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Xeriscape Gardening - Planning for a Water Wise Garden

A Common Sense Approach to "What Plant Where?"


Master Gardener Xeriscape Garden in Ulst

Master Gardener Xeriscape Garden in Ulster County, NY

Marie Iannotti

What Does Xeriscape Mean?

Xeriscaping was a term coined back in 1970s in Denver, CO, to mean water wise or water efficient landscaping. The term xeriscape is derived from the Greek word xeros, which means dry. Don’t let that mislead you into thinking we’re talking about deserts and cactus or even a drought plagued, barren landscape. Xeriscaping is a method of gardening that involves choosing plants that are appropriate to their site and creating a landscape that can be maintained with little supplemental watering.

Xeriscaping is not a style or category of garden design. It is basically some common sense guides to gardening in harmony with your site and can actually be applied to any type of garden design.

Why is Xeriscaping Important?

The obvious answer is that we only have a finite amount of water and some years even less than others. By grouping plants by their water needs, using mulch and drought tolerant plants, you will be conserving on water usage.

You will also have healthier gardens and landscapes and less need to use fertilizers and pesticides. Consider that everything you do in your yard and garden will eventually effect your water source and from there, any nearby bodies of water. We hear a lot about pollution from industry and factories. These are considered “point sources”. Homeowners and individuals are considered “nonpoint” sources of pollution. While you may not think the fertilizer and bug spray you use on your plants is excessive, the combined runoff from all of us “nonpoint sources” is considerable.

By applying these simple techniques you will be conserving water and improving local water quality - all while still having a beautiful garden.

Here are the 7 Principles of Xeriscaping Gardening.

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