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What is Xeriscaping?

What is Xeriscaping?

If you could pick one word to describe Colorado’s climate, it’d probably be dry. Denver and Colorado are known for ‘300 days of sunshine’ which means there isn’t much moisture for the Centennial State. High altitude and lack of moisture don’t make for the best growing conditions for your Colorado garden, and you don’t want to pay for hundreds of gallons of water to keep your plants green – so what do you do?

You should consider xeriscaping. Now a worldwide gardening category, the term ‘xeriscape’ was coined by Denver Water, but Mile-High City residents have plenty of misconceptions about xeriscaping and what you can achieve with little to no supplemental water. Let’s learn more about xeriscaping including what it is, how it suits Colorado, and tips on your xeriscape options.

Xeriscaping Colorado

In simplest terms, xeriscaping is a form of landscaping which requires little to no supplemental irrigation. The idea behind xeriscaping is low-maintenance plants that are native or suited to Colorado’s natural climate, and don’t require more water than comes from the sky.

Water is scarce in Colorado. Irrigation systems for thirsty plants will cost you hundreds of dollars per year while also being wasteful. With xeriscaping you can bring lovely colors, a variety of textures, and beautiful species to your landscaping without exhausting the local water supply.

Misconceptions About Xeriscape

It’s Just Cacti and Rocks

Xeriscaping is so much more than succulents like cacti planted into pea gravel. “Xeriscape is not rock and cactus,” says Alison Peck of Boulder-based Matrix Gardens. “It’s an idea we’ve been fighting since day one. Rock and cactus don’t even belong here. This is a grassland. Not a desert.”

Colorado homeowners have many more options than aloe plants. Homeowners can choose from a mix of grasses, flowers, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and even trees. Later, we’ll discuss some of our favorite xeriscaping plants for Denver.

Xeriscape Needs No Watering

Xeriscaping encompasses a variety of plants and garden styles. While all xeriscaping plants use much less water than traditional landscaping plants, they all have different moisture needs. One plant might require water once a month, while another might not ever need water outside normal rain.

Don’t expect to stick xeriscape plants in the ground and never touch them, they’ll still need moisture and care, but much less than traditional landscaping. You can talk to a local landscaper for help choosing plants that meet your maintenance and watering needs.

Xeriscape Plants Colorado

To give you an idea of the color and texture you can achieve with xeriscaping, we’ve included different types of xeriscape plants that do well in Colorado.

  • Flowers – Prairie coneflower, globe thistle, Arizona blanket flower, trumpet flower, Jupiter’s beard, rocky mountain beardtongue. In truth there are dozens of different annual and perennial options.
  • Grasses– Blue fescue, June grass, blue grass, buffalograss, little bluestem, sideoats grama, sand love grass.
  • Shrubs – Sage, saltbrush, yucca, rocky mountain juniper, peashrub, yucca.
  • Trees – Big-tooth maple, Kentucky coffee tree, bur oak, pinyon pine, gambel oak.
  • Lawn Grasses – Some HOAs do not allow for Xeriscaping, so choose a drought tolerant Colorado Bluegrass or other drought tolerant grass species for minimum watering needs.
  • Lawn Alternative – Lawns are one of the worst water guzzlers. Consider replacing thirsty non-native grass with a lawn alternative seed mix. Alternative lawn seed mix requires little supplemental water and includes clovers, wild grasses, and more. While not a traditional lawn, alternative lawn mix is green, lush, and provides a great place for kids to play.
Try Xeriscaping Today

Xeriscaping is the eco and wallet-friendly option for your property, without losing character or color. Consider a mix of xeriscape grasses, shrubs, flowers, and more to achieve a gorgeous personal oasis that stands out from your neighbors. For more ideas on xeriscaping options or help with planting, contact JS Enterprises, your Colorado xeriscaping expert.