XERISCAPING: An Art of Dry Landscaping
Xeriscaping is landscaping specifically designed for areas prone to drought or areas where water conservation is practiced.
This term was derived from the Greek word “xeros” which means dry, and xeriscaping means “arid landscape”. It is promoted in regions that have no accessible, abundant or reliable fresh water and where irrigation water is limited.
It is also known as “water-saving landscaping” or “drought tolerant landscaping”. Xeriscaping appears to have originated in the western United States in 1980.
California landscapers were looking for a way to create gardens that were less dependent on irrigation without sacrificing aesthetic concepts. Studies have shown that training in water protection in the countryside can significantly improve the public perception of xeriscaping.
Benefits of xeriscaping
The plants used in xeriscaping are naturally xerophytes, which can survive with limited water availability. It has been scientifically calculated that these plants can reduce water consumption by up to 60% or more compared to other landscape plants. In arid areas, these plants are the only alternative to maintain the green and a pleasant landscape view.
Xeriscaping provides a means of environmental stability and also has the benefit of more water being available for other domestic and communal uses and the environment.
There is reduced maintenance of plants as such plants are low maintenance in terms of intercultural operations such as weeding, mulching, etc. This quality makes it more acceptable in different climatic conditions.
Xeriscaping requires minimal fertilization and equipment for maintenance, especially due to the reduced lawn area and more plants. It makes for a facelift of rough areas and the use of pebbles, rocks, and other garden decorations that provide pleasant landscape views.
Reduce the use of fertilizer, e.g. Phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, which reduces maintenance and cultivation costs.
Principles of xeriscaping
There are seven design principles of xeriscaping that must be adopted for proper landscape use with pleasant aesthetics and recreational appearance.
Plan and Design: Make a paper plan before performing on-site. Create a diagram plan, scale it up, identify the availability of plant abundance and topography of a given site, and mark out key elements of the landscape including the house, driveway, sidewalk, patio or patio, existing trees, and other elements.
This gives you the idea of designing and accommodating floral richness. In addition, they have a vision of using pebbles, rocks, and fountains that can enhance the aesthetic charm of landscaping.
Diagram: Auto CAD Diagram can provide a better understanding of previewing and creating a conceptual plan delaminating the area for turf. The design of perennial beds, as well as existing or introduced slopes, will contribute to a better understanding of the long-term view of landscaping.
Soil improvement: abundance of flowers can only be used if we know the habitat and requirements of a particular plant. Moisture retention in the soil for extended periods of time is one of the considerations to be considered and for that the traditional use of compost is one way and the use of nanochemicals to preserve moisture is the modern way.
There are many nanochemicals available on the market that can help retain soil moisture for a longer period of time and improve water efficiency. The uses of plants can be categorized in different directions, namely some plants benefit from the use of compost, which helps the soil to retain water, desert plants prefer gravel soils instead of well-prepared soils, and others react moderately to different situations.
In other words, we put a plan in place to achieve a goal that plants should either match the soil or the soil should be adjusted to match the plants.
Efficient irrigation: Xeriscape can be efficiently watered by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system. Mostly spray, drip line or emitter are used. Water deep and rarely to develop deep roots. Never water during the day to reduce water loss through evaporation.
Appropriate selection of plants and zones: Different areas in a garden receive different amounts of light, wind and moisture. To minimize water waste, group plants with similar light and water needs and place them in an area that meets those needs.
Put plants with moderate water consumption in deep drainage areas. Planting a variety of plants of different heights, colors, and textures creates interest and beauty.
Mulch: Mulch keeps the plant roots cool, prevents the soil from becoming encrusted, minimizes evaporation and reduces weed growth. Fiber mulches create a network that is more resistant to wind and rain washout. Inorganic mulches such as stones and gravel should be applied 2 to 3 inches deep. Organic mulches like pole scrubs, wood pulp should be applied 2-4 inches deep.
Limited lawns: The selection of lawn grass plays an important role in lawn design under the theme of xeriscaping. For this purpose one should have knowledge of grasses of the warm season and the cool season. If the area falls under tropical or subtropical conditions, buffalo grass and bluegrass are options, while bluegrass and fescue are options for cool season grasses.
Care: Whatever type of plant it is, it requires a certain amount of care throughout the year. When it comes to lawn grass, keep the grass height at 3 inches and let the clippings fall. Trees, shrubs, and perennials occasionally need pruning to remove dead stems, encourage flowering, or control height and spread. In addition, the inspection of the plants must be monitored for overgrowth or pests.
Adjustments to xeriscaping systems
• Leaves or stems can be thicker to allow water retention. Plants with this property are collectively referred to as succulents such as Sedums, Sempervivum tectorum, etc.
• These plants should have small leaves with a smaller surface area, as a result of which there is less loss of perspiration. e.g. thyme, Iberis sempervirens etc.
• Plants with silver or gray-green leaves should be planted. They reflect the sun and shrug their shoulders in the heat instead of withering underneath. This property makes them xeriscaping plants. Example is lavender.
• Plants with a deep root system that are planted for better adaptability in drought conditions.
• Drought tolerant plants are preferred.
• Thick cuticles, wax-coated leaves add beauty and sustainability.
Evergreen trees: examples of evergreen plants Acacia spp, Cupressus sp etc.
Deciduous plants: Examples of deciduous plants are Cercis occidentalis, Lagerstroemia indica, etc.
Shrubs: Examples of shrubs for xeriscaping are Arctostaphylos sp, Encelia californica, etc.
Flowering Shrubs: Shrubs include Lavandula spp, Grevillea spp, etc.
Drought Resistant Flowering Plants: Black-eyed Susan, Ceiling Flower, Creeping River, Coneflower, Coreopsis, Lamb’s Ear, Penstemon, Russian Sage, Stone Harvest, Yarrow, etc.
Perennial plants for protective purposes: These include YUCCA (ADAM’S NEEDLE) etc.