Xeriscape uses seven principles to achieve water efficiency.
Planning and Design
Why plan? You can make a mistake on paper and toss it away. When you make a mistake in the landscape, its effect is not so easily tossed. Successful Xeriscapes begin with a good design that considers the function of the landscape and the mature size and water needs of each plant.
Appropriate Turf Areas
Locate grass only in areas where it provides functional benefits, like the children's play area. Keep grass away from sidewalks, walls, and fences for easier maintenance. Avoid planting turf in oddly shaped or narrow areas that can’t be watered efficiently.
Water all trees, shrubs, and groundcovers with an efficient, low volume drip system. Irrigate grass areas separately from other plantings. Change the irrigation schedule frequently with seasonal weather changes. For more information, check out Landscape Watering by the Numbers.
Many low-water-use plants are available. They can be used to create a wildlife habitat or to frame a functional outdoor living space. Some provide shade and screening. Others are perfect for color, scents, texture, and accents. For more information, check out Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert.
Use organic matter to improve the soil when planting. This helps the soil hold water, permits better water absorption, and feeds nutrients to your plants.
Use mulches to cover and cool the soil, decrease evaporation, reduce weed growth and slow erosion. Use organic mulches such as shredded bark or wood shavings, or inorganic mulches like rock and gravel.
Xeriscapes require less maintenance than traditional landscapes, but to preserve the appearance and ensure water efficiency, some regular maintenance is required. Weeding, fertilization, proper pruning, and pest control will keep your Xeriscape looking good. Regular irrigation system maintenance and adjustments help save water.