Xeriscape – The Art of Water-Wise Landscaping
By Joe Feather, Woodlake Outdoor
Water conservation plays a significant part of landscape design particularly in the central to northern Texas regions. To create the most beautiful, lasting landscapes while respecting the Texas climate, consider drought tolerant designs.
Essentially, plants that classify as drought tolerant are those which “function completely normally in dry conditions. They continue to flower, set seed, and generally thrive in dry conditions.”1 Incorporating resistant perennials (xeric plants) strategically into a landscape combines beauty with conservation.
The way Woodlake Outdoor designs our landscapes begins with matching like-climatic species with similar moisture requirements together, so when the landscape is watered one plant type does not receive more or less water than it needs. This design methodology – often referred to as xeriscaping – is the practice of laying out a landscape into three distinct regions.
Mini Oasis Zone
Planted within the mini oasis are high-water-use plants, such as the lawn or colorful annuals. Generally, this zone is placed nearest the building or residence. It is often a high-traffic area used for personal enjoyment, pet use and gathering.
Within the transitional zone, we blend the lush and drier (drought tolerant) aspects of the landscape. Plants that need more infrequent supplemental watering (once per week or less) are planted here. The transitional zone offers depth and artistry to the landscape, while reducing water usage and cost.
The most drought tolerant species are planted here, on the perimeter of the building or residence. These species require the least amount of watering; usually the area rainfall is sufficient for their sustainability.
Drought tolerant plants are not drought tolerant when they are first planted. Every plant, shrub, and tree – drought tolerant or not – must be initially well-watered for a period of time (usually 4-12 weeks). This establishes the plant, giving it time to acclimate and set the roots. Once the plant is established, begin to ease off on watering to build up a tolerance for less water. Do not just stop watering a plant after its establishment – that will result in the death of the plant.
Once plants are established into the landscape and have been correctly transitioned from frequent watering, the xeriscape will transform into a lasting, beautiful, water-wise landscape.
Plant Selection Guide
We would like to share with you an excellent resource listing plant, shrub, and tree varieties specifically suited for central Texas. Published by Texas AgriLife Extension Services, this plant guide offers concise and comprehensive details for the best Native and Adapted Plants for Central Texas.
If you have further questions regarding the art of xeriscaping, or any other landscape design / maintenance questions, please reach out to us.
At Woodlake Outdoor, we strive to provide enjoyment for all who interact with the spaces we create while respecting the elegance and power of nature.