Regular readers of our articles may remember ‘The Benefits of Xeriscaping’ article we published in August of 2019. After reading the most recent drought report by the Australian Government of Meteorology, we thought now would be a good time to once again discuss xeriscaping.
According to the May 2022 drought report, rainfall in April of 2022 was below average for western Tasmania, coastal south-eastern South Australia, south-western Victoria, and a large area of Central Australia spanning the south-west of the Northern Territory and interior of Western Australia. Serious rainfall deficiencies (totals in the lowest 10% of historical observations since 1900) are affecting parts of southern Australia for the period starting December 2021.
Why did this information lead us to write about xeriscaping? Because xeriscaping is landscaping designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for properties where water conservation is practiced. Creating outdoor spaces which require little water is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your bank account!
There are more benefits than just reducing the amount of water used on lawn, trees, plants, and shrubs. It also reduces pollution since pesticides and fertilisers are not needed and it also removes the need for mowing. One of the best benefits is the ease of maintenance. Less water needed means less time fussing with hoses and sprinklers and the types of plants used typically grow slowly meaning less time spent pruning and trimming.
How to get started with your xeric garden?
- Determine the best location. Will you remove the entire lawn or just sections? Areas that are least used tend to be the best location for growing these types of plants.
- Group plants by the amount of water they will need. Phgmag.com recommends three zones:
- Zone One (Oasis Zone) – The oasis zone has the most water-dependent plants and requires more maintenance than other zones.
- Zone Two (Transition Zone) – The transition zone requires less watering and maintenance than the oasis zone but has more needs than the xeric zone.
- Zone Three (Xeric Zone) – The xeric zone requires very little water and maintenance.
- Replace lawn with mulch, rocks, gravel or a combination.
- Choose plants native to the region where you live and learn how drought-resistant each is.
- Determine how to irrigate the garden. A drip irrigation system is often a good choice.
- Make sure you are working with good soil as it will hold water well, provide nutrients, and properly aerate to allow water to reach deep roots.
Now that you’ve planned your xeric garden, you’re well on your way to helping the environment and saving time, energy, and money. Stay tuned for our next article which will discuss best choices of plants for South Australia.