It's a Natural: Conservation Landscaping

A Beautiful Way to Preserve Our Most Precious Natural Resource

Flower BedThe homeowners are embracing conservation landscaping, or Xeriscape™, with a passion. The latest trend in landscape design combines the practicality of water conservation with the creative beauty of conventional landscaping.

Conservation landscaping uses the same basic principles used since the beginning of time by the grand master herself - Mother Nature. Borrowing liberally from her landscape plan, conservation landscaping groups plants into separate areas of the landscape according to their various water needs. The result is a significant reduction in the amount of water needed for plants to thrive.

Substantially reducing the amount of water used to support a landscape design does not mean diminishing its beauty. Homeowners around the country are discovering that conservation landscaping is not just rocks and cactus! Conservation landscaping allows the creation of any style or image desired - from formal backyard gardens replete with fountains and clipped hedges to lush, domestic wildernesses using native flowers, shrubs, and grasses. Conservation landscaping does not dictate style - you do!

Conserving our precious natural resources is a shared responsibility. The economic use of water is a good way to grow a healthy garden while saving money and time. A water-saving landscape not only enhances the beauty of your property, it also increases the selling potential and value of your home.

Planning is the most important aspect of successful conservation landscaping

Begin by envisioning how you want your yard to look:

Plant selection and placement are key elements of conservation landscaping. The use of low water-use plants can be used if they are grouped together and watered together by area.

Full irrigation areas
These areas are usually expanses of grass. Grass needs more water than other plants and should be placed only in areas that get a lot of use or are highly visible.

Moderate irrigation areas
Plants and shrubs in these areas take advantage of some natural runoff from downspouts, driveways, and patios. For instance, an entryway using groundcovers and low or moderate water-use shrubs will require little watering.

Low irrigation areas
Border areas containing low or moderate water-demanding flowers, shrubs, and trees provide the greatest water savings. Bubble or drip irrigation applies water directly to individual plants via small tubing or emitters. Drip irrigation saves water because only the plant's root receives water. Very little is lost to evaporation

85% off all landscape problems are directly related to overwatering. A properly designed and operated irrigation system can reduce water use by 20 percent or more each year.

You can enhance your landscape by following these water-saving design suggestions:

You can begin making landscape changes as soon as your design is complete, or as seasons allow. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, nor n a one-year budget! Take time to enjoy your project and avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes.

If you would like more information about conservation landscaping, contact your local water provider, landscape architect, or garden shop.

Xeriscape™ is the registered trademark of the National Xeriscape Council, Inc.