Originally designed for drought-affected areas, xeriscaping is gaining popularity. Creating and maintaining your garden is an important part of having the yard of your dreams. Though maintaining a garden can be enjoyable, it can also be quite time consuming and even expensive as you have to pay for water and fertilizer. To combat rising costs while saving time and still getting their dream garden, many people have been turning to smarter gardening practices such as xeriscaping.
The 7 principles of xeriscaping
Effective xeriscaping is based on 7 key principles. These 7 principles set the stage for your xeriscaping project.
Water conservation: This involves grouping plants with similar watering needs together. Planting the appropriate plants in either sun or shade will also help with water conservation. Before buying your plants, make sure to learn about what to buy and their ideal growing conditions from your local garden centre.
Soil improvement: Yourgarden’s soil needs to drain quickly, but also needs to store water. To achieve this, organic soil containing a high volume of compost material often does the trick. Another great way to improve your soil quality is to add bone meal and rock sulphate.
Limited turf areas: Less turf means less water. It’s important to retain some turf in your yard to provide functional space and visual appeal, but too much means continuous mowing, fertilizing and watering. Only plant as much grass as you need, fill the rest of the space with beautiful water conserving plants to not only spruce your yard up, but save time and money as well!
Integrating mulch into your garden: For those spaces where you don’t plant turf, cover your soil’s surface with any type of mulch; leaves, pine needles, wood chips, bark or even gravel. Mulch does a great job retaining moisture in your soil by creating a barrier from the heat and sunshine. This allows you to water less frequently as your garden can self-sustain longer. To get the best result, make sure your mulched area is a couple inches thick and no soil is visible.
Appropriate plant selection: For the best garden possible, select plants that are native to your region. Native plants thrive in their local region naturally, so they make for a perfect low-maintenance garden option! Here in Calgary, native plants such as Brown-eyed Susan, Gaillardia and fireweed make beautiful annual plants. For a longer lasting perennial, Anemone, Asters and Lemon Mint all make very attractive selections.
Proper irrigation: With water conservation being the goal of your xeriscaped garden, make sure to avoid overwatering. Watering deeply and less frequently is often the most successful approach as a deep watering allows the water to get all the way down to the roots where they can be stored by your plants. To get the most out of watering your plants, doing the job in the early morning limits the potential evaporation; ensuring your plants get every last drop!
Landscape maintenance: Though xeriscaping involves very little maintenance, some of the basics still need to be covered. The largest part of maintenance is keeping weeds under control. Every once in a while, weeds may pop up through the mulch. It’s important to remove them as soon as possible as they are depriving your plants of their water and nutrient stores.
It’s clear that xeriscaping offers significant benefits to the yard-smart homeowner looking to create a beautiful garden and save money and time in the process. But did you know that xeriscaping offers other benefits too? Xeriscaping keeps your yard pet-friendly by eliminating the need for fertilizer and pesticides, it’s pollution free, can improve your property value and xeriscaping even provides a habitat for local wildlife! In a varied climate like Calgary, it’s clear that xeriscaping is a smart choice.
Xeriscaping is something that is being seen more across Calgary and communities in the surrounding area as a way to conserve water. This includes communities like Ravenswood in Airdrie; where McKee Homes’ Building Futures program works with Airdrie students, teaching them every aspect of the building process including the integration of xeriscaping.
Everyone wants to have the yard of their dreams. A place where they can spend long summer days in the sun reading their favourite book, hosting a barbeque or spending time with their family. Creating that space can sometimes take so much time that there’s none left to enjoy the fruits of your labour. This summer, give xeriscaping a try and see how you can have more time to do what you love in your beautiful yard.