Xeriscaping Tips For A Beautiful, Sustainable Garden

Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping with drought-tolerant plants, which can help you save water and money. 

It’s also an excellent way to be more sustainable in your yard care. Here are some tips for making your own xeriscape garden:

7 Principles of Xeriscape Gardening
Key Takeaways
– Xeriscaping is a sustainable garden technique that can help you reduce water usage and costs.
– Native plants are the best choice for xeriscaping, as they are adapted to local conditions and require less maintenance.
– Soil composition is crucial for a successful xeriscape, so consider soil testing and adding organic matter.
– Mulch can help retain soil moisture and reduce weed growth, making it a great addition to any low water garden.
– Xeriscaping doesn’t have to sacrifice aesthetics, as creative design elements and hardscape features can enhance the beauty of a low water garden.

Choose the Right Plants

When choosing plants, you should select those that are native to your area. Native plants are well-suited to the climate and soil conditions of your region. 

They will also require less maintenance than exotic species, which may need more water or fertilizer.

Choose durable, long-lived and well-adapted plants for your garden. If you are not sure what kind of plant is best for a particular location or situation, consider contacting an arborist who can advise you on how best to choose the right type of trees, bushes and ground covers for your needs.

Choose drought tolerant plants when possible because they require little or no irrigation once they’ve been established in the garden bed.

Xeriscaping can save you time and money by reducing water usage while still maintaining a beautiful garden. Learn about the benefits of xeriscaping techniques with our helpful guide on The Benefits of Xeriscaping.

Use Mulch Wisely

Mulch (a.k.a., organic material that you spread over your garden) is a great way to help keep weeds at bay and improve the soil. It can also help retain moisture, prevent erosion and cool the ground in summer and warm it in winter.

Have a Plan Before You Plant

Everything starts with a plan. Before you start planting, know the type of plants you want to grow, how much sun they need and how much water they require. Knowing this information will help ensure that your garden will flourish and be sustainable.

Having a proper plan in place is not only helpful for ensuring the health of your garden, but also for keeping costs down. If you spend less money on purchasing new plants due to having more space or if your fertilizer lasts longer because there is less waste from over-fertilization, then that means more profit for you!

Essential Elements of a Low Water Garden Plan

Soil TestDetermines soil quality and nutrient deficiencies, allowing for targeted amendments and improved plant growth.
Water BudgetEstablishes water usage goals and helps select plants that fit within a sustainable water budget.
Plant SelectionChoosing native, low water plants that are well-suited to local conditions can reduce the need for water and maintenance.
Irrigation SystemSelecting an efficient irrigation system, such as drip or micro-sprays, can further minimize water usage and address specific plant and soil needs.
MulchIn addition to reducing weed growth, mulch can help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature, aiding in plant growth and water retention.

Before planting a low water garden, it’s important to have a solid plan in place. This table highlights some of the essential elements to consider when creating a plan, including a soil test, water budget, plant selection, irrigation system, and mulch use. Each element provides unique benefits that can improve the success and sustainability of a low water garden.

Keep Your Lawn Small

Mow your lawn often. A healthy, dense lawn only needs to be mowed every three to four weeks. If you have a small yard, use a push mower or reel mower instead of a gas-powered machine with a bagger. This will save time and money on gasoline, oil changes and maintenance.

Use mulching features when possible. When the grass is chopped very short by the blades of your mower, it’s less likely to clump together when wet (which makes for easier vacuuming up) but also retains more nutrients for itself than if it were allowed to grow long enough for its roots’ root hairs to reach out far enough into the soil for them to be exposed directly above ground level during rainstorms or watering efforts.

Keep weeds away from growing into large patches by weeding regularly—especially at first! You’ll have an easier time pulling weeds out while they’re still young than trying later on when they’ve grown deep roots that can be hard work digging up without damaging nearby plants’ roots in doing so (or even killing them).

Want to implement a low water garden? Our guide on Xeriscaping for Beginners will help you get started with this water-wise approach to gardening.

Don’t Forget About Trees

Trees are great for your yard and garden. They can help to shade the space, provide windbreaks, block dust and noise. They also look pretty cool too!

The type of tree you choose depends on your needs you’ll want to think about how much water it requires as well as its size in relation to your yard. 

If you’re looking for privacy from neighbors or street traffic, consider using tall trees with wide branches that will block out some light but still let enough through so that grass grows underneath them.

