Tune up your green thumb

Tune up your green thumb

Spring is in full swing, which means that it’s the perfect time to break out your gardening gloves and get to planting. 

However, due to the coronavirus and social distancing rules, you may not be able to garden with your local gardening club or go to the greenhouse as often as you usually would. Thankfully, “social distance gardening” is a great way to get outdoors, relieve some stress and improve your overall mood. And you can help save water by utilizing an effective and creative way to landscape your garden called “xeriscaping.” 

But what exactly is xeriscaping? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, xeriscape is simply a landscaping method that is designed for areas that are susceptible to drought or for property owners that practice water conservation. The term comes from the Greek word Xēros, which means dry, so the term quite literally means dry landscape. 

But xeriscape landscaping is not simply limited to desert plants like cactuses and succulent plants. In fact, xeriscape landscaping is often practiced in non-desert climates. Rather, the practice allows gardeners to plant a wide variety of plants while using measures that will conserve water usage. The main benefits of practicing xeriscaping are conserving water, which will save you money, creating a minimal maintenance landscape and potentially saving your plants. 

Pot of dirt next to potting soil

It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced gardener or a beginner—anyone can practice xeriscape landscaping when creating a new garden space. Since Texas is a dryer state, xeriscaping is a great way to ensure that your plants stay healthy and alive while conserving one of Texas’ most valuable resources. By following these tips and carefully choosing which plants to grow in your yard, you can conserve water while creating a beautiful garden landscape.

The main ways to practice xeriscape landscaping are: 

-    Knowing what plants to grow and where to grow them
-    Reducing the amount of turf space, as a green lawn requires high amounts of water to maintain
-    Knowing how to organize your plants 
-    Creating an effective irrigation system
-    Adding more shade elements to reduce the need for additional water

By carefully selecting which plants to grow, you can keep the water use low on your property. The best plants to choose are plants that are native to your area and plants that don’t require a lot of water to survive, which are also referred to as “xeric” plants. Because native plants are already adapted to the local climate, planting them will consequently require less human-supplied water. 

Plants that are native to Texas can already withstand drought conditions, making them a perfect option for those who want to xeriscape. According to Native Land Design, there are a ton of beautiful native Texan plants that are aesthetically beautiful and require a low amount of water. Some native Texan plants include bat-faced cupheas, desert willows, Texas sage, sedum and trailing lantanas. To learn more about different native Texas plants to include in your xeriscape, click here. 

Fortunately, these plants can work in any area of your landscape. However, there are certain spots in your yard that will be more efficient to plant in than others. Low-traffic areas, plant beds and large turf areas are great locations for your drought-resistant plants. Avoid growing these plants near walkways or streets, as these areas often require more maintenance to avoid overgrown plants. 

To make good use of the water that you use for your plants, be sure to group plants that have similar water requirements together. By segregating plants that need more water from plants that need much less water, it will save your plants from over-watering or under-watering. 

By being conscious of what plants you grow and where you grow them, you can save money on your watering bill and conserve water, all while keeping a sustainable garden. For more tips on xeriscape gardening, click here.