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Parks, Recreation, & Culture » healthy landscapes, healthy living » Xeriscape Gardening

Principle#1 - Planning and Design

The first and most important step in creating a successful xeriscape is careful planning. A good plan will save you time and money. There are professionals who can help you, but if you choose to do it yourself, we have a few tips.

Take an Inventory

  • Sketch a simple bird's-eye view of your property.
  • Take an inventory, walk around your yard and note what works well and what could change.
  • Measure and locate all elements that must remain (property lines, fences, driveways, walkways, retaining walls, utilities).
  • Identify conditions that will affect planting and water usage (sun, wind, shade, slopes, drainage, soil variations).
  • Note views you wish to maintain or eliminate, and where an irrigation system could be connected.

Make a Wish List

  • Determine what each member of the household would like from the available outdoor space (recreation space, a place for relaxation and entertaining, a showpiece, storage).
  • Prioritize the wish list and decide when you would like to complete the project, and how much it will cost.
  • Expand your horizons. Go for a drive and make notes on other yards. Visit the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at McArthur Island, as well as garden centres and nurseries. Consult magazines, the library, and home and garden shows for ideas.

Prepare a Base Plan

  • Draw an accurate map of your property to scale.
  • Draw in all elements from your inventory that are to remain.

Prepare a Concept Plan

  • Draw a simple sketch using bubble shapes to outline specific areas. Lay tracing paper over your base plan, and see if your wish list is practical for your site.
  • Divide your sketch into outdoor rooms (entry, cooking/dining, garden, dog run).
  • Try a few alternatives to find the plan that best suits your needs.

Prepare a Master Plan

  • Now, fill in the details to scale on your accurate Base Plan.
  • Select suitable plant material. (See Xeriscape Plants for ideas).

Ideas to encourage water conservation:

  • Avoid steep slopes, create terraces instead. Plant slopes with ground covers to control erosion.
  • Reduce lawn areas to the amount needed for use.
  • Use hard-surfacing such as concrete, pavers, or wood decks for play courts, patios, entry areas and paths to reduce lawn.
  • Slope hard surfaces to drain to planted areas to use all on-site drainage for irrigation.
  • Consider creating an oasis, concentrate your water usage by grouping higher water use lawn and garden material in one area, and naturalize or use low-water using plants in the rest of your yard.
  • Use trees and shrubs to provide shade from the sun and shelter from the wind.
  • Use shrubs for background, accent and privacy.
  • Use perennials and annuals for fillers and accent.
  • Use ground covers for foreground to reduce lawn area.

Karla Hoffman, Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
955 Concordia Way
Kamloops, BC V2C 6V3
ph (250) 828-3888

Note: All correspondence is entered into our system and will be directed accordingly. The City of Kamloops will endeavor to contact you within two business days. Thank you.

healthy landscapes, healthy living