Planning a Landscape

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on July 20, 2010

It is 103 degrees outside my window in Texas.  We have another two months of close to 100 degree temperatures to go.  It doesn’t get very bearable outside until October.  It seems an odd time, then, to talk about landscaping.

Now, however, is when you see which plants survive the heat and drought.  Are any of them thriving?  These are the types of plants you want more of.  What plants are dead and will not return?  Replace them with plants adapted to the rainfall in your region.  Xeriscaping, Native Scaping, Earth Kind® Landscaping — these are all names for planting the sorts of plants that would naturally live in your area.

Water Wise flower bedIt is a persistent myth that this means putting down rocks and cactus.  That is only xeriscaping is you live in the desert.  In East Texas, it is stupid.  With dogwoods, crape myrtles, and tons of wildflowers to chose from, the landscape can be both colorful and water wise.  This colorful bed is at the Dallas Arboretum and certainly doesn’t consist of rocks and cactus!

Other regions have their own indiginous plants you can use for color and variety.  An additional benefit of using plants adapted for your area is that they provide habitat for birds and small animals.  Since you will not have to water much, your water bills will be considerably lower.  So will plant replacement costs, since fewer of the plants will die prematurely.

Where can you find more information?  Texas Agrilife Extension Service maintains an extensive Earth Kind® gardening website.  There are a number of downloadable pdf publications there, as well.  Some counties hold fall landscape design workshops that include a consultation with a knowledgable design specialist.  Contact your extension office for more information.

If you live in the United States, there is an extension agent for your county.  They may go by slightly different names, but they exist.  I believe Canada has a similar system of providing agricultural guidance to individuals.  What do you do when you have agricultural questions in your area?

Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today! 

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