Xeriscaping: A New Approach to Landscaping
In this article we will talk about the benefits of xeriscaping, the cost of xeriscaping, the limitations of xeriscaping and how to get around it, and rebate programs that make implementation of xeriscaping less expensive for you.
As you must be aware, water is increasingly becoming a limited resource. Research has shown that more than 50% of household water use goes toward landscaping. Over the year the water usage bill does add up considerably. Xeriscaping can use 70% less water if done correctly as it makes full use of the rainfall. This can be done by:
Using native plants species
Smart grouping of plants: the plants with similar water requirements to be grouped together
Use of some drought-resistant plants
Breaking up the landscape by putting in walkways and patios in the areas which get the heaviest foot traffic so that those areas save water (helpful accessory: rainwater collectors; drought-resistant plants).
Xeriscaping leads to time savings as you need to spend significantly less amount of time mowing, weeding and fertilizing the lawn.
Increases property value:
For those of you who are looking to sell their property, xeriscaping considerably increases the property value due to its well-maintained look and lushness.
For those of you who are looking to go green, what better way than xeriscaping. You will be doing your part in reducing pollutants in the air by eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides. You will also be creating awareness for the native plant species.
Studies have shown that xeriscaping cuts cooling cost by 46% due to its trees and shrubs as compared to the 4% of traditional lawns with no vegetation.
Cost and Savings of Xeriscaping
A xeriscaped lawn has an average payback period of 4 to 7 years. This is because of:
Elimination of fertilizers
Significantly low water usage bills
Significantly less maintenance required
Another savings which you should consider while xeriscaping is the volumetric savings in water. A 1,000 square foot lawn requires more than 132,000 liters of water each year. If you use native plants and drought-tolerant plants, you will require only around 55,000 liters of water a year. This is significant savings in your water bill and you still get a lawn that is well-maintained and colorful.One study which had looked into a standard Kentucky Bluegrass lawn with trees and shrubs found that it required 79 liters per square foot and the xeriscaped version of the yard only required 13 liters per square foot! Now that is savings.
Limitations of Xeriscaping and how to get around it
Like all trends, xeriscaping has its limitations:
Initially, it is labor intensive as you will have to prepare your lawn for xeriscaping
Choice of plants is limited
If you are new to the area you may not be familiar with the climate and native plant species
The initial cost of planting vegetation can be high
Budget constrictions may not allow you to do all that you want in xeriscaping
Periodic maintenance is required like pruning, deadheading.
Rebate programs for Xeriscaping
Many local governments provide rebate programs encouraging water-wise landscaping. Some rebates provide $500 for removing 500 square feet of grass. Through the U.S. Green Building Council, you can earn LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) points which may also get you tax credits.