Did you know that for most North Texans, half of the money spent on water bills during the summer goes towards watering the lawn?
There are a number of techniques you can use that will beautify your yard while still conserving water. You may have heard the term 'xeriscaping' (pronounced zeer-i-skey-ping) before. This is the use of native and adaptive plants that can take the summer heat without requiring large amounts of water that will strain your pocketbook or the region's water supply.
There are numerous ways to incorporate xeriscaping into your yard:
- Water your plants and turf deeply and less frequently. Frequent, shallow watering keeps plant roots too close to the surface of your yard. Using less frequent watering trains roots to go deeper into the ground, where they are better protected from the Texas heat and better prepared to grow strong, resulting in bigger and healthier plants.
- Use an automated sprinkler system to maintain your yard. Incorporate a rain sensor to ensure that your system does not run during rain events.
- Audit your sprinkler system by observing where and how long your watering zones need to run. Reposition sprinkler heads so that you're not sprinkling the sidewalk or street. Using empty tuna or cat food cans, run zones for as long as it takes for the cans to fill with one inch of water and then program your sprinkler system accordingly.
- When planning your landscaping, take note of what side of the house you're planting on and where and much sun there is in these areas.
- When planning the layout of your garden or yard, make sure plants that are next to each other require the same amount of water. This makes watering much easier.
- Use native and adaptive plants that can take hot Texas summers without requiring copious amounts of water or care. These plants also require fewer pesticides and fertilizers to thrive in the north Texas environment.
There are many resources available when you are ready to incorporate xeriscaping in your yard:
- www.txsmartscape.com - The Texas SmartScape website has information on planning for your lawn or garden and contains a powerful plant search database
- aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu - Texas A&M's horticulture site is a great source of gardening information
- www.dallascountymastergardeners.org - Dallas County Master Gardeners
- www.dcmga.com - Denton County Master Gardeners
- aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses/ - Find out which roses can take the Texas heat
- www.texasplantandsoillab.com - Having your soil tested will help you find plants that are the most appropriate for your yard
- www.texassuperstar.com - Learn which flowers and plants thrive in north Texas
- texastreeplanting.tamu.edu - Contains information on trees with a searchable database
When looking for plants and other materials necessary for xeriscaping, there are several resources available:
1651 Wall St.
Garland, TX 75041
North Haven Gardens
7700 Northaven Rd.
Dallas, TX 75230