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Xeriscape Garden

The Xeriscape Garden is located just inside the 1200 East entrance to campus. The Xeriscape Garden is an educational example of a drought resistant landscape. It flourishes with rich colors and a variety of shrubs and grasses, making it attractive to visitors to the college and the surrounding community. As water is becoming a serious issue of concern, it is crucial that Westminster can provide landscapes that are suitable for the desert environment. 


Plants found in the Xeriscape Garden

- Oregon Grape (Mahonia-akufolium)
- Fire Cracker Penstemen (Penstemen eatonii)
- Princess Plume (Stanleya Pinnata)
- Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium Scoparium)
- Wooley Tyme (Tymus Lanuginosus)
- Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)


7 Xeriscape Principles

1. Planning and Design
- The first step is to look at your existing landscape and create a "base plan." This diagram, drawn to scale, should show the major elements of your landscape, including house, driveway, sidewalk, deck or patio, existing trees and other elements. A plan provides direction and guidance and will ensure that water-saving techniques are implemented in the landscape.


2. Soil Improvements
- Non-native plants may require soil amendments; native plants often do not. Amending your soil with organic material, such as compost or manure, can help retain and release water. For most soils, adding 1 to 2 inches of organic material 6 inches deep can improve your soil.


3. Efficient Irrigation
- A Xeriscape can be irrigated efficiently by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system. If you're installing a sprinkler system, it's a good idea to plan this at the same time you design the landscape. Zone turf areas separately from other plantings and use the irrigation method that waters the plants in each area most efficiently. For grass, low-pressure, low-angle sprinklers irrigate best. Drip, spray or bubble emitters are most efficient for watering trees, shrubs, flowers and groundcovers.


4. Plant Zones
- Different areas in your yard receive different amounts of light, wind and moisture. To minimize water waste, group together plants with similar light and water requirements, and place them in an area that matches these requirements. Put high-water-use plants in low-lying drainage areas, near downspouts, or in the shade of other plants. Plant higher water-use plants where it is easy to water.


5. Mulches
- Mulch keeps plant roots cool, prevents soil from crusting, minimizes evaporation and reduces weed growth. Organic mulches, such as bark chips, pole peelings or wood grindings, should be applied at least 4 inches deep. Because they decompose over time, they're an excellent choice for new beds. As plants mature and spread, they'll cover the mulched areas.


6. Turf Alternatives
- One way to use less water is to reduce the amount of bluegrass turf in your landscape. Native or low-water-use plants, patios, decks or mulches can beautify your landscape while saving water. Also try planting turf such as buffalo grass, blue grama grass, turf-type tall fescue and fine fescues to reduce water use in your landscape.


7. Maintenance
- Xeriscape will need to be watered, pruned and fertilized, and will need to have pest control. Maintenance time for a new Xeriscape garden is similar to a traditional landscape, but it will decrease over time.