“SCAPING” = “DRESSING” THUS, LAND-SCAPING MEANS “DRESSING THE LAND”, AND XERI-SCAPING MEANS DRESSING THE LAND WITH DRY METHODS Xeriscaping XEROS = “dry”
Xeriscaping Concept and word originate from the Denver Water Department in 1978, who were seeking to add landscape, but not to diminish the water supply. Seeks to reduce the use of irrigation/water in landscape. Proper xeriscaping is based around selection of the proper plants to be planted as well as planning the physical setup of the area to be landscaped.
Xeriscaping Timeline During 1977, the western U.S. faced great water shortages. During this time, it was also reported that grass lawns were using 50% of household water. Denver Water Dept. develops “xeriscaping” a carefully planned way to landscape using minimum irrigation.
Why Should We Care About the Yard? Why do you think?
Landscape is a part of our building! We can’t forget that in Green Building! Keeping water and electricity use down to a minimum helps keep the building as a whole more efficient, which saves money! Low water amounts in the western U.S.! So why are we wasting it on grass? Why Should We Care About the Yard?
KEY CONCEPTS OF XERISCAPING Reduce sun exposure by considering the slope of the land; terrace if land is sloped Reduce irrigated turfgrass Prepare the soil Xerigate Xerimulch Use native plants and/or drought tolerant plants
SLOPE Steep slopes let more water run off the land. South and West facing slopes also allow for more water evaporation as that is where the greatest amount of sun hits the land.
TERRACING Terracing helps lessen water runoff. Can you tell why?
REDUCE TURFGRASS Do not plant turfgrass! If turfgrass exists on the site, reduce as much as possible and substitute some of the xeriscaping methods! Every little bit that does not need to be watered helps!
What’s Wrong With Grass? Water intensive/fuel intensive: Traditional turfgrass must be watered everyday and mowed! Traditional turfgrass is usually only used for aesthetic reasons! There are so many things to do on the grass. Can you name some of your favorite summertime activities you do on the grass?
But Grass is a Plant! Don’t We Like Plants??? It’s true that grass is a plant, but there are other native grasses that use less water. Turfgrass is the number one grown crop in America! There is now more grass than corn, soybeans, wheat, etc! Reduce turfgrass at home and use the grass at your local park for your activities!
SOIL PREPARATION Difference in soils Sandy Soils Because they are so porous, water tends to run below the root system Clay Soils Because they are not porous, water tends to runoff and not soak into the root system Plant roots need oxygen. The ideal soil contains a mix of clay, sand, and silt!
Bring out the Beakers (These are for the demonstration)
XERIGATION This places necessary water drip lines at the base of the plant. This ensures the water reaches the plants in the most efficient manner and doesn’t overwater like a hose or sprinkler will. Water only at night or early morning, to reduce water evaporation. Keep the landscaped area free of weeds as they compete with the other plants for water.
XERIMULCHING Keep the landscaped area mulched. Mulch keeps the soil from losing water because it is covered with mulch. Mulch can include: wood chips, wine corks, bark, grass clippings, hay, peanut shells, cloth, used coffee grounds, etc. You can think of other things to use to help “re-use” items!
You are now ready to select your plants for your xeriscape! Not just any plant will do! That will defeat the purpose of xeriscaping!
NATIVE PLANTS Plants that are native to our region are already suited to a Mediterranean climate (there are six in the world, Calif. is one of them), which has dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters; they have adapted to the climate.
California Natives Fuschia Toyon St. Catherine’s Lace Heart Leaved Penstemon California Golden Poppy Calif. Fan Palm Madrone 8 Oak varieties, including the Live Oak and Calif. Black Oak Monkeyflower Fremontia Cleveland Sage Wooly Blue Curls Manzanita Sequoia Tree Redwood Tree 15 grass varieties 17 pine tree varieties, includ. Ponderosa Pine, and Sugar Pine Courtesy of Sacramento Valley Native Plant Society Here are some plants that are drought tolerant and native to our area