Xeriscaping – creating a sustainable landscape

Xeriscaping means ”dry landscape”. It derives from the Greek word ”xeros” meaning dry.  Xeriscape gardens, of course, makes sense. When you use plants that are indigenous you have a low maintenance garden. Using native plants, you offer a familiar habitat for local wildlife. Drawing birds and insects will also boost pollination.

I feel that we are missing out on the beauty of this type of garden. Especially considering our dry climate and water restrictions. Xeriscaped gardens can be breathtaking when they are well-landscaped. Additionally there are several advantages to creating a xeriscaped garden. Using native plants connect the landscape to the region. The interplay of light and shadow, colours and plants can be spectacular!

You can really play with different elements in xeriscaping.  You can also use colours to evoke emotion. Add colours that compliment your region, like grey, green, ochre, sienna and red. This will create a dramatic outdoor area that’s cohesive with its environment. Creating an inviting landscape to draw people outside.

Bloemfontein resides in a savannah biome. So some grasses are welcome additions to xeric gardens in our region. With their fine foliage and tufted growth habit, they sway in the wind. They contrast with thicker succulents and don’t mind getting little water. It also brings softness and movement to your garden. Erogrostus capenses, melinis nervilumis and aristadia junctiformus are good choices.

South Africa features a show stopping range of spectacular aloes. Always a great choice for xeriscaped gardens. Their dramatic rosettes of fleshy leaves and bright orange flowers are stunning. You can use feature plants like aloes to add drama and structure. They’re stunning, as a stand-alone feature or in backdrop arrangements. Also use chondropetalum tectorum, dietes grandiflora and scabiosa africana. Add some kniphofia for some dramatic splashes of red. Ground covers like dymondia, aptenia cordiflora and gazania rigens are beautiful. They are also hardy and easy to care for.

Do not be afraid to use rocks, pebbles, gravel and pavers to add structure. This showcases your garden in a way that complements your home and also your region.  The results could be spectacular!