When designing a new subdivision or planned community with a focus on environmentally friendly practices, you should always start with the landscaping. Xeriscaping, a technique specifically designed for reducing water requirements in arid areas, adds beauty to the yards and common spaces between buildings with fewer sprinklers. Work at least one of these common xeriscaping ideas into your subdivision after picking up the necessary landscaping supplies.
Redesigned Rock Slopes
Slopes and hills leftover from grading are prone to erosion, and getting grass established on grades is also difficult. Instead of paying for half a dozen repeat visits for hydroseeding and costly irrigation, try a rock garden design instead. Cover most of the bare soil with gravel, rounded river stones, or other types of decorative stone with a geotextile base to keep weeds from settling in. Mix in some spreading evergreens that grow low to the ground and tough native grasses that grow in clumps without a need for regular cutting.
Artificial Turf Lawns
If your homeowners demand at least a little grass around the homes, consider using synthetic grass products instead of live sod. Realistic looking turf features thatch and varying stalk lengths, so no one will guess the grass isn't growing. These products offer homeowners lasting benefits like
- Lower water bills, with savings of up to 55 gallons of water per square foot of lawn
- Reduced maintenance and lawn service costs, along with less air pollution from noisy lawnmowers
- Even green color year round, no matter the soil quality in the yards.
Many designers mistakenly assume that xeriscaping means covering everything in rock and concrete for a desolate look. However, paver stones and slabs of cement work better when intermingled with strips of native plants and tough ground covers. Think of how grout fills the spaces between shower tiles for a seamless surface. This allows water to drain quickly instead of puddling on solid surfaces and running off later to cause erosion. Break up any large expanse of courtyard or parking lot with planted areas to increase both the beauty and sustainability of a hardscape.
Designing a drought-proof xeriscape often means planning for an unexpected and sudden influx of rain, as many arid climates experience at least one rainy season per year. Build berms while the grading equipment is still on the site. Berms are raised mounds that direct water to keep it from gaining momentum and taking loose soil with it. Cover these berms with mixes of native and low-water wildflowers for a beautiful raised flower bed that needs little care expect a dead heading trim after the flowers dry up.
Aside from raised berms, you can also make depressions known as swales. Connecting these ditches with road drainage pipes and other sources of runoff water can help you send the water to landscaping features like shade trees and hedge bushes for privacy. If there's too much water for small scale mounds and depressions, order french drain pipes to bury under the ground and funnel the water into pre-formed dry wells to prevent muddy wetland conditions.
Native plants are always good, but you can also experiment with more exotic options by finding a spot from a far part of the globe sharing your area's approximate climate. For example, many dry plains experience the same annual rainfall and temperature ranges as the mountainous regions near the Mediterranean Sea. Invest in a few eye-catching trees or plants from a compatible climate, then surround the center pieces with a variety of complementary plants native to the area around the planned community. The residents will appreciate your attention to detail, especially if you highlight the origins of the specialty plants with a small sign. For more information, contact a company such as Calgary Eagle Lake Professional Landscape Supply.