Mark Galante's Blog
Your xeriscape plan now includes ornamental grasses for volume, flowering plants for color through the seasons and succulents for intense greenery, texture and ground-coverage. What about height? And shade! Shade trees are typically not tolerant of drought conditions, but there are a few different options, depending on your climate. So, what trees can you plant in your yard to continue your eco-conscious gardening quest? Here are a few ideas to add shade and stature to your yard.
Oak — There are many varieties of oak trees. Most are drought tolerant, enjoy full sun and provide great shade for your yard. The oak that's best for you depends mostly on your climate zone and size of the yard. The following are three beautiful oak trees to consider.
Live Oak — Enjoy a sizeable shade-heavy tree with this oak species native to America. Live Oak grows to about sixty feet, and its branches can expand up to 120 feet in width. Give your oak care while it establishes itself. Help it develop a branch structure with pruning during its first three years and enjoy your tree through mature growth and beyond. Establish this tree in your garden now and share with those who come after you for centuries.
Bur Oak — The Bur Oak can withstand extreme heat and drought and still grows up to eighty feet tall, and eighty feet wide. This oak does have a slow growth rate, increasing in size just up to twelve inches each year. The shade created by Bur Oak is dense, and its bark adds unique texture to your yard.
Red Oak — An incredibly stately tree, the Northern Red Oak is a fantastic choice for your yard. Growing slightly shorter in stature to the Live and Bur Oak, the Red Oak fits a smaller yard size with just a sixty to a seventy-foot height at maturity and a forty-foot width. Red oaks are particularly useful if you want fast growth in your yard. This tree gains up to two feet each year.
Hackberry — Known by experts as one of the most robust trees capable of surviving in a variety of soils and conditions, the Hackberry should be on your list as a possible addition to your xeriscape. The Hackberry grows at a medium pace, around twelve to twenty-four inches per year and up to sixty feet tall and wide at maturity. Beautiful leaves and red berry-like fruit make this tree great for shade coverage and color.
Sugar Maple — For an enormous burst of color in the fall add a Sugar Maple to your yard. Leaves change from deep green to red to orange to yellow creating a rainbow of interest. This moderately drought tolerant tree can grow in many climate zones and reaches up to seventy-five feet and fifty feet wide at its mature size. With a medium growth-rate, the Sugar Maple sees twelve to twenty-four inches of grown per year.
Trees are a more expensive part of your landscaping investment so be sure to research and select the best species and variety for your area. With proper selection and careful establishing these additions will provide color and shade to your xeriscape yard. Pair with your ornamental grasses, flowering plants, and succulents for the perfect drought-tolerant yard design.
If a xeriscape home is essential to you, tell your realtor now. They can help you find the yard design you want before you buy the property and save you the cost of an overhaul. Or, they can find a better deal for you on a home lacking in landscaping to keep room in your budget to create your dream xeriscape.
Xeriscaping, or dry-scaping, is a method of gardening intended to minimize the need for irrigation and ongoing watering. You can develop a xeriscape in any climate, using the right plants, but it most commonly appears in drought-prevalent areas with more mild winters and hot summers. If you live in a desert or southern climate, this might be the right solution for you. Xeriscaping is an excellent option for those dealing with yards that are tough to irrigate. They're also a fantastic cost-saving solution to avoid needing any additional irrigation for your yard, and for lowering water usage throughout the life of your yard.
In this series discover some great go-to plants to consider when building your xeriscape plan. One of the best types of plant you can employ in your xeriscape is ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses grow big and full making them tremendously useful for fleshing out your xeriscape. Add a selection of different grasses for variation in color and size throughout your landscape. Here are some beautiful species to consider when designing your xeriscape.
Purple Fountain Grass — Of all ornamental grasses this fountain grass is one of the most popular and preferred grasses for gardens of all types and is perfect for your xeriscape. It is a perennial that loves full sun and only occasional watering. You can plant Purple Fountain Grass in all seasons and enjoy rusty, rose and purple colored plums from summer through fall. This plant combines very well when clumped with other drought-tolerant plants but can also stand on its own as a statement piece in your landscape.
Mexican Feather Grass — This annual grass is a very light wispy and finely textured grass. It produces green and brown coloring year-round with small flower heads through Summer. Mexican Feather Grass, a highly drought-tolerant plant, prefers full sun and dry soil. This grass has scant watering needs and is very sensitive to water. For best results keep the plant dry. Though it is an annual, this grass reseeds on its own making it an excellent option for creating coverage in sloping yards or meadows. It also adapts very well to flower beds and containers for more controlled growth.
Blue Oat Grass —The silver-blue leaves of this grass are a striking addition to any landscape. Blue Oat Grass is drought-tolerant and even salt resistant, allowing it to thrive in warm environments with dry soil. Considered semi-evergreen this beautiful grass requires little maintenance while providing color year-round and creating beautiful plumes through the summer.
Artificial Turf — A significant part of xeriscaping involves reduced lawn areas in your yard. You want to create a sustainable xeriscape, but you also need some area of your yard for children or pets to run around. So maybe it's not an actual plant, but artificial turf grass is an excellent solution for your lawn. Add a small amount of turf for the final touch on your perfect eco-friendly yard. The initial cost of artificial grass is higher than live turf, but the ongoing maintenance and environmental costs saved on watering, fertilizing and mowing are significant. Before you start planting ornamental grasses, flowers and trees determine whether or not you need an area of turf.
Now that you have some essential grasses to start your xeriscape plan read on to the next part of this series for some beautiful flowering plants to add for pops of color in your landscape.