Joe and Jim both lived in the SouthEast and worked as landscapers. Both were well-known and had established companies. Joe used xeriscaping as a way of saving his clients money in the long-run, but Jim did not. While Jim’s company still maintained clients, Joe’s company expanded because he could promise cuts to long-term costs.
So what is it and why can it help you expand your business?
Xeriscaping – The Little to No-turf, Low Maintenance, Drought Resistant Alternative
As a landscaper, you are familiar with the typical landscape design and its installation, which usually calls for a lot of turf as ground cover. And that often calls for an expensive irrigation system to keep all that grass green.
Then there are the various thirsty plants, shrubs, and trees that might be right at home in a wet English garden, but wouldn’t last a season in a hot environment. Sure, that hydrangea is beautiful in bloom, but given that the temperature is going to hit 100 degrees, it might be a little too much effort in a particular design.
If you haven’t already, consider incorporating some of the elements of xeriscaping into your landscaping plans.
In case you didn’t already know, “xeros” (the x is pronounced like z, like zeriscaping) is Greek for “dry,” and “scape” is Greek for “view.” Xeriscaping is a kind of landscaping that uses and arranges native and drought-resistant plants in a way that minimizes the need for irrigation.
The Many Benefits of Xeriscaping
Not only does xeriscaping conserve the use of water, but it is also low maintenance, and keeps the job looking good with less effort than traditional landscapes that use a lot of creeping turf and misplaced thirsty plant material.
Native beauty – Choosing to xeriscape doesn’t mean planting a bunch of cacti, though. It calls for the use of native plants that naturally handle the hot extremes that your particular environment throws at you.
Conserve water – As already mentioned, the big benefit of xeriscaping is that it shouldn’t require a whole lot of irrigation. By using the right combination of native and drought-resistant plants, mulch and hardscaping, you can create a horticultural environment that doesn’t have to have the sprinkler system running every day. In fact, the design may not require any buried irrigation system at all.
Conserve cash – Less water equals a smaller water bill. If we are talking about landscaping a larger commercial area, those water bills become real money over time. A good selling point for your clients is that the upfront investment of hardscaping materials will cost much less to maintain over time as compared to turf that needs near year-round attention in some parts.
Low maintenance – Once installed, a good xeriscape design doesn’t require a whole bunch of coddling. Mostly it just requires a little spot treatment to deal with unwanted volunteers that make their way into the landscaped area. The plan should decrease the need to mow grass or do away with it all together.
The Seven Principles of Xeriscaping
- As with all landscaping projects, xeriscaping starts with the design. Factors to consider are your budget, intended maintenance for the installation, plants to be used, slopes, sunny and shaded areas. Also, consideration needs to be given to hardscape materials like parking lots, sidewalks, patios, decks, rocks, and mulch.
- Have the soil analyzed, but not just for the pH level. The soil you are working with might need to be amended to include more organic material. Organic material will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.
- There is always the all-important task of selecting the right plants. Consider how big the plants will get overtime. You don’t want your plants fighting and competing for light and moisture as they become established and get bigger. Make sure there is plenty of color in the xeriscape using flowering trees, shrubs, and other perennials. Consider using a ground cover with variegated leaves instead of thirsty annuals.
- Some turf may be called for. What distinguishes turf in xeriscaping is how you use it. Instead of just using grass as general ground cover, xeriscaping uses it for an actual purpose – as a play area, to control erosion or absorb heat.
- Efficient irrigation is the name of the game in xeriscaping. Drip irrigation is a proven way to conserve water, putting the moisture close to the roots and minimizing runoff. As the root systems of the plants you use become established over time, the less irrigating they’ll require.
- Use plenty of mulch. The idea is to pretty much cover every square inch of soil. Mulch keeps soil moist longer, prevents evaporation, and inhibits the growth of weeds and soil erosion. Different mulches to consider are pine straw, pine bark, rocks, ornamental gravel, and even different colors of conventional pine mulches.
- Maintenance of the landscape is important to consider. Too much fertilizer can create thirsty plants. Be sure to control for weeds. Not only do they take away from the aesthetic beauty of the landscape, but they also soak up moisture that your chosen plant material could be using. Remove poorly performing plant materials that are consuming too much of your time and money. Don’t prune shrubs and trees more than is necessary – recuperating plants soak up more water.
Recommended Plant Material for your Xeriscaping Project
When it comes to selecting the right ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees and other drought-resistant and native plant materials, we got you covered.
At our nursery you’ll find the following quality grown material to incorporate into your xeriscape plan: Lantana, salvia, coontie, sago, saw palm, dwarf palmetto, fire bush, beautyberry, longleaf pine, muhly grass, agave, mimosa, dune sunflower, soap aloe, bulbine, cardboard palm, Fakahatche grass, Adams needle, Georgia catmint, native rosemary…just to name a few.
Get in touch with us here at G&S Nursery! We are ready and waiting to discuss plant selection and your xeriscaping plans with you.
As always, we’re here to help you with all your nursery needs, whatever they are.
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