As Nevada enters its fourth year of a serious drought, landscaping has come to the forefront of discussion in government, businesses and households. In particular, the concept of “xeriscaping,” a term that translates to “dry look,” is increasingly mentioned as a way to curb water waste. Xeriscaping is a way to organize your lawn with plants, rocks, mulch and efficient irrigation toward reducing the amount of water usage. As most of Nevada is located in a desert climate, residents should start looking into full or partial xeriscaping to meet water use reduction requirements and help the region as a whole in both drought and non-drought years.
One of the main ideas of xeriscaping is eliminating unnecessary turffrom yards. If a resident has kids or pets, then some turf is necessary for safe and comfortable play outside. Some residents in this category can opt for xeriscaping just their front yards, while keeping turf in their backyards–a modification known as partial xeriscaping. Businesses for which lawns are merely a cosmetic luxury could go the route of full xeriscaping, thereby eliminating all unnecessary turf and instead opting for drought-resistant plants.
A common misconception is that xeriscaping is no more than a yard full of rock or concrete. Rather, it can still achieve a lush look by incorporating drought-resistant plants. When incorporating plants scattered throughout the yard, mulch should be used directly around the plants to create a layer to soak in the water and keep it trapped for longer periods of time.
Once the drought-resistant plants are present, the next step is to turn attention toward irrigation. Having soak-hoses and drip irrigation systems in place to deliver water directly to the base of the plants is an effective method that reduces water usage. This is the ultimate goal for xeriscaping: creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape while conserving water.
Studies completed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority have shown that homes use 36% less water via xeriscaping, compared to their previous years of turf landscaping. They also showed that both the time and cost of maintenance dropped upon the implementation of xeriscaping.
With the benefits of saving time and money, on top of being responsible stewards of our communities, xeriscaping has been creating a forward-thinking solution for our water problems. Residents of Nevada and the West as a whole should do more research into their own homes and businesses and put into place full or partial xeriscaping.