How to Create an Eco-Friendly Backyard With Xeriscaping

by Megan Kioulafofski
xeriscaping backyard

Perfect for those with a busy life, xeriscaping has boomed over the past several years. What is xeriscaping, you might ask? Xeriscaping is a type of drought-tolerant landscaping. It involves a mixture of benefits for your backyard – from little to no maintenance to limited irrigation. 

This landscape is not only convenient but also much more eco-friendly than traditional landscaping. Xeriscaped yards require less water, as it involves drought tolerant plants and there is typically little grass. In fact, with xeriscaping, the water use will be reduced by up to 70%. 

Not only is xeriscaping eco-friendly, but it is also very cost-efficient. The limited water usage can save you up to 30% on your utility bills. Plus, it can increase the overall value of your property anywhere from 5-13%. 

If you are wanting to add to your landscape in an eco-friendly and simple way, xeriscaping might be for you! We have curated a step-by-step guide to creating your xeriscaped backyard.

How to Create a Xeriscape Your Backyard

There are 7 key components to creating and maintaining a xeriscaped yard. With the right planning and execution, you will have an eco-friendly, drought-tolerant backyard in no time! Follow these simple xeriscaping steps to get started.

1. Design your new yard’s layout

The first step in any process is to have a plan or garden design to go by. Plan out the features of your new lawn and how it will fit in with the rest of your home’s appeal. 

Draw out a birds-eye view of your home and yard, adding any features and fixtures that are permanent, plus any features you want to add- such as a xeriscaped space, an oasis zone, a walkway, a transition zone, or a fountain. Even consider the colors and textures of these features. 

A landscape design will not only help you visualize what you are wanting in your new space but also help any contractors you may hire to help create your yard. 

2. Calculate costs and needed supplies

After you have decided what you want your new yard to look like, it is time to start making a list of needed supplies. Understanding what supplies you need and how much they will cost you will give you a rough estimate of what this project will cost. 

Some common supplies needed when xeriscaping the backyard include:

  • Rocks, gravel, or sand
  • Weedkiller
  • Paver stones
  • Metal edging
  • Shovels

You will also need to consider the size of your landscape or the area you plan on xeriscaping to know how much you will need of certain supplies. Some people choose to xeriscape their entire yard, while others choose to only xeriscape certain zones. 

While xeriscaping is often a more costly process than a traditional landscaping job, it will save you money in the long run as traditional landscaping requires more maintenance and upkeep. 

3. Remove current plants and grass

In order to get the xeriscaped look and for your backyard to be low maintenance, you will have to remove any current trees or grass in the area you plan to xeriscape. Oftentimes this is the hardest part of the xeriscaping process. 

If you plan on doing this yourself you will most likely have to have tools such as a stump grinder, pickaxe, or sheers. If your yard has many trees or plants, it may be best to call in professional reinforcements.

4. Treat the area for weeds

Once the ground is bare, you will need to treat the area to prevent the growth of weeds and grass. There are chemicals to prevent grass and weeds, but we understand wanting to go chemical-free. Luckily, if you prefer to use zero chemicals, you can lay down a weed mat or cardboard under your mulch to keep weeds from sprouting.

5. Plant natives and add xeriscape materials 

This is where the process gets very rewarding. During this step, you will begin planting and adding your xeriscaping materials, such as rocks, ornamental grasses, pavers, and edging. Your vision of how the backyard should look will come to life!

While you will want flowers and plants that are very drought-tolerant in your new xeriscape, you will also want to make sure these plants are native to your region so they can thrive in your climate. Here are some of the native plants most likely to thrive in each region.

  • West: Desert Willow, Blue Palo Verde, Desert Marigold
  • South: Sweetbay Magnolia, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Narrowleaf Sunflower
  • Midwest: Hackberry, American Cranberrybush, Swamp Milkweed
  • Northeast: Winterberry, Blue Vervain, Cardinal Flower

6. Add final touches

Final touches can take your xeriscaping to the next level. Consider adding solar panels, yard signs, or figurines to your new backyard to add a personal touch. 

Adding smart tech to your xeriscape can be eco-friendly and convenient as well. Solar-powered lanterns will guide your walkway, whereas moisture meters can help you keep track of when your plants actually need to be watered. Using this technology is a great low-maintenance and eco-friendly way to maintain your new xeriscape. 

7. Create a maintenance schedule

Once your xeriscape is complete, you can finally relax. Xeriscapes are extremely low maintenance, but you will still want to keep a maintenance schedule handy to prevent anything from happening to the beautiful space you have created. The following tasks can serve as a guideline for maintaining your new yard.

  • Weekly: Mow and tend to any grass near your xeriscaped space to keep it from intruding.
  • A few times each month: Water the plants as needed.
  • Every few months: Check for weed growth. If there is any, consider a weed killer or putting more weed mats/cardboard down.
  • Each fall: Use your leaf blower to keep leaves out of your xeriscaped space to keep it looking clean and beautiful.

Overall, xeriscaping your backyard is a great, eco-friendly way to upgrade your curb appeal. It is also cost-effective in the long run, as it lowers utility bills and can even lower your home insurance

Xeriscaping has even been known to protect your home from wildfires. There are so many benefits to this style of landscaping. Get started now to be more eco-friendly and create a beautiful outdoor space.

Xeriscaping Infographic

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Author: Lily Scott

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