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How xeriscape can reduce water use in your garden

Xeriscaping can also help replace water-guzzling strips of grass next to the sidewalk.

DENVER — The word xeriscape is derived from the Greek word xeris, which means dry.

If done the right way — simply and without gimmicks — xeriscape gardens can be beautiful and sustainable.

They're especially great to replace water-guzzling strips of grass next to the sidewalk.

Here's how to create a xeriscape:

  • Strip out turf and get beds below the sidewalk level.
  • Don't amend the soil with manure or compost. Grow plants lean and mean.
  • Select drought-tolerant plants. Most nurseries have a xeriscape section.
  • Never use weed barrier, black plastic, bark mulch or gravel. 
  • Water the first year to get plants established or when there's a prolonged drought.
  • Be vigilant about weeding the first year. As plants fill in there will be less opportunity for weeds.

You'll discover which plants work best in your conditions. Some plants are more drought-tolerant than you might think.

Select native and adaptable plants from around the world. There are many regions that have similar conditions as ours.

Some of the most successful plants in my conditions include bloody cranesbill, meadow sage, iris, yarrow, milkweed and cowboy's delight.

Check with your municipality on codes concerning planting and height restrictions. That's especially important if you live on a corner since you don't want to block the view of drivers.

More Proctor's Garden:

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