Xeriscaping, often said “Zero-scaping”, is a method of yard design, with the goal to minimize water consumption.  

With Texas, firmly in to a three year drought, water conservation needs to be a priority.  

A properly adapted yard, would require one water source, outside of natural rainfall. 

It is estimated that 25% of water used in the Permian Basin area, is for landscaping.  Xeriscaping could all but eliminate this use.  

The term “xeriscape” was coined by the Water Department of Denver, Colorado in 1978.  It derives from the Greek “xeros”, meaning dry.  Other similar concepts are drought-tolerant, smart-scaping or natural landscaping. 

A number of advantages to this method, include saving money and time. This type of yard could potentially eliminate water costs and cut labor in half.  

Disadvantages reported, are the area being less 'activity friendly' and less 'bare-foot friendly', as many of the native plants, for this area, can have thorns and rough edges, as do stones and mulch.   

Xeriscaping is based on seven basic principles, set on conserving water:

Planning and Design

Soil Analysis

Practical Turf Areas

Appropriate Plant Selection

Efficient Irrigation 

Use of Mulches

Appropriate Maintenance

A radical make-over is not merited, if that is not a cost the family can spare, at this time.  Making the change, can be done gradually, simply by making a new type of purchase, each season.  

The easiest start can be in the flower beds.  This area offers many pretty colors, to line porch and walkways with. 

A list of native flowers, to the Permian Basin, are as follows: Abronia Fragrans (Snowball Sand Verbena); Amblyolepis Setigera (Huisache Daisy); Calylophus Hartwegii (Hartweg's Sundrops); Gaillardia Pulchella (Firewheel); Gaura Coccinea (Scarlet Beeblossom); Helianthus Petiolaris (Prairie Sunflower); Melampodium Leucanthum (Plains Blackfoot); Penstemon Ambiguus (Gilia Beardtongue); Ratibida Columnifera (Upright Prairie Coneflower), Senna Roemeriana (Twoleaf Senna); Thelesperma Filifolium (Stiff Greenthread); and Xanthisma Texanum (Texas Sleepydaisy).

All of these can be seen at Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center, by The University of Texas at Austin. www.wildflower.org

Using this type of flower, and proper mulching, alone, could seriously diminish the water  use, diminishing the water bill.  Changing seasons bring different costs, adjusting those costs to stone work, proper irrigation plans and adaptable trees and shrubs, will save both the budget and environment.  

Cactus and stone are often thought of as the only option, it is simply untrue.  While those can be great contributors to a xeriscape, there are many options. Xeriscapes can be as beautiful as they are practical.