How (Not) to Maintain Your Xeriscape
Simply put, you can create a beautiful yard with very minimal maintenance.
Unlike having to mow your lawn once a week, xeriscaping doesn’t require constant upkeep. The lack of water use and general curb appeal make this a valuable style for saving money on your property.
Here are tips from our landscape experts for maintaining and preserving your xeriscape to save time and money while beautifying your home.
1. Replace Your Lawn with Gravel & Unique Stones
Replacing your lawn with gravel reduces maintenance time to almost zero. You’ll save water and money by saying goodbye to sprinklers and mowers!
Gravel brings a clean, modern look to your home’s surrounding.
Due to it’s insulating ability, it helps keep the ground soil cool and moist in the hot sun and warmer in the winter, protecting the root systems of the plants flourishing in it and preventing water loss. Different mulches such as wood chips may also be used to add contrast.
Pro Tip from co-founder Barry Thau: Use mulch to help with water retention and add to the organic matter content of the soil to help keep weeds down.
To maintain your gravel or mulch, identify the weeds that pop up in order to find the method best suited to their removal. Not all respond well to weed killers, especially those with thick, waxy leaves. Pulling them up including the root before they bloom will greatly reduce the amount that regrows.
Lastly, laying down a weed barrier underneath the gravel or applying a thicker layer (3-5 inches) of gravel can also help prevent growth.
Ask A Landscape Designer
Contact our experts to learn how you can easily replace your lawn with a beautiful design that incorporates the best xeriscape features for San Diego.
It is important that we all make steps to reduce our water usage. We specialize in helping San Diego residents transition to cost savings and lower maintenance landscape designs.
2. Plan for Low Maintenance Plants to Mature
Drought tolerant landscaping focuses on only growing low-water plants suited for the high desert or your specified watering zone. Expect that the plants will get larger as they grow and take up more space in your yard.
There are many varieties of xeriscape-ready plants available, so you can mix, match, and layer different plant types for a lush, playful, and interesting space. To avoid having to adjust for over-crowding, design your landscape around the mature size of your plants.
Pro Tip from co-founder Barry Thau: Best plants to use for xeriscaping: fruitless olive trees, Palo Verde trees, peppermint trees, California lilacs, sage, gregillea, and rockrose.
Keep in mind some succulents may spread, aloe leaves will extend out further, and trees will grow taller and wider over time. Planning the growth space keeps plants in check while allowing them to grow healthy and vibrant.
For the best results, work with a San Diego landscape architect to create a plan for a low maintenance yard with beautiful features and accents.
3. Make Occasional Irrigation Adjustments
Drip irrigation systems cut down on water use, prevent evaporation and waste of this precious resource while delivering it to plants right where they need it.
Once your irrigation system is installed, regular check-ups for leaks is smart to ensure sufficient water delivery and prevent waste and over watering. Keep an eye out for dry spots or pooling water, which can be signs of leakage.
Pro Tip from co-founder Barry Thau: Add a thick 3″ layer of mulch to your xeriscape to help reduce your watering and weeding routine.
Adjusting the irrigation system is also necessary during seasonal changes. Yes, even your San Diego landscape may experience some fluctuating weather patterns! When there is a drastic temperature shift or a large amount of precipitation–or lack thereof– is expected, increase or decrease the system accordingly to keep your plants healthy.
Newer plants also require more water to take root, so be sure to adjust to lower the system once they are situated and blooming.
4. Prune Drought Resistant Plants
As your xeriscape plants mature, gentle and occasional pruning will shape plants and keep them healthy.
Pruning helps to stimulate growth while removing dead branches and leaves for a beautiful landscape. But be careful not to over-trim, as it can hinder their natural form and increase water demand due to new growth.
Pro Tip from co-found Barry Thau: Choose plants that are not too big for your garden so you won’t have to prune so often and ones that look good or bloom all summer long, but don’t require deadheading.
While normal pruning is not typically needed during the first year or two of growth, it is important to periodically remove debris and any weeds especially when the seasons change. Fall and winter can leave a pile of dead branches and leaves behind, so let your new plants breathe by gently clearing them.
Good news! Using less water means less weeding and pruning is needed on your part, so you can spend more time enjoying your yard instead of tending to it.
Next Steps for Creating Your Next Design Project!
If you want increased beauty and less maintenance, converting to low water use landscaping is a no brainer for your home!
Use the basic tips in this article or contact us with questions, to eliminate consistent yard maintenance from your routine.
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