What is Dry Landscaping?
The term xeriscaping comes from the Greek word for dry, xeros, and literally means “dry landscaping.” Of course, it doesn’t actually mean “dry,” rather, xeriscaping involves designing a garden and choosing plants to use as little water as possible. While people often think of the UK as a wet, rainy, place, some areas receive far less rainfall than others, and climate change means that weather patterns are becoming more variable. Designing your garden and choosing plants to take local conditions into account means that, over time, your garden may cost less and require less maintenance, as well as providing significant benefits to the environment.
Choosing the Right Plants
The first step is choosing the right plants – this means plants that are drought tolerant, such as native plants that are adapted to local environmental conditions. Using native plants will provide additional benefits in the form of food for local wildlife, such as birds, butterflies and other pollinators. While xeriscapes may look different from some traditional gardens, they can be just as interesting and beautiful. See some examples on Groby Landscape’s planting page.
It’s not just which plants to use that are important, but where they are placed in the landscape design. You will want to think about which plants need more sun, and which may need more water, and place them accordingly. Design elements may include improving drainage so that plants adapted to drier conditions aren’t sitting in water during wetter parts of the year. You should also thoughtfully place any sprinklers or irrigation systems so that they can deliver water in the most efficient manner to plants that will need it most.
Soil – The Forgotten Element
While everyone thinks of plants as an essential component of a garden, they may not realize how important the quality of the soil is to whether their garden will succeed! Soil improvement is an essential part of xeriscaping. This means finding the right mix so that the soil does not either retain or lose moisture too quickly.
Adding a layer of mulch cover, whether organic or inorganic, can help conserve moisture and keep roots cool. Bark and cedar mulch work well, but will need to be replaced from time to time. Stones or pebbles are another option.
While installing a xeriscape may involve a significant up-front investment, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful garden that requires far less maintenance than a traditional one.