Xeriscape Landscaping: Ideas and Plan

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xeriscape landscaping

Is your area usually susceptible to drought? In those harsh climate conditions, you cannot have a normal lush garden. However, you can choose to carry out xeriscape landscaping or xeriscaping.

Originating from the Greek word xeros which means dry, the xeriscape landscaping becomes dry landscaping.

While many may think that landscaping ideas for areas with drought and water conservation will only have cactus or stones, That is untrue because a xeriscape can have enough greenery and a lush landscape.

In fact, it does not eliminate lawns.

This article discusses how you can do xeriscape landscaping and what it involves.

Keep reading below to know more!

desert plants cactus

Desert Plants in Landscape

Many may think that if you have a xeriscape landscape that means you only have the option of planting desert plants.

However, that is not the case.

Some desert plants like cactus and other succulent plants are not as attractive as many other plants.

Though, this is not your only option in a xeriscape landscape.

Rather you can plant attractive plants in areas where you plan to conserve water and have a non-desert climate.

This means that you will have to use smarter ways to plant them in order to save water.

So, group plants that have the same water requirements together.

This will allow you to save money, conserve water and also save plants as many die because of overwatering.

Even if you do not plan on saving water and just want to plant attractive plants, it totally makes sense to segregate thirsty plants from those that require less water.

Hence, using many plants will still make the area look lush green.

A common element found in xeriscape landing is the considerable reduction of lawn grass.

This is one of the biggest culprits of water use and consumption.

Plus, you can also benefit by deploying native plants.

They are adapted to the local climate and require less water.

Before you build your garden using xeriscape landscaping, you should first know the requirements for the plants you will deploy, ways to use water smartly and improve the soil. More on that later!

First, let’s find out the pros and cons of this form of landscaping.

xeriscape landscaping advantages

Xeriscaping Advantages and Disadvantages

People are becoming more aware of water as a precious resource.

It is a wise decision to save it for the environment but it also cuts your costs while gardening.

Hence, the advantages of this type of landscaping include: 

Reducing the water bill by cutting back on the usage and consumption of water.

Lawn grass takes up a lot of water while desert plants and native ones may not in warmer climatic conditions.

So the deployment of your plants wisely prevents the usage of excess water while saving you extra bucks.

Moreover, as you are conserving water, you also contribute to reducing your environmental footprint.

So you have a lesser impact on the diminishing environmental resources and more on conserving these precious natural assets.

Besides that, when you use less water, it also saves you time.

In the long term, you will have to invest less time in landscaping work.

That said, there are some disadvantages attached as well.

These include: 

If you are switching from a lush green landscape to xeriscape then your space will have a sparse aesthetic than what it did before.

The change will be quite noticeable.

Moreover, if you ever plan to move, then it will be difficult to please buyers.

The lack of greenery and general green aesthetic such as grass can actually put off buyers in case you decide to move out eventually.

While this kind of landscaping does not require much work in the long haul, it will still a significant amount on the early stages of installation.

This will help later on when the maintenance will be lesser than what a normal garden requires.

Though, you will have to bear with the work for a while.

xeriscape landscaping ideas

Xeriscape Landscaping Ideas and Planning

Plan Area Accordingly for Smart Water Usage 

Begin by looking at your landscaping’s water resources.

Plan how you want to put this resource and your property to good use.

Consider that hardscaped areas affect the water cycle.

In that case, you can design a hardscape installation that directs water appropriately to your property.

Or you could use permeable solutions for paved areas.

Work on Improving Your Soil 

As long as your soil is good enough, it will retain moisture and also encourage the healthy growth of plants.

Every plan usually has its own soil requirements.

While adding organic matter such as compost can improve the structure and quality of the soil, some native plants will not need it.

Consult your local landscape professional for assistance before you add compost to the plants.

Alongside that, adding mulch to the soil, keep the roots of the plants cool and retain moisture.

Mulch reduces the growth of weeds in the area while improving the aesthetic and appearance.



Xeriscape usually requires less maintenance once they are established.

Though, every landscape requires proper care and regular check.

This helps to maintain the safety and quality standards of this dynamic system.

Hence, tasks like aeration, pruning and fertilization should be done on a regular schedule so that your garden maintains its aesthetics looking picture perfect.

Water Efficiency 

A xeriscape landscape is already water efficient.

However, it will still require supplemental water to grow the plants.

For that, you will need an irrigation system.

This will help to keep the water usage to minimum levels while ensuring a healthy and vibrant area regards of the climatic changes.

Irrigation systems such as drip water irrigation use lesser water and hence, result in less wastage.

Besides this, the most important part is to choose the plants appropriately.

growing plants

Growing Plants

The process of growing plants in xeriscaping comes down to three factors:

  • Choosing the plants you will grow
  • Avoiding the plants that consume the most water
  • Organizing and arrange the plants you plan to grow

First up, there are Xeric plants.

These plants are the most well suited to xeriscaping.

They handle drought conditions well because they do not need as much water to grow.

Though drought tolerance for every plant differs on the climatic conditions of the area.

So going for native plants for your garden is a good option.

However, drought tolerance is not the only factor to consider.

You can also go for aesthetic appeal.

Choose plants of different heights and deploy a mix of plants that will make your garden pleasant enough to look at throughout the year.

While native plants are a better option, you can also experiment with those belonging to an area with similar climatic conditions as yours.

You also need to remember that usually different areas of the land have different amounts of exposure to sunlight and moisture.

So the deployment of the plants will need further research into what area suits the plants.

Your options for adding color in the ground include:

  • Angelina sedum which is a ground cover
  • Sunburst honey locust i.e a tree
  • Lewisia is a perennial
  • Red bird of paradise is a shrub
  • Zebra grass is an ornamental grass

Hence, besides plants and flowers, you can also add drought-tolerant trees, ground covers and shrubs to your garden area.

Let’s know about them in detail below.

growing trees in garden

Xeriscape Landscaping: What’s in the Garden?

The cliched view of a xeriscaped land is stones, rocks, and a few cactus.

That surely saves water and a rock garden when done right looks appealing on its own.

But it is certainly not your only option.

In fact, you can give your lawn a xeriscaped makeover by using several types of plants.

Ground Cover

Deploying a ground cover is one way to make your lawn or space look lush green without having grass.

An area with taller plants and ground cover can make up for a lush garden with grass.

You can add low-lying succulents, woodchips, gravel and sand, arid-regional ornamental grasses and small flowers such as Spanish daisy.

If you have kids or pets, adding artificial grass is a viable option too.


A piece of land gets a vibrant look because of the greenery and flowers.

Since there is going to be less greenery anyway, do not skip the flowers.

You can plant drought-resistant flowers such as:

  • Lavender
  • Western sunflowers
  • Bee balm
  • Russian sage
  • Meadow sage
  • Rosemary


These are absolutely necessary for your space.

Those that you can plant in the landscape include:

  • Cacti (an obvious choice)
  • Sweet potato vine
  • Aloe
  • Fountaingrass
  • Succulents
  • Artemisia


If you want some shade or have a larger shade, then adding some trees will fill up your space.

Some trees are drought tolerant too so they can be an ideal option for xeriscaping.

Your options are:

  • Tipu tree
  • Palm tree
  • California sycamore
  • Olive tree
  • Cottonwood tree
  • Jacaranda
  • Coast live oak
  • Peruvian pepper tree

Finally, when you have all the elements for xeriscaping, you can begin your effort toward reducing your environmental footprint.

Through xeriscape landscaping, you can achieve water efficiency and good aesthetics.

It is a best of both worlds scenario for your own space and the environment.



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