Xeriscaping: Definition And 7 Amazing Principles


Last updated on September 3rd, 2022 at 07:41 am

Xeriscaping is the process of landscaping with plants that are native to your climate. It’s a technique that requires less water, time, and money than traditional landscaping. It can also help you lower your carbon footprint by reducing the number of natural resources required for maintenance.

There are some basics that you will want to know about before you start your xeriscape. If you don’t know these basics, it could be a disaster!

Xeriscaping is the process of landscaping with plants and other materials that need little water or maintenance. It’s not just for dessert climates any longer – It can work in areas outside of the west coast because it doesn’t require much water. The xeriscape design style has been popularized by low-water-use and drought-tolerant landscapes in arid regions such as California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Xeriscaping definition


Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It may be an alternative to traditional lawn and garden care, but you can still have a green oasis in your yard if you choose xeric plants, xeriscape mulch, xeric garden soil, and xeric garden design.

Xeriscaping helps xeric gardeners save money on irrigation costs, reduces the amount of water used in xeric gardens and xeric yards, conserves water resources when practiced statewide or nationwide.

It is good for xeric plants because they are allowed to develop deeper roots that can reach into natural sources of groundwater more effectively than non-xerics, xeric plants are adapted to survive in xeric conditions, and xeriscaping has a positive impact on the environment because xeric gardeners use less water.

History of xeriscaping


Xeriscaping is a form of landscaping that focuses on using xeric plants and soil to create water-efficient landscapes. Xeriscaping can help homeowners save money by limiting their landscape maintenance costs, as well as helping the environment through reduced water use.

Early history xeriscapes have been around for centuries in desert regions where rainfall was scarce. Xeriscaping became increasingly popular in the United States during the 1970s, with xeric plants replacing traditional lawn grasses and ornamental flowering shrubs that require a lot of water to thrive.

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Xeriscaping was seen as a way to conserve water during the California drought of 1976, and later in other parts of the country. Xeriscaping spread as a landscaping trend throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with xeric plants becoming increasingly popular.

Today, xeriscapes are considered to be an important part of sustainable landscaping across the country. Homeowners can use xeric plants along with xeriscape techniques such as mulching and water-efficient irrigation systems to create xeriscapes that are beautiful and economical at the same time.

Xeriscaping: An Event of Environment

The word “xeriscaping” (created and trademarked in the 1980s by Denver Water) originated from the Greek word ‘xeros’, which means ‘dry’, integrated with the landscape. Do not be confused by the name. Not all xeriscapes are dry.

The concept behind xeriscaping is to produce a lovely landscape while saving water resources to the best level possible. Naturally, the movement initially become popular in deserts, which is why numerous individuals associate xeriscaped landscapes with cactus. All of it depends on the area.
In an extremely rainy location like Seattle, for instance, a xeriscape might include moisture-loving ferns. In Iowa, ornamental turfs and intense meadow wildflowers fit the bill. And in New England, red oak, forsythia, and wisteria are appealing options.

Wherever you are, proper plants are integrated with imaginative style to develop special landscapes with sensational visual effects. Xeriscaping acknowledges the restrictions and the possibilities intrinsic to your special location and property.

Why Xeriscaping?

Nowadays, individuals all over are getting up to just how valuable resource water truly is. It makes good sense to use it wisely. Not just is it the ideal thing to do for the environment, however, conserving water is an excellent monetary decision.

Despite your place and environment, you can produce a stunning xeriscaped landscape on your residential or commercial property using the 7 Concepts of Xeriscaping:

How is xeriscaping done?


Xeriscaping is done by selecting xeriscape plants that are drought tolerant and adapted to a specific climate.

Lepismium houlletianum (Snowdrop Cactus)

Xeriscaping is done in a way that reduces the amount of water used by xeriscape plants. This means using xeric soil, xeric plant types, and xeric irrigation systems (if applicable).

Use xeric soils when planting to reduce the need for watering. The more organic matter your soil contains, the more it holds onto water, and the more it will need to be watered.

Advantages of xeriscaping

  • Xeriscaping requires less water compared to conventional landscaping.
  • It has less maintenance than conventional landscaping.
  • There’s no need to constantly fertilize and weed your xeriscaped garden.
  • Xeriscaping is good for the environment and wildlife.
  • You don’t have to pay water bills or hire landscapers when you xeriscape.

