Information About Xeriscape Gardens

Information About Xeriscape Gardens

Aromatic Desert Flowers: Fragrant Plants For Desert Regions

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

The desert can be a challenging area for gardeners, especially those looking to have a good smelling garden. However, it may not be as difficult as you think. There are several plants to choose from. For some fragrant plant ideas for your desert garden site, click here.

Popular Desert Wildflowers – Tips On Growing Wildflowers In The Desert

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Native desert-dwelling wildflowers are hardy plants that have adapted to arid climates and extreme temperatures. If you can provide all that these wildflowers require, there?s no reason you can?t grow them in your garden. Click here for more information.

Gardening Without Water – How To Garden In A Drought

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Knowing how to garden in a drought will protect your existing plants and can help you grow food crops in low moisture conditions. Use the tips for gardening in a drought, which are found in this article, to help get you started.

Drought Tolerant Rose Types: Are There Rose Plants That Resist Drought

By Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

It is possible to enjoy roses in drought conditions. Just look for drought tolerant rose types and plan things out beforehand to get the best performance possible. Read this article to learn more about the best drought tolerant roses.

Drought Tolerant Herbs: How To Grow Drought Hardy Herbs

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Many gardeners are looking for solutions to minimize water usage by seeking out plants that thrive with less irrigation. Growing a drought tolerant herb garden is ideal. How to grow drought hardy herbs and which culinary herbs resist drought? Read here to learn more.

Good Plants For Dry Areas: Water Storing Features Of Desert Plants

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Drought tolerant desert plants also have unique and wonderful adaptations while providing imaginative form and grace for easy care arid region gardening. Click on this article to get some suggestions on good plants for dry areas.

Xeriscape Shade Plants – Plants For Dry Shade

By Heather Rhoades

When creating a garden, sometimes you don't have enough sunny space, but you may be surprised to discover the variety of xeriscape shade plants that are available. Read here to learn more.

Xeriscape Landscape Design Ideas For Clay Soil

By Heather Rhoades

When creating a drought tolerant garden, one of the more difficult soil types to come up with xeriscaping ideas for is clay soil. But with a little knowledge from this article, that can be overcome.

Xeriscape Principles: Tips For Water-Wise Xeriscaping

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Armed with an understanding of basic xeriscape principles, we can enjoy beautiful gardens without wasting valuable resources. The article that follows provides tips for water wise gardening and xeriscape designs.

Xeriscape Design Ideas

By Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

The xeriscape planning and design process should not only organize landscape ideas but also identify the specific needs of the plants the gardener wants to use. This article will help.

The Gravel Myth Of Xeriscaping

By Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

When someone first discovers the idea of xericaping, they think there should be a vast amount of gravel incorporated into it. This is just not true. Learn more about this myth in the following article.


Dream Landscapes: 10 Perennial Gardens Inspired by Piet Oudolf

Considered “the most influential garden designer of the past 25 years,” Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf has done for perennial gardening what artist Leonard Koren did for the concept of wabi-sabi: popularized and modernized an under-the-radar movement. Oudolf’s approach to planting extends beyond the technical to concepts of composition, time and temporality, repetition, and contrast. His goal is to create “dream landscapes.”

While Oudolf cites designer Mien Ruys as his primary inspiration, it’s he who put her “New Perennial Movement” into motion on a global scale. Consider, for instance, New York City’s High Line, London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavillon, and a large-scale matrix planting project underway in Japan.

The designer’s perspective is so pervasive that the first glance of a lyrical garden has us thinking “Piet” every time. Here we’ve gathered 10 dreamscapes of soft grasses and four-season garden beds, each with a decidedly Oudolfian attitude.

Above: Landscape architect firm Nelson Byrd Woltz designed 22 acres in Virginia with native species in mind. One is Pink Muhly Grass, a feathery varietal that creates a pink wash across the horizon when it’s in bloom. Photograph by Eric Piasecki/OTTO. Above: A Napa Valley vineyard retreat is complete with surrounding gardens by San Francisco-based Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture. The garden was planted with, as the designer say, “seasonal color and strategic circulation,” with narrow wooden pathways reminiscent of Ouldolf’s Lurie Garden in Chicago. Photograph courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture. Above: Designer Julie Farris’ own private garden is a version of New York City’s High Line scaled to fit a rooftop in Brooklyn. Photograph by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista. Above: A native of northern Italy, Turin-based landscape architect Cristiana Ruspa of Giardino Segreto creates the sorts of gardens you see in a dream, with hazy swaths of color against a distant horizon. Photograph by Dario Fusaro courtesy of Cristiana Ruspa. Above: A meadow of red fescue grass creates a hazy, romantic focal point in the distance in a former cornfield on Long Island. For more of this landscape by La Guardia Design Group, see Dune Story: A Postmodern Masterpiece Saved from the Sea. Photograph courtesy of La Guardia Design Group.

Above: From Cristiana Ruspa of Giardino Segreto, a garden of delicate Mediterranean ornamentals at Rocca Civalieri Hotel and Spa in northern Italy. For more. see Rehab Diaries: Resurrection of a Medieval Nobleman’s Garden. Photograph by Dario Fusaro courtesy of Cristiana Ruspa. Above: A minimalist garden by Edmund Hollander is a singular approach to borders of perennial grass. For more see our post Required Reading: The Private Oasis. Above: Grass guru John Greenlee paints with plants. Muhlenbergia rigens (at R) is a native California bunch grass that grows quickly and sends up a 2-foot-high haze of fronds. For more, see Expert Advice: 8 Tips for a Meadow Garden. Photograph courtesy of Greenlee and Associates. Above: Another of Greenlee’s meadow planting schemes is a mix of Carex pansa (on the path), Pennisetum spathiolatum (at R), and Spartina bakeri (L). Photograph courtesy of Greenlee and Associates.
Above: Adam Woodruff & Associates of St. Louis, Missouri won the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Professional Landscape with a project in Girard, Illinois. Judge Flora Grubb noted: “The garden at Jones Road doesn’t so much borrow the surrounding landscape as collect it. The plantings near the house evoke the spirit of the long view, but with an intensified palette that remains prairie–subtle and intoxicating.” Photograph of Adam Woodruff & Associates.

