Xeriscaping which also is known by the names of water-conserving landscapes, dry-scape, smart scapin, and drought-tolerant landscaping is an alternative to traditional landscaping that uses limited turf areas and plants that are native to the area and selected for their water efficiency.
In the United States over 50% of all residential water use goes to landscaping. According to the Nicholas School of the Environment, lawns cover 40.5 million acres in the U.S. with the total amount of money spent to maintain them ever year reaching $30 billion. Xeriscaping is considered a green alternative, because it can reduce that water usage up to 75% and also lower the cost of time and money to maintain them.
Although Xeriscaping has many environmental and financial benefits to traditional turf lawns with their high maintenance, water, and fertilizer costs they have received little acceptance in the United States accept in very dry areas. This is primarily based off social bias that green turf lawns are the norm.
Advantages to Xeriscaping
- Xeriscaping uses less water than traditional turf lawns.
- Lower maintenance costs. Since the core principle of Xeriscaping is using plants that are native to the area, water efficient, and limited turf areas, owners of Xeriscapes will spend less time maintaining and will have no or very limited need for pesticides or fertilizers.
- Reduces the use of fossil fuels. With their limited turf areas the heavy reliance on lawn mowers is greatly reduced.
- Reduces pollution from fertilizers.
Disadvantages of Xeriscaping
- Many people find them aesthetically unappealing. With the use of limited turf areas and native plants most people in the United States just don’t like how they look.
- Can be dangerous to children and pets. In dry areas, it depends heavily on plants like cacti and agave that have thorns and sharp edges to their leaves.
- Initial cost to create can be high.
A major misconception of Xeriscaping is that it isn’t colorful. Here is a short video titled that shows some of the colorful possibilities.