Colorado weather is fickle. We are not quite fortunate enough to enjoy weather common to many states in the mid-west and yet we are separated enough from the likes of Arizona and New Mexico to be considered a “desert state”. Colorado exists in a gray area. Our summers can be scorching hot and our winters; bitter cold. Rarely are we ever able to enjoy all FOUR seasons. This leaves many Colorado homeowners wondering how to properly landscape their property. What to plant? How to plant it? What can survive the extreme and sporadic Colorado weather?
Following a significant drought near the end of the 1970’s many western states, specifically Colorado, began a major water conservation program. It was estimated, at the time, that roughly 50% of the water usage from the average, American household could be directly contributed to landscaping preservation. Xeriscaping was introduced to Colorado in the very early 80’s by the Denver Water Department in an effort to try to conserve water in the wake of a serious drought. Xeriscaping incorporates the Greek root word “xeros” meaning dry or sparse and when combined with “scaping” you get a type of landscaping that requires less maintenance, and more importantly, less WATER.
Xeriscaping is also often, and incorrectly, referred to as “Zeroscaping”. This is because of the misconception that it requires little to no upkeep or maintenance. This is simply not the case. Any landscape that isn’t full of weeds and dead foliage is going to require some maintenance. Xeriscaping requires maintenance as well, just a lot less of it. Another common misconception is that Xeriscaping includes only massive amounts of rocks and pebbles in place of trees and shrubbery. This is not only inaccurate but counterproductive. Not only is it NOT cost effective, in terms of purchasing and maintaining materials, it is also damaging, sometimes irreversibly, to any existing plants or trees in your yard, should you choose to keep them.
First and foremost, Xeriscaping is cost effective. Owning a home can be expensive in and of itself. Maintaining the property inside and out can be a challenge, especially in time such as these, and finding ways to save is essential. Folks who have considered Xeriscaping for their property have saved between 30% to 80% in water and energy savings per year! How? It’s simple! For starters, efficient irrigation practices and design, usually implemented by a trusted professional, will help you use less water with maximum results without even realizing it!
Secondly, just because you might be saving a few bucks doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the aesthetics of your property. All too often we associate flourishing foliage and vegetation with an environment that has an abundance of moisture. This is not the case, especially not in Colorado! A reliable landscaping professional can provide you with a multitude of choices regarding greenery that can survive in extremely hot and sunny environments with minimal water and maintenance, which is, after all, what Xeriscaping is all about! Take, for example, the Western Catalpa tree. This lush, green tree requires a lot of sunlight and very little moisture. Perfect for Colorado! And when in bloom it provides a gorgeous display of fragrant, white blossoms, which instantly add charm to any landscape.
Or, perhaps you aren’t looking to invest in larger trees? Then you might like a low maintenance and vibrant flower like the Purple Iceplant. (Shown below) This gorgeous flower blooms from approximately the beginning of May through the end of June, if not longer. During the winter, although it lacks its beautiful purple flowers, the leaves of this unique plant survive the cold and sport a beautiful shade of burgundy during the colder months.
Intrigued yet? These are just TWO of a multitude of options to consider when Xeriscaping your property. Saving money does not mean skipping out on lush, green and GORGEOUS landscaping designs. You can have both!