Welcome to the RMWQAA Website! 

Xeriscaping in Colorado

26 Jun 2022 10:10 AM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina and we never had to water our yards because we typically had plenty of rain, sometimes too much. We had lush green lawns that would have to be mowed at least once and week and a plethora of flowers and weeds.

My family and I moved to Colorado when I was 12 and I remember my mom complaining about having to water the yard, by hand, since we didn’t have an automatic sprinkler system. This was a new concept for my family. At that time, I didn’t think too much about it since I wasn’t the one going outside every 15-20 minutes to move the sprinklers.

Fast forward 12 years and with the purchase of my first house I had the pleasure of watering my own lawn and trying to keep the grass from dying so I didn’t get a nasty gram from my HOA. At least I was fortunate to have a sprinkler system, but I had the same clay soil that my parents had and the same problem of trying to keep the grass green without using too much water.

At that time, I became interested in gardening, and I had heard about xeriscaping. This was a term created by Denver Water in 1981 by combining “landscape” and the Greek word “xeros” which means dry. So I did a little research and removed some areas of grass and started planting flowers. I planted flowers that were recommended for xeriscaping such as yarrow, bearded iris, lavender, penstemon, and valerian to name a few. I found I had a ‘light green’ thumb and enjoyed watching the flowers grow.

A few years later my husband and I moved to our second house, and I knew I wanted more than a yard full of grass. It was a new build, so the builder put in the front yard (grass, a tree, and a couple of shrubs) and we were responsible for the backyard. We spent that summer designing and creating our backyard retreat. We added a gazebo, garden (with many plants recommended for xeriscaping), patio, playset, and grass. We added grass because we had a small child that loved to play ball outside and also because it was much cheaper than plants.

Over time the yard has gone through some renovations. The garden has matured, the playset has been removed and a playhouse and small pond have been constructed in its place.

So, you might ask, where is she going with this story? I wanted to show you that if you want to xeriscape, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start small, maybe with a problematic area in your yard that gets too much sun, and no matter how much you water, the grass doesn’t grow. Water efficiency is becoming more important and as our streams and reservoirs continue to dry up every drop of water that we can save matters.

Below are some photos of my garden. Maybe it will inspire someone to give xeriscaping a try!

Lesa Julian is the Environmental Services Superintendent for the City and County of Broomfield. She lives in Frederick and loves spending time with her family, traveling, trying new restaurants (especially BBQ), gardening, and reading.

© Rocky Mountain Water Quality Analysts Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software