What is xeriscaping?
For some, the term “xeriscaping” evokes visions of barren, rock and cactus-filled spaces. (In fact, at the recent Town Hall, the mere utterance of the term “xeriscape” caused an obvious shudder in more than one homeowner!)
However, xeriscaping need not be barren or ugly. Xeriscaping is simply the process of landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation. It is not anti-lawn: xeriscape designs (including the one for my yard!) can often include areas of functional turf. And it’s important to remember that xeriscaping is not anti-vegetation. In most instances, xeriscaping increases the diversity of plants in the yard because all that turf gets replaced with a range of xeric plants (some of which are native) that require little to no water. In my garden, we rely heavily on the Plant Select program to identify beautiful plants that will provide habitat while reducing our water use (no more Tier 5 pricing water bills for me!).
Where to start? Creekside HOA Board member Kevin O’Brien created a great FAQ deck for the Town Hall that includes information on xeriscaping (look in Appendix B). That FAQ deck can be found here.
How to get your xeriscape design approved? Currently, the Design Guidelines for the Creekside HOA are silent on specific requirements for xeriscaping (they were written decades ago, hence the need for the proposed consolidated covenants*). However, this does not preclude a homeowner from submitting and receiving approval for a xeriscape design to replace turf. The Architectural Design Committee (led by Jackie Wahl) is diligent in reviewing designs to ensure they embrace the seven principles of landscape design.
*Once the consolidated covenants are adopted, the Board will be empowered to issue updated design guidelines with specific recommendations for xeriscaping. In the mean time, consider contacting a local landscape architect for advice on how to incorporate the seven principles of landscape design. And don’t be shy about asking your neighbors if you see them re-landscaping with xeric plants. Most of us love to talk about xeriscaping!
Watch this space for more suggestions and resources for transforming your yard into a beautiful water-wise landscape!