems. You can also take advantage of the elevation of the soil to direct water into your flower beds.
– Mulching in key areas. Utah mulch, placed in the right areas, will do much to minimize erosion and water evaporation, as it provides sufficient covering for the soil. It also minimizes the growth of weeds and adds aesthetic value to the landscape. It is best to use mulching material that enables the passage of oxygen and water so that these can penetrate into the roots of the plants. It is key to use the right kind of mulch in the various areas of your xeriscape. For instance, using balk mulch in areas that are steep can result in water wastage, since the rainwater will simply be washed away. Stone-based mulch is not advisable for areas that have a high exposure to the sun.
– Preparing the soil. When you determine your soil’s pH, it will help determine the most ideal kinds of plants to use. You can also give your soil a little help by loosening the soil and applying compost. Not only will this enrich the nutrients in the soil but also allow more water and air into the roots.
– Adding turf, where it is needed. Contrary to the popular misconception, you can use turf in your xeriscape. Turf can also provide a cooling effect to the environment and protect the soil from erosion. What xeriscaping encourages is the right placement of turf, where you can limit it in areas where it can be enjoyed the most, near your house where you can relax and where your children can play. In xeriscaping, turf is to be used as an accent. You also need to determine the right kind of turf for your location. There are plenty of grass that are low maintenance and need less water, such as Bermuda grass and buffalo grass.
– Using plants that require minimal water. Who says lush plants are those that hog water? There are a lot of plants that boast of brilliant color and beauty that you can use not just in the oasis zones, but also in the transition and arid zones. Rather than choosing exotics (which are not well-adapted to the surroundings), choose local plants.
– Maintaining your xeric landscape. Even though a xeriscape requires less maintenance, you still need to do so maintenance work, such as cleaning out dead and fallen leaves, getting rid of pests and weeds, ensuring that the plants are efficiently watered and preparing or making changes to the irrigation systems depending on the season.
Enjoy an ecologically sound landscape that also offers beauty you can enjoy the whole year through.
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