Landscape or Xeriscape? Which is Better?
Although it’s nothing new, there’s been a rise in xeriscaping in the last few years. If you live in drought-susceptible areas of the country, then you’ve likely heard of this term. For those who see a decent amount of rainfall in the summer months, xeriscaping may be a foreign concept to you.
With the rise of xeriscaping, it also comes with the question of whether or not it’s better to landscape or xeriscape.
Let’s take a look at both options to decide which is more suitable for your situation.
What is Xeriscaping?
The premises behind xeriscaping is for those who live in areas susceptible to droughts. The term comes from the Greek word xeros, which means “dry.” So, xeriscaping means “dry landscape.”
You don’t have to live in a desert to utilize xeriscaping techniques. For example, in Texas, although not considered a desert, xeriscaping is more common over landscaping. Since they periodically undergo droughts and have water restrictions, using techniques to have a sustainable yard that needs little water is essential.
How to Design a Rain Garden
Water management is crucial in some parts of the world. Many places have to watch how much water they consume, as using too much could lead to a drought. When a drought occurs,
everything suffers, including our landscape.
People are coming up with innovative ways to keep their landscape in pristine condition, without utilizing too much of the city’s water supply. One way of doing so is by designing a rain garden.
A rain garden is basically what it sounds like – a garden that holds rainwater after a storm. It is a low spot in the garden that should hold up to a foot of water on average. You don’t want the water to sit like it would in a pond. A rain garden only holds water before it seeps back into the ground for your garden to feed off of.
Creating a rain garden is simple. However, there are a few tricks to learn to maximize their effectiveness. Take a look at our guide on designing a rain garden.
On average, a good sized rain garden is about a minimum of 150 square feet. Although your rain garden will vary, this is a good starting point to go off of.
Utilize the natural landscape you have in your yard. If you don’t have the luxury of having different levels in your yard, then you’ll have to create one manually. Make rounded shapes like
an oval or teardrop. A good way to visualize what it looks like is to lay a hose in the potential shape of your rain garden first.
You’ll want to keep in mind any underground utilities and tree roots before placing your rain garden. Another point to remember is if you’ll be diverting the roof gutters into the rain garden
to maximize the water from a storm. If that’s the case, then your rain garden should be closer to your home, but at least 10 feet away.
If you have to dig the rain garden, ensure that all the edges are smooth. The bottom should be flat, and the sides should have a gentle slope. To help slow down the water from flowing into the
rain garden, and to add aesthetics to the area, you can place river rocks around the diameter.
Types of Plants
You don’t want to add just any kind of plant to your rain garden. With how a rain garden works, using perennial plants are the best option. Any plants that you have in the center of your rain
garden should be ones that thrive with lots of water. They will be in the area with the most.
Now that we know what xeriscaping means, how do you practice it? It comes down to three major points – the plants you choose, which ones you avoid, and how you organize your yard.
For the type of plants, you want to look for drought-tolerant trees and shrubs. Plants that can live off of little to no water for an extended period of time are your best options.
What is Landscaping
Landscaping is something we’ve practiced for centuries. When we manipulate the land to what we want, whether it be for aesthetic or practical reasons, that is landscaping.
In our modern world, landscaping consists of the plan, layout, and construction or gardens and accessories to boost the aesthetics of a property. It also creates a place for people to hang out and do outdoor activities around the home.
Just like with xeriscaping, you do have to be aware of how you manipulate the land and what you plant. Not every plant can withstand every climate. Depending on what the main purpose of
your yard is, that will also help dictate your landscape plan. That is why it’s essential to map out what you want to do before tackling the project.
Which is Better?
Deciding on whether or not xeriscaping or landscaping is better; it all comes down to where you live. In a northern region of the country, landscaping would work fine as they likely see more
rainfall. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of the sustainability benefits of xeriscaping.
Down south, xeriscaping is likely the better option of the two, especially if you live in areas that have water restrictions. Again, that doesn’t mean you can’t use parts of landscaping techniques as well. Unless you have water restrictions, if you’re willing to pay for using more water, you could go with a full landscape.
Spend some time learning about your climate and the type of weather you get on average. That will answer the question as to whether or not xeriscaping or landscaping is better.