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Xeriscaping 101

xeriscape landscaping

When you water your lawn during hot Texas summers, you might as well be lining your hose with dollar bills.

Most of Texas, including the City of Austin, experienced historic drought conditions in 2010-2011, leading Austin to impose strict watering restrictions. Even with recent heavy rains, another drought could be right around the corner. Making matters worse, thousands of people are moving to Austin, which causes increased demand for water.

What this means is that water supplies in Central Texas are limited, and costs for water will continue to rise. In light of increased costs and watering restrictions, what’s the best way to keep your front yard looking great through our long, hot Texas summers?

At ABC Home and Commercial Services, we have a solution: xeriscaping.

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping replaces high-water, high-maintenance plants with native and adapted plants. It also introduces rock formations and other landscape features that require no supplemental watering.

You can incorporate drought-hardy plants within traditional garden beds and planters, or you can transform an entire yard into a xeriscaped landscape using native plants, rock gardens, and statues or other great features.

When done properly, xeriscaped gardens are extremely attractive and eye-catching, and will often improve the value of your property.

Xeriscape Design

Good xeriscape designs take your existing property features into consideration. By developing a design that works with your home’s architecture, trees, and your personal taste, it’s possible to design a new landscape that is both water-efficient and pleasing to the eye.

One method to xeriscape your property involves a technique called earthworks. Earthwork landscaping creates new garden features through the addition of soil, gravel or rock. Some ideas for xeriscape gardens with earthworks might be the installation of a rock or zen garden, a garden that mimics a dry creek bed (perhaps with a waterfall feature), or perhaps another design involving crushed gravel, rounded pebbles, boulders, with or without additional plants.

berming austin landscaping earthworks

Xeriscaping also incorporates native and adapted plants that are heat-tolerant and drought-resistant. You could design a Southwestern-style garden with native cactuses, agaves, and yuccas, or fill a bed with native wildflowers including Texas sage and Mexican blankets. Many shrubs and vines are also drought-hardy, so you could train trumpet vines on a trellis or line a walkway with native yaupon holly or bottlebrush shrubs.

And don’t think that Xeriscaping means doing away with colorful gardens. A landscape filled with skullcap, sage, crossvine, and lantana will be bursting with bright shades of pink, orange, yellow and purple all summer long.

For those who want to have some green areas around their house, there are certain species of grass, such as buffalo grass and some of the clumping prairie grasses that require far less water than Bermuda or St. Augustine grass, and are easier to care for during the hot summer months. Tall grasses can also add dramatic touches to any garden.
Plants for Xeriscaping
To give you an idea of the wide variety of shrubs, flowers, grasses, vines and groundcovers that work well in low-water gardening, below is a brief list of a few of the dozens of plants suitable for xeriscaping in Austin, TX.

  • Cactus
  • Agave
  • Artemesia
  • Agarita
  • Bicolor Iris
  • Heartleaf Skullcap
  • Mexican Mint Marigold
  • Penstemon
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Rock Rose
  • Salvia
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Yucca
  • Big Bluestem
  • Mexican Feathergrass

Call Out the Experts

Redoing your entire yard to be more drought-tolerant is a big job. For ideas on how you can incorporate xeriscaping on your property, contact ABC Home and Commercial Services Austin. We’ll send out our experts to review your current landscape and recommend ways we can help you beautify your property while saving water and reducing maintenance costs. We can even draw up new designs and build your new garden for you.

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