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Xeriscape Landscaping


Picture of red bird of paradise, aka Pride of Barbados, peacock flower, Poinciana.

Mexican bird of paradise is more attractive than many desert plants.

Jack Hollingsworth / Getty Images

Xeriscape landscaping, by definition, is landscaping designed specifically for areas that are susceptible to drought, or for properties where water conservation is practiced. Derived from the Greek xeros meaning "dry," the term means literally "dry landscape."

Note that "xeriscape" is pronounced as if it began with the letter, Z. This sometimes leads to the misspelling, "zeroscape." But xeriscape landscaping techniques needn't result in a "big zero" for landscape design aesthetics. In fact, as most people employ the term, xeriscape landscaping needn't be limited to desert plants that are about as attractive as barbed wire (for example, certain cacti). Rather, the practice allows you to use the plants you want, but insists on common-sense measures that will help conserve water, such as grouping plants with similar water requirements together.

Nonetheless, a common element in xeriscape landscaping is the reduction of lawn grass areas, since lawn grass is often one of the worst offenders against water conservation. Another widespread tactic is the deployment of indigenous plants, since they are adapted to the local climate and consequently require less water. Plants most suited to xeriscape landscaping are sometimes referred to as "xeric" plants.

Also Known As: xeriscaping
Common Misspellings: zeriscape landscaping, zeroscape landscaping, xeroscape landscaping

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