All of these factors can save you a lot of money over time!


There are several disadvantages of xeriscaping.

  • Firstly, it can be unnatural looking which is not ideal for homeowners who want their yards to look like the ones they see in magazines or on television shows.
  • It also may lack color and variety because many plants do better with more water than others.
  • Lastly, there are some issues that arise when there is a drought because it won’t be as easy to water the plants and they might die.

What are the 7 principles of xeriscaping?


  1.   Sound landscape preparation and design for smart usage of water.

2.   Select plans sensibly.

3.   Soil modifications.

4.   Effective watering.

5.   Usage of mulches.

6.   Suitable landscape upkeep.

7.   Usage of water-effective plants.

1. Smart water usage plan and design 

Prior to starting, choose what your landscape’s water resources are and how you wish to use your home. Develop a strategy that takes both into account. Do not forget that hardscaped locations impact the water cycle. Think about using permeable options for any paved locations. A properly designed hardscape setup can likewise be utilized to direct water properly on your home.

2. Select plants carefully

You should plant plants with good colors in your xeriscaping, not only drought-tolerant ones. When you choose plants make sure to get a mix of size and color. The best plants are the ones that grow in the same climate as yours or in climates similar to yours. Choosing your plants is not hard. You will need to pick the right plant for where you are. Some places might be wet or sunny more than others.

Adenium obesum (Chocolate Desert Rose Plant)

3. Add nutrients to your soil to make it better

Good soil is wet. It helps plants grow. You should add compost to the soil because it makes it better and helps plants grow faster. Be aware that different plants need different things in the soil, so you will need to talk with a landscape expert to know what goes in the ground for your plant.

4. Water your plants well

As water-effective as your xeriscaped landscape is, it might need extra water from time to time. But you can have a professionally designed watering system so you don’t have to worry about watering too much. Your garden will still be healthy even if it has a climate that needs more water.

5. Mulch

Mulch is good for the soil. It will keep the soil moist and also help to keep weeds away. Mulch can also make your yard look nicer.

6. Maintain regularly

Xeriscapes are easy to maintain. They just need to be cared for properly. This means that they will look good and safe. The xeriscape needs careful pruning, fertilizing, aeration, and other regular tasks to keep it looking beautiful all the time.

Xeriscaping is easy to do. There are many things that you can do to make your garden look good and stay healthy. You just need to decide on a style for the garden, pick plants, and decide how much water to give them..

To have a xeriscape, you should hire a landscaping expert. They will help you make it look good and be realistic for your property and climate.

7. Drought-Tolerant Plants

The most common type of plant that survives on little water is the cactus. They have developed many different skills to use less water. The cacti’s prickly spines protect them from animals, and their leaves are shaped differently so they can still get enough sun. Their skin is also very waxy so it can’t evaporate

Baby Toes Succulent Care (Fenestraria aurantiaca)

In proper xeriscaping, other plants besides cacti are used. These include agave, lavender, and juniper. Some herbs that are drought resistant are sage, thyme, and oregano. There are also some food plants that will survive without a lot of water such as black walnuts or Jerusalem artichokes.

Examples of plants for xeriscaping

  • Sedum species:  like Stonecrop (Sedum acre) or Live forever (Sedum dasyphyllum). These low-growing succulents will thrive on almost any soil and require very little water, making them ideal candidates for xeriscaping. While the sedums themselves are not drought tolerant, they cannot survive without irrigation, the plant family as a whole is known for its ability to thrive under harsh conditions.
  • Agave: A Mexican genus whose name is derived from the Nahuatl word for “sharp” or “knife,” will reward you with bright and dramatic flowers if given proper care. They produce prodigious quantities of water through photosynthesis in their rosettes during Spring and Summer months but then need very little additional watering after the blooms fade.
  • Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima): is a warm-season ornamental grass that, unlike many other plants grown in the South for summer color, does not require supplemental irrigation. It thrives on rainfall alone and will even go dormant during periods of drought to conserve moisture. Although it can be cut back in the fall and spring, it is best to leave this grass unmown until mid-winter.

Further examples: Yucca species like Adam’s Needle (Yucca filamentosa) or Spanish Bayonet (Yucca aloifolia), Agave species like Blue agave  (Blue Agave Tequilana).