Colorado Xeriscape

Xeriscape - What is it?

With water conservation being emphasized everywhere, Denver, and all of Colorado is well aware of the term Xeriscape.  Xeriscape has been misunderstood in many different ways.  Some bad misperceptions about Xeriscaping include throwing a few boulders into the yard and covering the soil with rock mulch; or a messy yard full of cactus and succulent plantings.  These perceptions need to be re-defined with the true understanding of Xeriscape.  

Xeriscape is not just a garden, but a system that includes water conservation, low water use plantings, minimal lawn areas, efficient irrigation systems, and beautiful hardscape elements.  
Colorful, explosive plantings and lush foliage are not typically thought of to describe Xeriscaping, but as seen in this Denver park, that is exactly what you will accomplish following these seven principles put together by Denver Water:
  1. Plan and design the landscape comprehensively.  Conduct a site analysis noting sun exposure, slope, views, and soil types.  When putting together the design incorporate your walkways, patios, focal points, and planting based around your site analysis.
  2. Evaluate soil and improve, if necessary.  Typical Colorado soils are heavy clay and have a higher pH levels.  Treating your soil with organic matter or peat moss to lighten up the clay are ways to increase water absorption, and oxygen flow.
  3. Create Practical Turf Areas.  Lawns are great for recreation and high traffic areas; design your lawn to fit your lifestyle. Consider alternative lawns to typical bluegrass, such as tall fescue, buffalo grass, and blue grama types.
  4. Use appropriate plants grouped according to water needs.  Group low water plants together on separate irrigation zones apart from medium to high water plantings.  This will save water, and the plants will do better too.
  5. Water efficiently with a properly designed irrigation system:  Do not follow a fixed schedule when watering; adjust your system as the season matures.  Design turf zones separate from beds with trees and shrubs.  Drip systems are efficient for trees, shrubs, and flowers due to the slow water output, which reduces runoff and only soaks the plant.
  6. Use Mulch to reduce surface evaporation of water and weeds: Mulches are beneficial for reducing evaporation by covering the soil to regulate temperature extremes, reducing weed growth, and slowing erosion.
  7. Practice appropriate landscape maintenance: Regular maintenance practices are the best way to preserve your landscape.  Proper pruning, weeding, mowing, aeration, fertilization and irrigation audits are the best way to achieve maximum water savings.