When it comes to the benefits of xeriscaping, it comes to the practical considerations of maintenance requirements, aesthetics and expenses. Xeriscaping means building a construction site that uses less water, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. So buyer beware!
Xeriscape Gardening Pro
(Maria’s point of view) For gardeners, xeriscaping is a smart way to adapt to the challenges of our changing climate, but xeriscaping doesn’t have to consist of boulders, gravel and cacti. As someone who lives in the high desert where this type of landscape is useful, here are my thoughts on the benefits of xeriscaping:
- A healthy environment: Global climate change is a big problem. Xeriscaping is a small but important way to compensate for the effects of frequent drought, higher temperatures and an increasing dependence on toxic chemicals to control pests and diseases.
- water: When it comes to xeriscape gardening professionals, conserving our precious water reserve is high on the list. Xeriscapate landscapes thrive with very little additional watering and in some climates it may not be necessary to drag the hose and sprinkler at all.
- aesthetics: With careful planning and the use of attractive native plants, a xeriscapato landscape can be a wonder to see. Cactus plants are delicious, but you can also include plump succulents, graceful ornamental herbs and colorful flowering plants. A xeriscapato garden can contain deciduous trees or shrubs or evergreens that provide color all year round.
- Versatility: Xeriscaping is typically a technique used in extremely dry climates or in areas affected by drought, but the technique can be used almost anywhere. You don’t need to xeriscape your whole garden or tear up a well-kept lawn. Start with a small corner, perhaps an area where nothing seems to grow or a place to punish sunlight. Have fun experimenting and see how the technique works before jumping with both feet.
- Maintenance: Ease of care is one of the leading xeriscape gardening professionals. Drought-resistant plants typically grow slower, which means that pruning, pruning and weeding are rarely needed. Desert plants and shrubs do not require fertilizers and are highly resistant to pests and diseases. After the first year, ease of maintenance is one of the main advantages of xeriscaping.
- expenses: When considering the benefits of xeriscaping, consider long term spending. The initial investment can be a little high but, once established, a low maintenance and drought tolerant garden can save gardeners a significant amount of money.
Cons of Xeriscaping
(Teo’s point of view) Xeriscaping glorifies “water-frugal” plants and materials for gardening as well as supporting native wildlife and can result in a garden that doesn’t look like a paradise where you can retreat from the world. And it can cost more in terms of money than you will recover for years with less water consumption. Here are my problems with xeriscaping:
- It does not support native ecosystems: When collecting plants for a garden, you need to use some guiding criteria in the selection process since there are so many species and cultivars available on the market. Many gardeners – myself included – love to plant native flora to help preserve the diversity of an ecosystem and support native insects, birds and small mammals. Xeriscaping is a plant selection system that focuses on water conservation. While this obviously reduces water consumption, it does not support native ecosystems like a natural garden would. Not all native plants are resistant to drought, however every native plant plays a role in the ecosystem in which you live.
- Rougher soil and fewer insects: Xeriscaping means an entire landscape, not just drought resistant plants. You must eliminate or cover all that soil that you have enriched with organic compost over the years and replace it with raw materials that efficiently retain and distribute the little available water. This usually means carrying hard and heavy materials such as wood chips and gravel. And the plants themselves are often rougher and more resistant, vegetation with thorns and sharp edges. While some insects may prefer this type of ecosystem, they will not be the same ones that rely on softer plants, large flowers or lots of foliage. Not even all gardeners or homeowners will like the harsher landscape. I personally consider the time I spend working in my garden as the happiest and quietest hours of the day and in summer I will deeply miss the lush green foliage and exaggerated flowers.
- More time and money: While xeriscaping is billed as a good choice for a gardener who wants to save time and money, check out these claims. While it is true that if you take out your lawn, you will not have to mow or water it, it is certainly not the whole thing and the end. Removing the lawn and changing the landscape is not cheap.
- Improper design problems: One of the main reasons why xeriscape gardens fail to satisfy homeowners is improper design. Xeriscape gardens must be carefully designed, as design errors will haunt you for years. This means that you will probably want to involve a landscape specialist and that also means more money.
Final thoughts on the Xeriscape gardens
Unlike traditional beautification methods, xeriscaping is sustainable in the future. It is also a wise use of available resources and an answer for busy gardeners who don’t have much time for high maintenance landscaping. That said … using less water is a noble plan, but let’s avoid all or nothing!
There are real disadvantages to taking something too far, as diets have shown us only with celery. Consider well before eliminating a courtyard that focuses on native plants to be replaced with a landscape that focuses on shallow water plants. This can hurt rather than help native wildlife and you may not like what you get. So if you want to try this landscaping method, start small.