Best Low Water Trees for Landscaping

Tree NameWater NeedsSun ExposureSoil TypeHeightGrowth Rate
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)LowFull sunWell-drained soil20-30 feetFast
Palo Verde (Parkinsonia aculeata)LowFull sunWell-drained soil20-30 feetFast
Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)ModeratePartial shadeWell-drained soil15-20 feetModerate
Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)LowFull sunWell-drained soil20-30 feetModerate
Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano)LowFull sunWell-drained soil20-30 feetSlow

Trees play a critical role in any landscape, and choosing the right low water trees can help save water and reduce maintenance costs.

These five trees, including Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis), Palo Verde (Parkinsonia aculeata), Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis), Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), and Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano), are well-suited for a low water landscape.

Note that specific water needs, sun exposure, soil type, height, and growth rate may vary depending on tree variety.

Recycle Your Water

Recycling water is a great way to be kind to the environment while also saving money on your gardening expenses.

If you have an existing sprinkler system, consider upgrading it with a drip irrigation system that uses less water and is more likely to reach its desired destination rather than run off into the street.

You can also use rainwater as part of your irrigation system by installing gutters or barrels at the highest point of your property, which will collect rainwater for later use. 

However, this method may only work well in certain regions—check local ordinances before installing a rain barrel! In addition to these traditional methods of recycling water, there are other ways gardeners can save on their water bills:

  • Use grey water from washing machines and dishwashers for watering plants (do not reuse cooking oils).
  • Install mulch around plants to retain moisture in soil longer.

Creating a water-wise garden is not only beneficial for the environment, but also for your wallet. Discover the basics of xeriscaping with our comprehensive guide, Xeriscaping 101.

Soak Your Garden Overnight (With a Soaker Hose)

Soaker hoses are the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to water your garden. They’re also more affordable than sprinklers, saving you money in the long run. You can’t beat the benefits of a soaker hose.

Soaker hoses are used to distribute water slowly and evenly around plants, versus traditional sprinklers that spray water everywhere (and waste it). Soaker hoses have been found to save up to 50% on irrigation costs because they only deliver water where it’s needed, instead of spraying all over your yard like a sprinkler would do.

They’re also much easier on the environment: when you use a sprinkler system, some of that precious water evaporates before it ever touches your plants’ roots; with a soaker hose however, nearly 100% of the water makes its way down into the ground where it belongs! 

They don’t emit harmful chemicals either so you’ll feel better about using them around your kids or pets too!

Use a Rain Barrel to Collect Water

A rain barrel is a simple and effective way to collect water from your roof. Here’s how you can install one:

Choose an appropriate location for the rain barrel, preferably on the lowest part of your property so it doesn’t interfere with other parts of your garden or yard.

Install a downspout diverter that directs water away from the wall where you want to mount the tank (or use a separate downspout if you have one). 

Also buy some screen material for the bottom of the barrel to keep debris out and prevent algae growth inside it (you can also choose not to use this step if you don’t mind cleaning out your rainwater periodically).

Attach a downspout pipe adapter at this point if needed; then attach an overflow hose extension into which excess water will drain when there isn’t enough room in the container itself; then connect that extension up with another hose leading back outside so it empties automatically when full without clogging up nearby pipes!

Benefits of Using a Rain Barrel for Water Collection

Water conservationRain barrels can collect and store water that would otherwise be wasted.
Lower water billsBy using collected rainwater, homeowners can reduce their water bills and save money.
Chemical-free waterRainwater does not contain the chemicals often found in tap water, making it ideal for plants.
Versatile useCollected rainwater can be used for watering gardens, landscaping, or even washing cars and windows.
Easy to installMany rain barrels, such as the Good Ideas RW50-OAK Rain Wizard, can be easily installed under a downspout with minimal setup.

Using a rain barrel to collect water offers several benefits, including water conservation, lower utility bills, and chemical-free water. Additionally, collected rainwater can be versatile and used for a variety of purposes, such as watering plants or washing cars. Installing a rain barrel is also a relatively easy process, with many brands offering barrels that can be quickly set up under a downspout.

Choose the Best Day to Water

Another important factor to consider when watering your plants is the day of the week. It’s best to water in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are cooler and winds are calmer. In other words, don’t do it on windy days! 

On dry spells, you could also consider doing some deep watering once every three weeks instead of daily shallow watering.

In order to ensure that you aren’t wasting water by overwatering (which can lead to problems like root rot) or leaving puddles behind after a rainfall, try not to water on days with lots of sun and high temperatures that means no watering during the heat of summer!

