Xeriscaping, pronounced “zeer-i-scape,” is defined as ‘landscaping designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for properties where water conservation is practiced.’ The term is derived from the Greek word ‘Xeros,’ which means dry, and ‘scape,’ which means scene. Put together, we get ‘dry scene.’
Xeriscaping is a beneficial practice in South Australia as we battle drought or limited rainfall conditions. The Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology puts out a monthly drought report and the latest (June 2019) shows western South Australia once again had below average rainfall. For those of us who want beautiful gardens and/or to help our environment, xeriscaping can be a fantastic solution.
What are the benefits of xeriscaping?
- Reduce water consumption as much as 50 -75%. In fact, if you choose a desert landscape it can eliminate water consumption completely.
- Limited maintenance is required as mulching and weeding may be all that is required.
- All natural – by choosing native plants there will be no need for chemical supplements.
- Reduces pollution because there is no need to use gardening tools such as gas mowers.
- Creates a wildlife habitat by growing native plants alongside trees, and shrubs.
- Saves money since there is no need to purchase fertiliser or expensive gardening equipment.
Since the most important aspect of xeriscaping is reduced water consumption, it is important to research the plot of land where the garden will be. Look at the contours of the terrain, soil absorption, and drainage patterns. You want soil that is rich in organic material and you will want to keep it well aerated. Compost is a great way to enrich the soil.
The goal of the xeriscape is to provide as much of the needed water by rainfall as possible. However, there will be times when additional water will be needed. Consider installing a drip irrigation system from your rainwater tank or simply use soaker hoses. Each of these will deliver water slowly and promote root absorption in your plants and will safeguard against soil erosion.
Choose native, drought-resistant plants. We have a nice variety of such plants available here in South Australia. Choose a combination of plants you find pleasing to look at and would enjoy.
Mulching is imperative to help soil retain moisture and temperature as well as help to control weeds. You want to avoid leaving the soil around plants bare. Leaves, wood chips, coarse compost, gravel, bark, and pine needles are all good choices for mulch.
Minimise the turf areas in your garden since they require more watering. Most people choose to include a small turf area for aesthetic reasons. Choose turf from the variety that consumes less water.
It is possible to create a beautiful landscape while conserving water. There are many online resources to help you plan your own xeriscape or there are xeriscape professionals who can plan and create it for you.
If you would like to learn more about the Ri-Industries concrete rainwater tanks, please call and speak with one of our experts.