To get the Oudolf look in your garden:

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various perennial plants with our Perennials: A Field Guide.


Plants most suited to xeriscape landscaping are sometimes referred to as "xeric" plants. These are plants with low water requirements and that therefore handle drought well. Of course, drought-tolerance is relative. A plant considered drought-tolerant in the northeastern United States. might be baked to a crisp in desert country. So your options will be increased in the former region and reduced in the latter. Keep that consideration in mind as you browse the following resources on drought-resistant plants:

Here are some colorful choices from these and other plant categories:


  • Becca Rodomsky-Bish
  • October 20, 2015
  • Design AdviceMappingNative PlantsWaterDroughtDryWater WiseXeriscapeGrassesGroundNon-woody PlantsWaterWater Guru
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Xeriscaping continues to gain popularity around the world as people discover the benefits of this landscaping technique. In Latin, xero means dry and scape means landscape or view. As an official landscaping technique, xeriscaping seems to have ‘originated’ in the 1980’s as a result of ongoing, multi-year droughts plaguing the Western, United States, but people have been planting to match their climate for centuries.

Landscapers–from California to the Rocky Mountains–were seeking a way to create gardens less dependent on irrigation without sacrificing aesthetic-appeal. Denver Water, the largest and oldest public water utility in Denver, Colorado, coined the term and began to formally define the main principles of xeriscaping for members of the Denver community interested in modifying gardening practices to save water open_in_new. Though it began in an effort to engage in water conservation in dry areas, it evolved to include a broader set of goals captured in the guidelines below.

Many arid communities, from the deserts of the southwest to the chaparrals of California have adopted xeriscape principles. Given the routine dry periods these regions experience, xeriscaping is very logical. As recently as 2006, researchers identified that in the southwest 60-80% open_in_new of water used by individual households was for landscape irrigation (watering a lawn accounts for a majority of it). Installing xeriscape gardens, as a Nevada study open_in_new showed, reduced water bills by 50% (with massive 70% average reductions during summer months). Participants also reported reduced labor effort of 26.4%, since their new yards required less maintenance, like lawn mowing and manicuring.

Xeriscaping doesn’t just have to be for arid climates. These principles can be implemented in all ecoregions and lead to positive outcomes like reduced weeds, the creation of dense native plantings, less yard maintenance, minimized use of pesticides and fertilizers, and reduction of non-native lawns. In an attempt to understand why people choose to engage in xeriscaping, researchers in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada identified two neighborhoods with homeowners that had engaged in xeriscape landscaping. open_in_new Twenty families were interviewed regarding their choices for their yards, their motivations, and the consequences of their gardening choices. They discovered water conservation took a back seat to aesthetics and the joy of gardening as the primary motivations for adopting xeriscaping principles.

The results of this research show that households with xeriscape landscaping were motivated mainly by factors related to landscape aesthetic and physical activity rather than water conservation.

Xeriscaping does not come without costs. One study found that modifications were between $1.30-$2.00 per sq ft depending on whether homeowners did the work themselves or hired a contractor open_in_new. These inputs are upfront costs for materials like native plants, mulch, stones, and tools. Over time, however, there are substantial savings with lower water bills and reduced maintenance costs. There are also cash-back incentives and rebates associated with improving resource use in your landscaping in some areas. Check with local city and state websites to determine what might be available in your area.

Not convinced yet? Need a dose of aesthetic motivation? Check-out these beautiful xeriscapes in houzz for creative ideas for your yard.

Add your xeriscape to your map

On your map, create a Ground Habitat ( ) for your xeriscape

Open the Basic Information tag and label your ground Xeriscape (or whatever you like).

Now open the Characteristics Tab and describe the type of ground in your xeriscape feature (gravel, mulch, rock, sand, and soil are the options).

You are also encouraged to add any comments about your spot where it is located, what types of plants are used, how often you water or if you do not water…etc.

Now, zoom in on your ground habitat and add objects that are located in this area. For example, the specific shrubs ( ), trees ( ), cactus ( ), flowers ( ), bird baths ( ), boulders ( ),…etc that can be found in this habitat.

Make sure to complete the characteristics for each plant and object you add. Identifying plants by species is a great way to make your map complete.

ALTERNATIVE HABITAT CHOICE: Some may find that their xeriscape garden is more of a flower and herb garden, or grassland. This is especially true in non-arid regions that use xeriscape techniques. In this case, use the Flowersherbs or Grassland habitat options. Make sure to label the habitat and complete the characteristics (for flowers and herbs you can even set irrigation frequency, which for true xeriscaping should be pretty infrequent once the plants are established).

Other Resources:
For looking up native plants to use: Lady Bird Johnshon Wildflower.
When you search for a native plant make sure that it is adapted to the type of light, soil, and moisture conditions of the site.

Basic google search for Xeriscape Brochure will provide links to brochures that are regionally focused and may provide some plant ideas. Be cautious as not all recommendations are native plants.

Information on xeriscaping with some plant recommendations.


Watch the video: Watersaver Lane - Xeriscaping with native plants