One other tip: Do not water at all during winter months unless there is an actual freeze threat.

Knowing what to do and what to avoid is key to creating a successful xeriscape. Learn from the experts on the essential dos and don’ts of xeriscaping with our guide on The Dos and Don’ts of Xeriscaping.

Plant Near a Water Source

Plants need water, and the best way to get them what they need is to make sure it’s nearby. If you’re planting a garden in an area without a natural water source (such as on a hill or in the desert), then your next best option is to install something like a drip irrigation system. This will allow you to control how much and when your plants receive water. 

Rain barrels are another great option for collecting rainwater in dry regions. You can also try using soaker hoses that are buried directly under your plants where they’ll get nice, moist soil while preventing evaporation from occurring on the surface of the ground below them. Finally, if all else fails: build yourself some sort of pond!

Add Native Plants to Your Yard

Native plants are a great way to go for your xeriscape garden. They’re adapted to your local climate, which means they’re more likely to be resistant to pests that can damage or kill non-native plants. 

Native plants also help improve the soil by adding organic material, so you won’t have to worry about as much maintenance when it comes time for watering and fertilizing. Finally, native plants tend to be beautiful and they don’t require a lot of upkeep!

Best Native Plants for Low Water Yards

Plant NameWater NeedsSun ExposureSoil TypeHeightBloom Time
Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage)LowFull sun to partial shadeSandy loam, well-drained2-3 feetSpring
Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’ (Beardtongue)LowFull sunWell-drained soil2 feetSummer
Heuchera maxima (Island Alumroot)LowFull sun to partial shadeWell-drained soil1-2 feetSpring-summer
California Lilac (Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’)LowFull sunWell-drained soil4-6 feetSpring
Cacti and SucculentsLowFull sunWell-drained soilVaries by varietyVaries by variety

Native plants are a great addition to any low water yard as they require less maintenance and are adapted to local soil and climate conditions. These five plants, including Salvia spathacea, Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’, Heuchera maxima, California Lilac (Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’), and cacti/succulents, are excellent options for a beautiful and sustainable garden.

Note that specific water needs, sun exposure, soil type, height, and bloom time may vary depending on plant variety.

Avoid Weeds

  • Weeds compete with your plants for water and nutrients, so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.
  • They may be a nuisance when you’re trying to maintain and care for your garden, which can make gardening more difficult.
  • If left untreated, weeds can become a fire hazard if they dry out during the hot summer months (especially if they’re made up of highly flammable materials such as tall grasses or other dried materials).

Drought-resistant landscapes can be both beautiful and sustainable. Learn practical tips on how to achieve a drought-resistant garden with our guide on 10 Xeriscaping Tips for a Drought-Resistant Landscape.


Now that you’ve been through the process of xeriscaping and have a better understanding of what it entails, we hope you are ready to start your own adventure in this sustainable gardening practice. 

If you’re looking for more inspiration for creating beautiful and functional yards, keep reading! We’ve got some great articles on everything from plant selection to garden maintenance. Welcome to the world of xeric landscaping!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for learning about xeriscaping:

The Ultimate Guide to Xeriscaping: A comprehensive guide to xeriscaping techniques, with tips on adapting to your local climate and soil.

Gorgeous Xeriscaping Ideas: Beautiful inspiration for creating a low-water garden that looks stunning and is easy to maintain.

Sustainable Landscaping with Xeriscaping: Learn about the environmental benefits of xeriscaping, including water conservation and minimizing pesticide use.


What is xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that reduces outdoor water usage by using native plants, reducing lawn areas, and modifying soil composition, in order to create a garden that is both sustainable and efficient.

Is xeriscaping only suitable for arid regions?

No, xeriscaping can be adapted to any climate or site condition. The main goal is to reduce water usage, so it can be applied in areas with water restrictions or high rainfall as well.

What are the benefits of xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping offers several benefits including reduced water usage, lower maintenance costs, and increased plant diversity. It can also attract native wildlife and improve soil health.

How do I get started with xeriscaping?

Start by assessing your garden’s soil type, climate, and water availability. Choose plants that are well-adapted to your local environment and follow best practices for water efficiency. Consider reducing lawn areas and installing mulch to reduce water loss.

Can xeriscaping be aesthetically pleasing?

Absolutely! Xeriscaping can be both beautiful and functional. By choosing the right plants, using creative design elements, and adding hardscape features, a xeriscape can be an attractive addition to any property.