About Xeriscaping

The District offers workshops and presentations periodically explaining xeriscaping, the water-efficient landscape philosophy of “xeriscape.” The word “xeriscape” was coined by the Denver Water Department and is derived from the Greek root xero, which means dry. However, that does not mean that all xeriscapes have to be made of rocks and cactus. On the contrary, xeric landscapes, while they are designed to be water-efficient, may include plants that use more water, if they are native and/or adapted for your particular climate. If, however, you live in a climate where rains are few and far between, your xeriscape will probably include mostly low water-use varieties. The key is emphasizing native and adapted plants that thrive in your climate. The seven basic steps to creating your own xeriscape are as follows:

  1. Planning and Design
  2. Soil Analysis
  3. Include Practical Turf Areas
  4. Appropriate Plant Selection
  5. Efficient Irrigation
  6. Use Mulches
  7. Appropriate Maintenance

You can supplemental information at these sites:

NEW – Xeric Zone Recognition

Editorial cartoonist Lou Erickson once said “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” While statistics on sweat have not been published, we do know that water used for landscaping accounts for over half of municipal water use in the hot Panhandle summer months. The new Xeric Zone program from North Plains Groundwater Conservation District will recognize residences and businesses that have made a commitment to use xeriscaping to reduce outdoor water consumption.

If you know of a business or residence that uses any water-friendly landscaping practices, please send us a tip to info@northplainsgcd.org or call Baylee at 806-930-6934. You can also find a nomination form here. We’ll get in touch with the home or business owner and adorn their landscape with a special Xeric Zone sign. They’ll also receive a deluxe rain gauge and a gardening gift card! Feel free to nominate your own xeriscape, or any that you see! Read below to learn more about what xeriscaping means and how you can make your yard a Xeric Zone.

A xeriscape is a landscape design that does not require much water, usually utilizing native or drought-tolerant plants and hardscape elements such as rocks or pavers. A fully xeriscaped yard will usually group plants by water use. The arid zone of a landscape should thrive on natural moisture alone, with no irrigation required after plants have established roots. The transitional zone has plants that may require partial shade and infrequent watering. Planting beds or areas close to the home can serve as an oasis zone, with rainwater falling from the roof line serving as additional irrigation for more thirsty plants. Xeriscaping also promotes soil health through the use of organic amendments and moisture-locking mulch.

Complete overhaul of your yard isn’t necessary to see water savings. Check out these easy fixes to bring some xeric elements into your landscape:

  1. The biggest water-waster in a landscape is the turf. Look into turf replacements like buffalo grass and various groundcovers.
  2. Replace high-maintenance annuals with perennial xeric plants that will come back year after year! Some of our favorites are Red Autumn Sage, Chocolate Flower, Prairie Zinnia, and Iceplants.
  3. Consider replacing turf with pavers or flagstones in high-traffic areas.
  4. For the ultimate low-maintenance yard, add rock garden elements and well-chosen succulents or cacti.

With our shared water source constantly depleting, water conservation must be a community effort. We appreciate your assistance in helping us recognize champions of water conservation!