While Austin is not strictly speaking a semi-arid area, it does sometimes straddle the line between being subtropical and somewhat dry, with a limited amount of rain throughout the year.
Particularly over the past year or two, Austin’s ongoing water scarcity has been of concern, prompting the city to implement water conservation directives to help preserve the limited amount of water available to residents.
As sprinkler repair experts, we at South Austin Irrigation thought it would be a good idea to share some summer lawn care advice that can help you preserve water, thus not only contributing to the community but also saving money on watering costs.
What Is Xeriscaping?
The term xeriscaping comes from a combination of the Greek word “xeros”, which means dry, and the English word “scape”, which means a scene or a view ‒ as in landscape.
Therefore, xeriscaping is all about creating landscapes that are dry and require minimal additional water to remain alive. Generally speaking, xeriscaping works best when local flora is used to ensure the greatest suitability for the region in which the garden is being nurtured.
When indigenous plants are used for xeriscaping, they are more likely to survive and even thrive in the type of soil and climate of the area. It also means that they will require minimal additional watering, as they will already be used to the rainfall levels in the area.
What Are Some Good Local Plants For Xeriscaping?
Although local plants are always preferable, any kind of plant that thrives in water-scarce environments can be good for xeriscaping. Generally, succulents and different varieties of cactus or aloe tend to fare well for long periods with little water. Although when they do get water, their growth explodes, so you get the best of both worlds.
However, if you want to try some other types of plants that add a bit more variety to the mix, then you might want to try adding some of the following to your garden:
This drought-tolerant perennial shrub produces beautiful orange, pink, and yellow flowers during the spring or when it gets some water.
This tough little evergreen shrub thrives on little water and produces gorgeous pink flowers whenever it rains.
This shrub loses its leaves in the fall but grows lovely red tubular flowers in the spring, attracting hummingbirds to your yard.
This is another perennial shrub that does well in drought areas. It produces yellow flowers that look very similar to daisies.
Hill Country Penstemon
If you’re more keen on having lavender flowers in your garden, then this perennial plant is ideal, as it likes well-drained soil. The tubular flowers attract many pollinators.
Another perennial plant with lavender-colored flowers, this drought-suited shrub is perfect for xeriscaping in style.
The Texas Soto shrub looks like an explosion of spiky leaves, which is quite striking in appearance. This drought-resistant shrub is called an architectural plant on account of its unique structural appearance.
This gorgeous little ornamental flower shrub blooms in the winter months and thrives in areas with very little rainfall.
Other General Tips for Expert Xeriscaping
Group Your Plants According to Their Watering Requirements
One excellent way to manage your water usage during times of drought is to plan your landscape design carefully by grouping plants into hydrozones based on the frequency and amount of watering they each require. By doing this, you can minimize the amount of water wasted on overwatering certain plants and also reduce the incidence of underwatering others.
Prepare and Maintain the Soil
The quality of your garden’s soil will dictate how well things grow. By integrating lots of healthy compost and organic matter into the soil, you will not only ensure that it is rich in nutrients but also that it will retain water more effectively. Mulching the soil will also ensure that root growth is healthy while regulating the temperature of the soil and preventing weed growth.
Install and Maintain an Efficient Irrigation System
Installing a smart and water-efficient irrigation system will help ensure that your xeriscaped garden thrives. A lot of water can be wasted by having an irrigation system that is functioning suboptimally due to a lack of proper maintenance. To ensure that it is functioning at maximum efficiency, you should have an irrigation specialist come out to regularly inspect your landscape and recommend adjustments, additions, or improvements to your sprinkler system.
Contact the sprinkler repair and summer lawn care experts at South Austin Irrigation today to ensure that your xeriscaped garden supports water conservation and looks beautiful all year.