Xeriscaping is water conservation through creative landscaping. The principles of xeriscaping can be applied to any landscape style and can be as plain or elaborate as you desire. The term is pronounced "zair-i-scape" and means "water conservation through creative landscaping." Xeriscape is not "Zeroscape", it combines the Greek word "xeros," meaning dry, and "scape," meaning view. The most significant benefit of xeriscaping is reduced water use. In fact, xeriscape require 50% (or less) water than a tradtional landscape. Even better, xeriscaping usually requires less fertilizer, less pruning, and less mowing.
Reasons to Xeriscape
The average Canadian uses 326 litres of water per day. The average Kamloops resident uses about 800-850 litres of water per day. In the summer, that number rises to 1800 litres of water per person, per day! Eighty percent of the water consumed in the summer is used outdoors to water grass, hose driveways, and wash vehicles.
Seven Principles of Xeriscaping
A successful Xeriscape requires a well thought out plan. Identify the conditions that will influence water use, such as sun and wind exposure, and slopes. Plan to group low water using plants together, group high water using plants together, and water them separately.
Use soil amendments such as compost, peat moss or manure to improve heavy clay or sandy soils, and to help them retain moisture and nutrients.
Low water use plants can withstand periods of dryness and high temperatures with minimal irrigation. There are many attractive and hardy flowers and shrubs to choose from, readily available at most garden centres.
You don't have to remove all of your lawn, but consider removing areas of turf that are impractical or difficult to maintains, such as narrow strips or grass on steep slopes.
Apply the amount of water that is required by a plant, with minimal wastage. If you have an automatically controlled irrigation system, adjust the frequency and duration of watering with the changing seasons (at least monthly).
Mulches are applied to the soil surface to reduce evaporation and to moderate soil temperature. Mulches also help to control weed growth and erosion.
The amount of maintenance required in a garden is related to the amount of water applied. Over-watering contributes to rapid, weak plant growth, fertilizer leaching, insect and disease problems and weed growth, all of which require maintenance. If water is efficiently applied, and Xeriscape principles are used, less maintenance will be required.