Xeriscaping: How to Make Your Yard Drought-tolerant


Weather is the only part of the news that we can somehow forecast. But recently, that hasn’t been the case. Weather news is becoming even more unprecedented.

Texas is known for its consistent weather, having no period of terrible weather at any time of the year. The worst time to visit the state is during the summer, yet Texan summer is quite tolerable even at its hottest. And even if you find yourself in Texas during the summer, head off to the subtropical areas which remain rainy.

Thus, it was surprising to hear that a brutal storm caused deaths and blackouts in February, just before its winter season ended.

So, if you think your place will never be in the middle of a typhoon or a drought, think again. While we can no longer be sure how our weather fares after 10 years, we can prepare our homes. Start with your yard through xeriscaping.

What Is Xeriscaping?

Also known as water-conserving landscaping, it is a method of gardening that reduces or eliminates irrigation. Despite little water and maintenance, xeriscapes promote biodiversity and provide harvests nonetheless.

A common misconception is that it only involves desert plants such as cacti. But xeriscaping can yield fruits and vegetables, from blackberries, onions, beets, to leaf lettuce. As it also reduces water consumption by up to 60%, xeriscaping could help a household get through an unforeseen drought.

Aesthetics Coupled with Efficiency

Aside from promoting effective vegetation, xeriscaping can also be employed to achieve a visually striking landscape.

A drought-resistant garden doesn’t have to look barren. Any yard design can be transformed into a xeriscape as long as you follow the principles.

Basic Principles of Xeriscaping

1. Plan It Out. You can either renovate an existing design or start from scratch. Either way, when you map out the layout, make sure to allot at least one area where water requirement is minimal to none.

To create a stunning view, you can carve out decorative zones in your yard that wouldn’t require any watering at all. Pathways and mini rock gardens are quick solutions. Decks need a little more construction but will keep your layout looking timeless. Consult with custom deck builders for a design that maximizes your space.

You can also create naturally wet zones, which are protected areas that reduce evaporation. Plant one tree to create a large shaded area. You can also line up tall plants like wild lupines to create fenced shading. For synthetic solutions, you can add a pavilion or a marquee.

2. Improve the Soil. As with most things, laying a good foundation is the proper way to do it. Improving the soil involves a dirty secret—manure—a good source of nitrogen, potassium, and other micronutrients.

There are two application methods for solid and liquid manure. The first is broadcasting, which is basically a uniform distribution of the manure, covering the entire soil surface. The second method is broadcasting with an application, which is mixing or incorporating the manure into the soil particles immediately or a few days after broadcasting.

Fresh manure has much higher amounts of nitrogen than the composted variation, so it needs the careful application to avoid burning the soil. Poultry manure should be incorporated six to eight inches within 12 hours after application.

Avoid using manure with high amounts of ammonia. A pungent chemical, it has a bleach-like smell that is easily recognizable. If your manure reeks of an ammonia odor, don’t use it.

3. Mulch Is the Key. Mulch is any material applied over the soil as a protective layer or covering. It is added to improve the soil’s fertility, from increased moisture retention to reduced weed growth.


Your area’s location determines the type of mulch to use and how much of it you’ll need. Arid areas can survive on rock mulch made from gravel. But for moderate to humid temperatures, organic mulch is best.

Large amounts of mulch will be beneficial for hot landscapes but detrimental for cooler ones. In cool temperatures, the plants would need as much sun exposure as they can get, so a light layer of mulch would be just right.

You can use various materials to make organic mulch, such as bark wood, pine bits, and dried leaves.

Leaves are one of the best ingredients because they break down slowly and release nutrients over a period. They also attract worms which clean all unwanted organic materials in your soil.

Adapting to Nature’s Change

As our summers get hotter, gardening becomes a harder task. Xeriscaping is not just a solution for a drought; it also lets you preserve and protect nature’s most valuable resource: water.

With proper care, xeriscapes let you conserve water and have a showstopping backyard at the same time.

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