What is xeriscaping?

Originating in Colorado in the 1980s, xeriscaping was part of a joint initiative between the Denver water department and various nonprofits to educate the public about water-conscious landscaping. Since then, it’s become a growing trend among gardeners and landscapers all over the American West.

“Here in Utah, about 1 out of every 15 projects we do is a xeriscape,” says Perry Bratt, co-founder of the landscaping company Stratton & Bratt. “Though it has evolved some over the years, at its core, xeriscaping is about using as little water as possible.”

But xeriscaping isn’t exclusively about watering your garden less frequently. It’s also about being smart about what you plant and how you landscape—as both of these things have a major impact on how much water you really need.

“The main goal of xeriscaping is to increase landscaping efficiency,” says Elle Meager of Outdoor Happens. “When you increase the landscaping efficiency, the demand for water goes down—and your savings can quickly mount.”

So what does increasing landscaping efficiency actually mean? Let’s dive into some xeriscaping basics to find out.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.473.0_en.html#goog_1770745895Volume 0% 

How to start xeriscaping

Here are some basic concepts of xeriscaping that will help reduce the amount of water your garden needs.

Improve your soil: One of the easiest ways to get started xeriscaping is by improving the moisture-retention abilities of your garden soil.

“If you’re planning to minimize the amount of water that your plants receive, then they need all the help they can get,” says Meager. “That’s why amending the soil and adding compost is one of the core principles of xeriscaping.”

By adding nutrient-rich compost with moisture-retention properties, you’ll help your plants stay healthier and happier between waterings. Consider also adding mulch or peat moss to your topsoil to retain even more moisture.

Ditch your lawn: Another relatively simple way to xeriscape your backyard is by ditching your grass lawn, and any other non-native plants requiring oodles of precious water.