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What is xeriscaping?


Xeriscaping refers to landscaping in ways that do not require supplemental irrigation. It is promoted in areas that do not have easily accessible supplies of fresh water, and is catching on in other areas as climate patterns shift.  The word xeriscaping was coined by combining xeros (Greek for "dry") with landscape.


Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. XeriscapeTM and the xeriscape logo are registered trademarks of Denver Water, the water department of Denver, Colorado.  They were created by the Front Range Xeriscape Task Force of Denver Department in 1978. 


A surprising amount of water is used in the home landscape. Studies have shown that as much as 70% of water from a municipal water system can be attributed to residential use. In addition to municipal water sources, a percentage of water from private sources or wells also goes to residential use. Of water used at homes, almost half is used to maintain the landscape.

Traditionally, plants native to England, Japan, the East Coast of the United States, and other regions with much higher precipitation have been used in landscaping regardless of climate and rainfall. To successfully grow these plants, the natural precipitation must be supplemented with our limited surface and groundwater (i.e. with sprinklers and watering).


Xeriscape is not a landscape style or garden design. Xeriscape is a concept of water conservation that may be applied to landscapes of any style, from traditional to English, Japanese, Southwestern, and others. They may be formal or natural looking.


Xeriscape incorporates seven water-conserving principles:

  1.  Water-wise planning and design
  2. Drought tolerant plants
  3. Appropriate size turf areas
  4. Harvest water where possible
  5. Efficient irrigation equipment and design
  6. Mulch & soil amendments
  7. Proper maintenance practices



Water-wise planning and design

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Drought tolerant plants

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Appropriate size turf areas

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Harvest water where possible

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Efficient irrigation equipment and design

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Mulch & soil amendments

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Proper maintenance practices

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