If you live in a region of the country that experiences frequent droughts, it may be time to convert your yard into a xeriscape garden. This type of landscaping replaces thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant and eco-friendly plants, especially native ones. If done correctly, a xeriscape garden can even eliminate the need for supplemental watering beyond what Mother Nature chooses to provide. Unfortunately, some people cringe at the idea of converting their yards to xeriscape gardens, assuming that they will be dull and filled with unattractive cacti. In reality, a xeriscape yard can be just as attractive – if not more so -- than a traditional lawn and garden, especially when it is designed with the help of a professional hardscape service in your area.
What Is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping refers to the placement of fixed objects and man-made features in your yard. These may include but are not limited to:
- Rocks and boulders
- Retaining walls
When carefully placed into a well-thought-out design, these hardscape features can truly enhance a xeriscape garden. That is why it is so important to work with a hardscape designer who will listen carefully to your wants and desires before taking these ideas and turning them into your own private oasis.
Rock Garden or Rock and Roll Playground
For example, if you are into yoga, mindfulness and meditation, a professional hardscape designer might create a Zen-style xeriscape garden for you that features a Japanese rock garden as its focal point. These rock gardens, which use gravel or sand raked to imitate the ripples in water, make an excellent alternative to an actual water feature, such as a koi pond. A hardscape designer might also recommend appropriate benches or other seating for you to use while meditating as well as attractive drought-resistant plants that will enhance the beauty of your Zen garden.
If, on the other hand, you want to use your xeriscape garden as an outdoor living room, your hardscape designer will more than likely create a large patio area for you that will be perfect for barbecuing and that will also have enough room for an outdoor television screen, large comfy, weatherproof couches and, perhaps, a chiminea to warm you on cold fall evenings. And because hardscape designers understand the importance of the flow of a design, they will also work to make your yard aesthetically pleasing to the eye. So instead of creating a traditional square or rectangular patio, for example, they might design a gently curving patio that will blend more naturally with the contours of your property.
In addition, a professional hardscape designer will also design your xeriscape garden to address potential problems before they occur. For example, even in areas where droughts are common, drainage in a xeriscape garden can be an issue. In fact, in many of these areas, when it does finally decide to rain, it will pour. So flash flooding can be a problem, especially if a xeriscape garden was poorly designed.
No Drought? A Xeriscape Garden May Still be Right for You
Although xeriscape gardens are mostly found in drought-prone areas, they are actually appropriate for all types of geographic regions. And they are, in fact, growing in popularity in many areas as they offer homeowners the following benefits:
- Low maintenance. Xeriscape gardens typically require little to no mowing. Pruning, raking and other garden chores are also reduced or entirely eliminated.
- Reduced water bills. A xeriscape garden can reduce your water use by 50 percent. So even if you don't live in a drought-prone area, having a xeriscape garden can be worth the cost savings.
And in some areas, a beautifully done xeriscape and hardscape garden can even raise your property values, making this water-saving design a win/win addition to your home that is both good for the environment and for you.