Xeriscaping - An Innovative Approach to Water Conservation

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More than just an industry buzz word, xeriscaping offers an alternative to maintaining the island’s beautiful landscapes with minimal water waste. You can save anywhere from 30%-80% of outdoor water consumption through xeriscaping. If you are interested in turning your landscape into a xeriscape (or a partial xeriscape), there are several guidelines to follow.

The basic premise of xeriscaping is to take advantage of natural climate conditions to make efficient use of irrigation. It’s essential to include plants whose natural requirements are suitable to the local climate. For us in Hawaii, beach naupaka and yellow hibiscus are two examples of indigenous, or native, plants to the islands.

It is equally important to limit and separate grassed areas - that often require the greatest amount of watering - from trees, shrubs and flowering plants. This distinction allows each area to be irrigated individually. You may also consider replacing turf with low water-demanding plants or mulches.

Another fundamental principle of xeriscaping is regular maintenance. Xeriscapes can actually help reduce maintenance costs. By consistently pruning, weeding and properly fertilizing, you can realize even greater water savings. Finally, be sure not to over irrigate; always water according to plant needs.

So, if you’ve heard about xeriscaping, but you thought it meant having a garden full of cacti, you may want to reconsider this creative landscaping approach to conserving water.