Even though drought is not a major concern for rainy Pennsylvania, the emerging practice of landscaping with plants requiring little water is becoming an increasingly popular method of water conservation and can certainly be practiced here for the same purpose.
Xeriscaping is a break from the uniformity and ubiquity of the American lawn. It concentrates on water conservation through specific landscaping practices: grouping plants of similar watering requirements together, switching to lawn grasses that use less water, decreasing the area of the lawn and using the lawn as an accent rather than the dominant element.
What replaces the lawn depends on where you live. In areas of the southwest, cacti and other native plants dominate, while in Pennsylvania the ground can be covered with shrubs and mulches. In either case, reducing your lawn’s area with trees, plants or even patios is an invaluable water conservation tool.
While xeriscaping has its environmental benefits, it also saves you time on lawn maintenance and, although it may sound complicated, xeriscaping is a simple alternative that doesn’t require a professional.
You can start by converting your expansive grass lawn to include the following:
- Ornamental Grasses
- Rock garden plantings
- Wildflowers native to your area
Then, start to landscape using these easy xeriscaping methods:
- Decreasing the size of your lawn or using mulch to hold moisture in which keeps your water usage down (and weeds out!)
- Grouping drought resistant plants together which ensures that areas of your yard wont be unnecessarily watered even during the drier months
- Growing native plants which reduces your landscaping maintenance as these plants naturally thrive in Pennsylvania’s climate and can often survive on their own without additional help
- Transplanting thirsty plants to boggy areas of your property which reduces additional watering
You can also improve your soil’s water-holding ability by adding your own compost, which is another environmentally responsible practice we recommend.