Xeriscaping – Rethinking the Lawn – Juliann Breeding
Why do we have green grass lawns? Is it because everyone does? Maybe it is time to change our mindset about what our landscapes should look like. Lawns take lots of water and Ohio occasionally has dry periods but not all areas of the U. S. are so lucky. In 1978 after Colorado suffered its worst drought in 40 years, Denver Water developed the idea of xeriscaping. Extension Master Gardener Maureen McCracken defines xeriscaping as “creative landscaping with the objective of water conservation through the use of drought-tolerant plants.”
Water is becoming an expensive, less available resource and because gardeners in general are conservation-minded, environmentally-educated and wish to make a smaller footprint on the planet, xeriscaping should become a serious gardening concept to use even in the Midwest.
Xeriscaping saves water, maintenance, time, money spent on pesticides and fertilizers and reduces pollution and provides habitat for wildlife. However, replacing grass all at once seems overwhelming. We all make some changes each year, so what makes sense is to devise a long-term design and divide it into small projects so over time we convert our landscapes to conserve water and reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides. Homeowners’ associations do not tend to require permits with small incremental changes.