Xeriscaping: A Beautiful Way to Make Your Landscape Unique

gravel and rock xeriscaping in backyard with fence and landscaping

Xeriscaping is the practice of using plants that are often indigenous to (but not excluding others) an area and then arranging them in an efficient manner so as to use a minimal amount of water. It was first introduced in Denver, CO in the late ‘70s and has since become popular all across the country. And while it is sometimes mispronounced “zero-scaping” – instead of “zeer-i-scape”, it does not mean that the final result of a xeriscape is without color or design. If you are contemplating a xeriscape lawn design, then there are some key principles to keep in mind.

Principles of Xeriscaping

Although the initial reason for xeriscaping was to help communities conserve water, it continued to evolve until the following seven principles were developed.

Planning and Design

Regardless of the area to be xeriscaped, it is important to begin with sketching out the plan.  Typically, 2 sets of plans will be crafted. The first one is a drawing of how your landscape currently is situated. It will include your home’s location, and any additional structures or permanent elements. The second sketch is a bubble diagram that is laid over the first sketch. Then notes regarding design elements, specific plants to be added or, if necessary, removed or any other aspects will be made. The bubble sketch is then used to create the final design.

Turf Areas

Traditional lawns can take an excessive amount of water to maintain a healthy, welcoming look. Rather, a xeriscaped yard considers where grass is more useful versus where it is less necessary. In addition, grasses that require less water maybe implemented.

Plant Selection

Perhaps the most important part of the process is choosing the plants. As much as possible, local plants should be selected as they will require less maintenance. Once local plants are selected, then plants from beyond the region may be chosen. But it is more than just the plant selection. It is also important that they are planted where they can best thrive while maximizing amount of sunshine available and minimizing the amount of water needed.

Soil Improvement

When it comes to xeriscaping, the best type of soil is silt as it helps keep the plants cool, helps retain water and minimizes evaporation. It might be necessary to improve the soil in your landscape in order for xeriscaping to be implemented.


While a lower amount of water is the goal of xeriscaping, it will be necessary to maintain some of the landscape. The variety of plants chosen will affect the amount of water needed. Talk to the Outdoor Makeover & Construction team to learn how to care for your xeriscaped lawn.


There are two types of mulch. Organic which is wood-based and inorganic which is stone based like cobblestone or lava rock. With organic mulch you will need to replace it periodically, while inorganic will not. However, it is important that the rock elements are used in places where there is less sun so that they don’t reflect heat into the garden.   Xeriscaping has been around for several decades and will likely continue to be used. If you are looking for a way to have a great looking lawn with minimal work, contact Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces today.