Friday, January 27, 2012

Xeriscape to Oasis: Transitioning your landscape pallette

Xeriscape in the landscape provides great beauty; it also saves water usage. Xeriscape comes from the Greek word, xeros, meaning dry. The basic way of xeriscape is by using different adaptive plants and native, low water use plants. It is more efficient from a maintenance standpoint, and is more easily sustainable with the choices you have available. Transitioning to an oasis landscape takes careful consideration. Oasis comes from Greek or Egyptian, meaning where the water table approaches or reaches the ground surface.

Here are some thoughts to consider for your project that need to be addressed.

Planning and Designing maximizes the efficiency of your project. You may go with all xeriscape or you may want to transition to an oasis setting as well. Transitioning takes planning, and the plant palette becomes a critical element for development of a beautiful landscape.

Some people use xeriscape throughout the yard (see the top two pictures), but you have options! A good plan design will ensure your maximum usage of water. There are numerous Irrigation choices based upon water usage needs. There are numerous types of irrigation, from "drip" water systems to broadcast water systems. Depending upon your choices for your plant palette, ensure you have the most efficient

Soil samples are necessary to determine pH levels, how much amendments are necessary for plant choices (vegetable or herb gardens, bulb gardens, native plants, etc.); sandy, loamy, or clay are the three basic soil types. Each has its own properties that impact plant choices and water retention. Mulch, whether it be decomposed granite, rock, wood chips, bark, shredded wood, or different types of ground cover (grasses, myoporum parviflora, dahleas, etc.) may help your decision for what type of  water retention methods you choose to use.

Space utilization and aesthetics will play a major role in your plant selection. The size of your yard helps to determine the Practicality - do you have children, do you have/want a pool or water features - that need to be considered when planning your project. With oasis options, you open up a large choice of high-water use plants like water lilies, iris, lotus, water hyacinth, reeds, oxygenators ... the list is vast and colorful! With a xeriscape or transition palette, your practicality needs may include Maintenance, how much time you want to invest in your yard ... what you want! A good consultation will present  your choices in an effective manner.

Color will also be incorporated into an effective plan within a transition from xeriscape to an oasis. Plant selections can provide year round color, and the choices come in annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Once again, this is all part of the planning and designing that should be taken into affect to impact your landscape choices. Flower beds mix well with desert shrubs very effectively if designed well.

These are just some of the areas of consideration for your landscape. Xeriscape, Transition, Oasis ... all play an important role, and we would be glad to answer any questions you might have. Call us at (520) 751-0232 for any further information, or would like a consultation. Check out our GEL website for services we offer; we'd be glad to share our expertise with you!

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