Xeriscaping for a house

Going drought tolerant doesn’t mean having a dull yard

When Natalie and Rodney Curry first moved to Georgetown, they bought land and built a house. In Natalie’s opinion, the home reflected their preference for modern styles but the land did not. It was a sloping and unruly piece of land, plagued by drainage issues, dotted with trees, and definitely not drought resistant. Natalie and Rodney decided that they needed help.

A neighbor recommended that they contact Justin Pride, owner of Pride of Texas, a local irrigation and landscaping company. He proposed a xeriscaping plan to gently redesign their lot with a simple, modern scheme. “Xeriscaping involves using different types of rock and material instead of grass,” Justin explains. “The landscaping doesn’t require heavy watering, because it is drought tolerant.”

The couple’s project spanned several months, utilizing the winter for laying a foundation and the warmer months for planting. With minimal effort, Justin enhanced the lot without deeply impacting the surface.

Phase one involved determining the needs of the land. The drainage issue needed the most immediate attention. “With xeriscaping, you can incorporate dry creek beds for aesthetics and positive drainage without erosion,” Justin points out. “You have to look at which way water might drain or needs to drain.”

Justin embraced the land’s natural drainage tendencies by building dry creek beds and placing large rocks along the path to slow the drain of water and save the land from erosion. The large rocks, called Bull rocks, slow drainage and can be dually purposed as natural artistic statement pieces.

During phase two, Justin worked to create the more modern look the couple wanted. He used red-colored mulch to create borders around existing trees. Then he finished the xeriscaped bedding with easy-to-maintain decomposed granite—a small, pinkish, pebble-like rock. The pink and red hues throughout the garden serve as a colorful backdrop against the couple’s grey and white home. “It looks very clean cut and maintains its look well,” Natalie says. “I wanted something clean, simple, and modern.”

To finish the xeriscaping project, Justin utilized the warmer months for planting drought- and deer- resistant plants. At first, Natalie researched a few drought-resistant plants on her own, finding inspiration both online and in books. But she got frustrated. “I did get a little discouraged as I researched plant choices,” Natalie explains. “I did most of my plant searches online by Googling unique shrubs and plants that are drought resistant and native to Texas. I would find flowers that appeal to me and then discover they were native to another state.”

Xeriscaping path

Justin advises Georgetown clients to check with their landscaper or local nursery expert during the plant-picking phase because they know Georgetown’s problem areas. “In some places you have black dirt or rock,” Justin warns. “The problem is that situations and locations are so varied.” Natalie eventually chose plants like succulents and cactus that were both low maintenance and drought resistant.

The whole xeriscaping process, Natalie says, was well worth the time and money. “It’s definitely going to be an investment,” she advises those considering xeriscaping. “However, we intend to do more xeriscaping in the future. It’s more of an investment up front, but it pays off!”

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