Drought-tolerant landscaping done right in a California front yard

Conserve Water with a Xeriscape Makeover

After months of severe drought, now is the time to consider giving your lawn a xeric makeover. The District encourages the use of xeriscape or Waterwise gardens to promote water conservation. Xeriscaping is landscaping that limits the need for watering in arid climates. Landscapes can require 50% of the water used for home consumption. Transforming your lawn can save you 30% to 80% can be attained with the use of xeriscaping.

Use the seven principles of xeriscaping (as listed below) to create a beautiful landscape that will help conserve water and reduce your water bill.

  1. Planning and Design: Be creative and design your own or consult with a professional landscaper. Planning allows you to install your landscape in phases which can reduce expenses.
  2. Limitation of Turf: Locate turf in the most functional area of your yard. Keep xeriscaping separate from planting of trees, shrubs, or flowers so that it can be irrigated separately.
  3. Use of Water Efficient Plants: Choose plants, shrubs and cacti that use little water. Examples are listed below.
  4. Efficient Irrigation: Be sure to irrigate turf areas separately from other cultivation in the yard. Regular adjustments to your irrigation system can save water and money.
  5. Soil Amendments: Soil improvements allow for better absorption of water and improved water-holding capacity. Soils with organic matter provide beneficial nutrients to plants.
  6. Use of Mulches: Mulches cover and cool soil, minimize evaporation, reduce weed growth, and slow erosion. They can also add color and attraction to your turf.
  7. Appropriate Landscape Maintenance: Regular maintenance preserves the beauty of your landscape and saves water. Xeriscapes can help reduce maintenance costs. Regular pruning, weeding, fertilization, pest control, and irrigation system adjustments increase water savings and reduce expenses.

Examples of Waterwise plants that thrive well in Colorado:

  • Fernbush
  • Agastache
  • Spanish Gold Broom
  • Catmint
  • Iceplant
  • Blue Avena Grass
  • Penstemon
  • Mojave Sage
  • Prairie Winecups
  • Mexican Feather Grass
  • Apache Plume
  • Torch Lilly
  • Crimson Pygmy Barberry
  • Agave
  • Prairie Coneflower
  • Creeping Western Sand Cherry
  • Coral Bells
  • Yucca


Additional Xeriscape ideas and information can be found at the following links: