Reduction is the best way to start a zero-waste lifestyle. As water is a valuable resource, reducing our H20 usage is the simplest way to start. Around our homes the areas that use the most water include the laundry, washrooms, and outdoor gardens. It’s easy to turn off a tap or take shorter showers, however when your living, growing plants require a drink, the situation becomes difficult. The solution – Xeriscaping.
The word xeriscape was first coined by Denver Water in 1981 and is derived from the Greek word xeros meaning dry. But, why is xeriscaping the best choice? “Dry landscaping” involves selecting plants that are native to the area you live, that are suited to low moisture conditions, and mimics the natural environment. Loraas is here to provide you with three steps to help you succeed:
- What’s the plan?
The first essential step to xeriscaping is pre-planning as it allows you to understand the landscape you are working with and any restrictions. You must first take into consideration the elements that are already involved, including existing trees and plants, solid immovable structures including patios or sidewalks, shade or sun areas, and natural landscape slopes for water drainage.
- Don’t spoil the soil!
Understanding the qualities of your soil will help in the vegetation decision process and is essential to their survival. Remember, your plant choice should either be suited for the soil type you currently have or amended to fit their needs. If soil is lacking nutrients, adding organic compost or mulch (bark chips), to your landscape is a great fix. Both help your soil conserve water and add nutrients when they break down. The best part about mulch is it helps lessen weeds, which means you can spend more time enjoying your garden rather than weeding it. However, some low-water vegetation or succulents prefers no soil additives and very porous gravel. In these cases inorganic mulch, such as rock slabs or gravel, is acceptable too. To ensure the vegetation you decide on will not only thrive in the spot they will be planted and adapt or grow in your climate, always do your research. Native plants have a secondary advantage as they provide suitable foraging and nesting sites for native animals and increase the overall landscape health. Some examples of native Saskatchewan vegetation include Saskatoon berry, dogwood, willow, sage, crocus, gaillardia, wild columbine, and aster.
- Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink…
Water wisely, as all plants have different individual needs in order to flourish. Consider planting vegetation with similar water requirements together in areas of natural drainage or flow. If an irrigation system is required, consider installing an underground irrigation system or water turf areas separately from other plants. Remember, when watering your plants keep the nozzle low to reduce windblown spray and do not water during peak heat conditions to reduce evaporation (early mornings and late evenings work best). As a tip, water deep and infrequently to develop deep root systems; especially when the plant is establishing itself.
Water reduction is a great way to begin the zero-waste lifestyle. As a bonus gardening is a great way to spend time with family and relax. By switching to xeriscaping, you can start a green lifestyle and contribute to a healthier planet. Have you already tried xeriscaping? Show us a photo on social media @LoraasYXE on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Your journey may be an inspiration step for others too!
Greener Plants. 2019. 7 steps to xeriscaping. Accessed at: http://www.greenerplants.com/Xeriscaping.html. Accessed on: 21 February 2019.
Land Stewardship Centre. 2019. Xeriscaping. Accessed at: http://www.landstewardship.org/xeriscaping/. Accessed on: 21 February 2019.
University of Saskatchewan. 2018. Creating biodiversity in your yard. Accessed at: https://gardening.usask.ca/articles-how-to/creating-biodiversity-in-your-yard.php. Accessed on: 22 February 2019.