Going green is all the rage these days, and what better place to start caring for the environment than in your garden? As good as gardening can be for green causes – locally grown produce reduces transportation pollution, plants increase oxygen – there are also a few negative effects. One major problem faced in agriculture is the problem of wasting water. Watering plants causes a tremendous amount of water waste, and even natural things like evaporation means that more water used – causing more run off and water waste. Although the problem is obviously more pressing for large farms, even small-scale gardeners have an impact. If every small gardener did their part to reduce water waste, the benefits would be huge. But, the cold hard fact that plants need to be tailed remains – so what's a gardener to do? Help is at hand with new techniques being developed called Xeriscaping. Xeriscaping helps reduce water waste and makes your garden even greener.
A clue about exactly what Xeriscaping is in the name. “Xera” is a Greek word that means dry, and scaping of course comes from the world landscaping, so it literally means “dry landscaping.” Xeriscape landscaping does not need that you do not use any water at all however, it simply means that you make choices about the kind of plants you use so that you do not have to use too much water. In other words, you choose plants that thrive in your area with a minimum of water instead of using plants that you need to over water to help them survive in your climate. When you choose your plants with this thinking in mind, you use less water to keep them alive for two reasons – the climate is ideal for them, so they're healthier anyway, and because they are ideal for the climate, you will not lose a lot of water to evaporation, which you would normally have to replace with more watering.
For these reasons, there is no list of plants that meet the guidelines for xeriscaping and those that do not. If you are interesting in using this kind of landscaping technique for your garden, your first step is either to get online to do some research or to head to your local garden center for some advice about plants that are indigenous to your area. Once you have a list of plants that fit this bill, you will then need to select the plants for your garden from this list. Introducing plants that are not indigenous to your area will increase your water usage and will not fall under the banner of xeriscaping.
While xeriscaping has the obvious benefit of reducing water usage – which is good for the environment and your water bill – it does have some downsides. The one that people run into most often is that the plants that are indigenous to their area might not be the kinds of plants that want in their garden – and in some cases, home owners' associations might ban the plants that are on the list. Some states are passing laws prohibiting home owners' groups from banning indigenous plants, but it may still be an issue for some. Also, if you move to a new area, you have to start your garden all over again. You will not be able to use the same plants because the climate may different – and if you move from a dry area to a wet climate or vice versa, your garden will be very different, meaning you will need to learn about a new set of plants.
The benefits outweigh the risks for most, however, Xeriscaping is the next big thing in the gardening world.