Backyard-featuring-a-xeriscape-and-redwood-landscaping-elementsMore than just redwood decking, fences and patio furniture, Mendocino Forest Products is dedicated to providing eco-friendly tips for our readers. Xeriscaping is one method for helping preserve precious water resources. A term for low-water landscaping, “xeriscaping” refers to a method of landscape design that minimizes water use.

Proper landscaping design such as sun alignment, drought-resistant plants, high-quality soil and proper irrigation can improve your home environment and lower your water bill. Some of the advantages of xeriscaping include reducing the consumption of water and lower overall maintenance requirements.

The following are six general steps for xeriscaping:

Plan and Design: Create a diagram that shows the major elements of your landscape ideas. Be sure to include areas such as your house, driveway, sidewalk, deck or patio, along with existing trees and other elements.

Soil Amendment: You will need to know if your soil is too sandy or contains too much clay so you can determine whether to amend the soil. Alternately, you can seek plants that prefer your particular soil conditions.

Efficient Irrigation: A xeriscape can be irrigated by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system. Zone turf separately from other plants and use different watering methods for each. Consider using spray, drip line or bubbler emitters.

Appropriate Plant and Zone Selections: Nurseries and landscape planners can help you find and choose the correct plants for your soil and sun.

Mulch: Mulch keeps the plant roots cool, prevents soil from crusting, minimizes evaporation and reduces weeds. Redwood mulch is an excellent choice.

Maintenance: Turf needs aeration in the spring and fall and fertilization about every two months. Trees, shrubs and perennials need occasional pruning to remove dead stems, promote blooms and control height and spread.

Despite its seemingly complicated name, xeriscaping — with proper planning and implementation — can lead to a beautiful and low-maintenance landscape that can also save your pocketbook and reduce stress on the environment.