Smart 55: Eight steps to a xeriscape garden

Xeriscaping is the process of choosing plants which are compatible with the water conditions of a given area.

Xeriscaping is the process of choosing plants which are compatible with the water conditions of a given area. Applying xeriscape principles to the landscape not only cuts down on water usage but allows you to still enjoy a beautiful, low-maintenance yard and garden. It doesn’t get much better than that!

With a very dry summer forecast for the 2015 season, here are eight basic steps to get you started:

1.) Planning and Design:  The first step is to sketch out the yard area you want to xeriscape, and assess areas for sun, shade and natural moisture so that you can plan plantings appropriately.

2.) Improve the Soil.  In our region, we tend to have either heavy clay or sandy soils, both of which need to have organic matter added to improve soil structure. Consider adding compost, aged manure or leaf mold.

3.) Water Wise Lawns. Minimize your overall lawn area and choose drought hardy grass species. Or let your lawn follow the natural weather cycles and allow it to ‘go gold’ for the summer, greening again with fall rains.

4.) Water Efficiently and Appropriately.  Xeriscaped gardens prefer deeper, less-frequent watering. Use soaker hoses and drip lines as much as possible; place lawns away from water-needy trees, and avoid sprinklers that throw water high into the air; water early in the morning or later at night; and don’t water when it is windy or raining.

5.) Select Plants Appropriate for the Climate and Group According to Water Needs. Most of our local garden centres now carry ‘drought-hardy’ plants. Not only do they need much less water, they also tend to start earlier in the spring and last longer into the fall. Group plants together according to their water requirements, so you can keep higher water users together and plant these in areas where there may be natural water drainage.

6.) Mulch to Reduce Evaporation. This also cools the roots of your plants, reduces weed growth, slows erosion, and ‘finishes’ your garden. Mulch is your gardening ally, and as it breaks down will also improve the soil. There are many things you can use as mulch, such as straw, wood chips, leaves, grass clippings and compost. Mulch 7-10 cm deep, keep it away from tree base and plant stems and top up regularly.

7.) Rain Barrel. Even a xeriscape garden will need water in times of prolonged drought. Reduce your use of our limited town drinking water supply by collecting water in rain barrels for use in your garden.

8.) Maintenance. No garden is maintenance free, and although xeriscape maintenance chores are much like any other garden, you will find it takes significantly less time to keep things looking good. Good Luck and Happy Gardening!

This article was produced by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (CCCS) at 250-398-7929 and ccentre@ccconserv.org. For more information on Xeriscape Gardening, pick up a brochure at the CCCS office, one of the local garden centres, or online at www.ccconserv.org (in Water Wise section).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read