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Plant Xeriscape Gardens to Conserve Water and Beautify Trouble Zones

When you plant Xeriscape gardens you will conserve water, have gardens and landscapes more tolerant of drought conditions, and use native plants that have adapted to accept lower moisture levels. Derived from “xeros,” the Greek word for “dry,” successful xeriscapes far surpasses the desert garden look often associated with it.

Before acting on your own xeriscaping ideas, consider these elements:
*Setting
*Exposures
*Slopes
*Soil
*Irrigation potential

With such crucial elements at the center of your garden planning, design is your number one starting place. Xeriscape gardens require careful planning, especially where water conservation and run off control are top priorities.

Setting affects xeriscaping plans in various ways. Slopes, southern and western exposures, and other similar issues will lead to run off problems and maximum evaporation. Where slopes are an issue, terracing is the most effective measure for reducing water run off and promoting soil soak.

Trees and shrubs can incorporated into your xeriscape design for shade. Shade helps to cool natural hot zones, and that means cooler soil and lower evaporation rates.

Where high levels of sand exist, water retention is low. Where clay content is heavy, run off is excessive. For the greatest potential of supporting plant life and conserving water:
*Compost your soil before planting adding every year
*Amend your soil to balance sand, silt, and
*Establish a volume pore space of about 50%

Ideal soil includes:
*Aggregates (clusters)
*Sand
*Pore space
Balancing sand, silt, and clay promotes the balance for ideal soaking and water conservation. As the water directs through each of these components, evaporation is minimized, run off is avoided, and deep soaking is increased.

Among the drought tolerant trees that typically blend with xeric landscapes in various areas are:
*Elms
*Ginkgo
*Oaks
*Hackberry
Place any of these trees strategically to optimize their role in your xeriscape garden.

Shrubs that help with shade include:
*Holly
*Nandina
*Juniper
Each of these may be included to create a unique aesthetic within your garden. Spindly pines and low junipers offer pleasing desert garden effects.

Flowers that work well are native plants adapted to specific climates and drought tolerant perennials.
*Salvias
*Coreopsis
*Rudbeckia
*Coneflower
*Black-eyed Susan
*Ornamental succulents

The most successful xeriscape gardens are designed to include efficient irrigation systems. Efficient irrigation systems DO NOT:
*Mist
*Overlap
*Drive or patio watering
Observe the flow of your irrigation lines to determine that each of these inefficient practices is eradicated. Outlying shrubs, raised plants, trees, and narrow strips of turf will benefit from drip systems.

Two other techniques that help to create successful water conservation in your xeriscape design are proper mulching and decrease of lawn coverage. Organic mulches are excellent choices as they add nutrients to the garden as they break down; attract worms, and cool soil. Synthetic choices are counterproductive as they increase heat and decrease moisture retention.

Once you have established your well-planned xeriscape landscape, water, at least, should be zero hassle.

Cheryl D. Jones writes articles on gardening tips and landscaping ideas for the home gardener. Her website, GreenwoodNursery.com, offers the best selection of xeric gardening plants including nut trees, flowering shrubs, lavender plants, evergreen perennials, shade loving ground covers, ornamental grasses and small fruiting plants to mix in with the everyday landscape.

Visitors will find an almost limitless vault of gardening tips articles on most all gardening and landscaping topics along with expert gardening advice and landscaping help.

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