The possible water savings of implementing a xeriscape landscape design is an attractive incentive when thinking about a new landscape design or upgrading your current one. With Colorado Springs Utilities operating on tiered water rates, there is a possibility of some nice utilities bill relief with any water savings you can find.
To say exactly how much you can save is a tough question to answer, but Colorado Spring Utilities states that, “nearly 50 percent of a household’s water consumption is used for the lawn and landscape.” That means if your current water usage is anywhere near the average, the opportunity for saving is available to you.
Before we go any further, we should clarify what a xeric landscape really is. A lot of people think a xeriscape landscape design is just removing lawn and plants and spreading rock or gravel, but that isn’t right, and a lot of rock is not only unattractive, but it also creates a lot of heat and isn’t good for surface runoff.
Xeriscaping is about minimizing your turf area to an amount that you’ll actually use and enjoy, and selecting plants that are well suited to the Front Range, so that they are accustomed to our semi-arid climate, and only need minimal watering. A xeric landscape certainly doesn’t need to look boring or sparse.
So the first and biggest savings available with water friendly landscape design is minimizing the turf. The less lawn in your new design, the greater the savings. There are other options as well.
Firstly, there are a number of native seeds and blends that are designed to replace turf and have far lower water demands. Blue Grama and Buffalo Grass are a couple of the more popular native seeds for replacing turf.
Another option is to replace the lawn with Artificial turf. Artificial turf is going to cost more up front, but the long-term water savings will pay for itself. If you are terribly attached to a lawn in the first place, it can be eliminated altogether, giving larger water savings.
Drip irrigation is the gold standard for watering plants efficiently, and if your drip system is installed correctly, the plantings that replace the turf just aren’t going to use that much water. We designed and installed a landscape in Flying Horse the homeowner was not interested in any turf area, and planted over two hundred trees, shrubs, and perennials. The daily water usage for this type of landscape is significantly lower than a large sod area alternative.
If you are interested in xeriscaping your yard, Colorado Springs Utilities have put together a beautiful demonstration garden where you can see lots of attractive and sustainable landscape ideas for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.
If you’re interested in learning what you can do to make sure your lawn is as water friendly as possible, you can see our previous blog Water Friendly Lawns. If you’d like to learn more about designing a water friendly landscape then consult with one of our landscape designers to learn more.