Xeriscape Resources

Xeric landscaping promotes water efficiency by using plants that are native and adaptable to Colorado's semi-arid climate. A well-designed Xeriscape can be a beautiful addition that can invite wildlife, provide year-round interest and save water. 


Xeriscape Principles

1. Planning & Design

  • Take note of existing landscaping, shading, microclimates, slopes etc

2. Soil Improvements

  • Front Range soils are predominantly made up of sand or clay. Clay soils take a long time to let water in and sandy soils do not hold water well enough. Adding soil amendment (1-2 inches of organic matter) can aid in water retention and thus generate root growth leading to happier and more drought resistant plants.
  • Native western plants species have evolved to not need high organic content. Adding trace minerals can be beneficial for these plants. The moral of the story is that you should decide on what you will be planting before the addition of a soil amendment so that it can be best tailored for the landscape you’re hoping to install.

3. Efficient Irrigation

  • Irrigation designs for Xeric landscapes may vary. If installing a sprinkler system (or using an existing system) remember to zone turf areas separately from the other plantings.
  • Drip, spray, or bubbler emitters are most efficient for watering trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcovers.

4. Zoning of Plants

  • Group together plants with similar light and water requirements. Dry, hot areas are great for the low water-use plants.

5. Mulches

  • Mulch helps to keep plant roots cool, prevents the soil from crusting, and helps to minimize evaporation. Mulch also does a great job of increasing the visual appeal of the garden.
  • When using organic material for mulch like bark chips, they should be applied at least 3-4 inches deep.
  • Rock and gravel mulches should be applied 2 inches deep. These mulches require less maintenance but they will act as a thermal mass which means your plant choices will have to be ok with higher temperatures.

6. Turf Alternatives

  • A xeric landscape can still have turf grass. Choosing a turf that uses less water than bluegrass will help to reduce the amount of water your landscape requires

7. Appropriate Maintenance

  • Maintain your new landscape by applying the proper amount of water, weeding, and taking care of the plants.


These programs will help you Xeriscape your landscape:
  • Resource Central Turf Removal:

    The first step of retrofitting your turf with water-wise landscaping is to remove the existing turf! Resource Central offers a turf removal program to help with the heavy lifting portion of this process. They also offer a Grass to Garden program where if you remove 200+sqft of turf you receive a free Garden in A Box and a drip irrigation kit.

  • Garden In A Box: The Town of Erie partners with Resource Central to offer discounted gardens to Erie residents. These gardens come up for sale in the spring and the fall.
View All