The Seven Principles of Xeriscaping

The Seven Principles
of Xeriscaping
Water Wise Landscaping
For Our Desert Region
Why Xeriscape?
 As much as 70% of household water use
occurs in the landscape.
 Easier to maintain.
 Thrives in our
desert climate.
 Provides habitat for
native wildlife.
 Does not detract from
the beauty of the desert.
Xeriscape is…
Rooted in the Greek word “Xeros,”
which means dry.
A concept of 7 water conserving
landscaping principles that may be
applied to a variety of landscape styles:
Planning and design
Wise choice of plants
Appropriate use of turf
Soil preparation
Use of mulch
Efficient irrigation
Proper maintenance
1. Planning & Design
A good landscape begins with a good design!
Some factors to consider when planning
your landscape:
Function - what will you do in your landscape?
flower or butterfly garden • barbecue
play area for children or pets • strolling path
Hydrozones - landscapes should be divided into
zones where plants are grouped according
to their watering needs.
Desired maintenance level - are pulling weeds
and pruning your idea of a good time?
Or do you prefer relaxing in your garden
to working in it?
2. Wise Choice of Plants
Go native! Native plants…
thrive naturally with little water, work or maintenance.
provide much needed habitat to native wildlife that are rapidly
losing ground to growth and development.
provide families with opportunity to explore
their own backyards, watching and learning
about desert wildlife.
provide colorful blooms.
Use low water use, desert friendly plants.
A wide variety of low water use plants,
both native and non native, are available
to populate your landscape with. Do you
want blooms? Foliage? Interesting forms?
Shade trees? Slow or fast growth?
3. Appropriate Use of Turf
Pet grass spot
Turf landscapes require three
times the amount of water that
desert-friendly landscapes use.
Apply turf only to areas where
it will be used, such as play
areas for children and pets.
Use only low water use
Design turf areas to conform
to sprinkler sprays.
Water efficient
front yard and
children’s play
area back yard
4. Soil Preparation
Compost may be added to
provide nutrients and increase
water absorption and retention.
Soil preparation may be different
for different hydrozones.
Native plants and plants imported
from similar desert areas usually
require little soil preparation, since
they grow naturally in the desert.
Adding organic material to sandy soil
helps retain water and nutrients.
Photo credit: Southern Nevada Water Agency,
from the “Water Smart Landscapes”
booklet available at
5. Use of Mulch
Mulches may be made up of a
variety of materials such as
bark, decorative rock, gravel
and even plant clippings.
Mulch helps to
reduce evaporation
moderate soil temperature
prevent erosion
control weeds, and
add to landscape décor
6. Efficient Irrigation
A variety of irrigation methods
may be used in a landscape:
drip system
soaker hoses
Use an irrigation timer
with independent zone
programming capability.
Adjust sprinklers according to seasonal
and local weather conditions.
Regularly adjust and maintain your irrigation system.
7. Proper Maintenance
Check irrigation equipment frequently for leaks,
clogged emitters or broken sprinkler heads.
Adjust irrigation system as needed.
Refresh mulch areas as needed.
Prune as needed.
Avoid using fertilizers and pesticides.
Remember that what you put on the ground
ends up in our drinking water supply!
What to Look for in a
Landscape Contractor
Visit the California Landscape Contractors Association web site at for useful information about how to select a
landscape or irrigation contractor that is right for your project, and the
California Contractors State License Board at,
where you can verify the status of a contractor’s license.
Get referrals from friends, neighbors or businesses who have
landscaping you admire.
Ask for the contractor's state license number and call the Contractors
State License Board to verify that it is issued for landscaping, is
current, and is in good standing.
Request a list of similar jobs the contractor has recently completed in
your area. Look at the work and talk to the owners, if possible.
Ask if the contractor has liability and workers' compensation
insurance. Request certificates in writing!
What to Look for in a
Landscape Contractor
Obtain several detailed bids in writing and compare them.
Ask your contractor to provide you with a "payment and performance"
bond that covers the full price of your job.
Be cautious about contractors who ask for payments prior to beginning
the job. Full payment is usually requested on completion of the job or in
installments as the work progresses.
Insist on a written contract! Contracts should contain:
the name, address, license number, and telephone number of the contractor, and the
registration number of any salesperson involved
a complete description of the work to be done, materials to be used (including
quantities and sizes of plant material and brands of irrigation equipment)・guarantees
on work and materials
approximate date when work will begin and be completed・a statement that the
contractor will do any necessary clean up and removal of debris after the job is
a "Notice to Owner" explaining the state's mechanics' lien laws and the ways to
protect yourself and your property
a statement that the contractor will furnish a payment and performance bond or joint
control company, if this has been agreed upon
any guarantees made verbally on the work to be done or the materials to be used.
Beautiful Desert Plants & Landscapes
Great use
of mulch
Beautiful Desert Plants & Landscapes
Look at the size of
those flowers!
Desert flora and rock does not mean barren.
Xeriscaping is NOT “zeroscaping.”
Beautiful Desert Plants & Landscapes
Enjoy a little bit of the wild look…
Beautiful Desert Plants & Landscapes
…while you attract birds, bees
and butterflies!
Beautiful Desert Plants & Landscapes
Would you like some shade and sweet fragrance?
Colorful blooms and
interesting forms
frame these lovely
mountian views!
Beautiful Desert
Plants & Landscapes
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards