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You’ve no doubt heard the phrase xeriscape at least once before, but what does it mean? Xeriscaping means landscaping with native plants that have little need for water and are easily adapted to the local environment, protecting the surrounding and avoiding the waste of natural resources.

This practice is an increasingly common trend among hotels and easily adaptable to home gardens as well. Further, it does not require any special knowledge, only a bit of curiosity about local plant species and some imagination to create a truly original garden.


These low-effort xeriscape gardens provide a great advantage over conventional approaches, providing a significant decrease in water consumption and less overall investment in the time needed for its care,  resulting in less total expense and energy. To this we can add that it also serves as a habitat for local wildlife and native bees, butterflies and other animals.

We at Responsible Hotels can explain how to create such a sustainable garden in just 5 easy steps using xeriscapes as inspiration for new ideas.

  • Soil

The first thing to consider is the type of soil you have to work with and what kind of water it will require. If you have sandy, loamy, well-drained, organic matter, the need will be minimal. Once the soil type is in place, its time to move on to the next step – your choice of plants.

  • Choosing Plants

We can properly select plants for this process according to the type of soil available and climate conditions at your home. For this step, its useful to rely on some help from a local nursery staff. The species that can most commonly live well with this sort of irrigation are trees, Mediterranean shrubs, herbs as well as those plants most adapted to drought conditions.  It is not highly recommended to use grass as it will require large amounts of water, but there are some varieties that need less attention and energy.



  • Design and Planning

Once you know the type of soil and which plants would work best, it is not time to turn your attention to distribution. For our purposes, we group these plants according to the need for irrigation. Another recommended measure is to create spaces of shade to help reduce water loss for individual species.

  • Efficient Irrigation

At this point, we must consider which irrigation system that we will use. The ideal is a drain or drip system timer, which optimizes the use of water as each plant requires. It is important to schedule the watering time outside of hours of high heat to avoid quick evaporation. Another tip is to collect rain water in storage tanks if available.



  • Mulching or Natural Covers

When using this approach to gardening, it is important to use something to cover surfaces, like rocks or tree bark. In addition to offering a decorative addition to the garden and a minimalist touch, the coverage also keeps moisture in and helps control the growth of weeds. Such materials are natural casings for our garden that we must periodically replenish as they degrade over time. Another positive is that the decomposition of these natural surfaces fertilizes garden soil, thereby saving on chemicals used for the same purpose.

And finally, how about really ensuring an fully efficient approach by using solar lamps to light the garden at night? Beginning as a novel way to save water when gardening, this approach has helped transform the practice by creating one of the most innovative ways to create a low maintenance approach to landscape design with minimal need for harmful chemicals. Simple, cheap and environmentally responsible – isn’t it time for you to take a chance with a xeriscape gardener? 

 El blog de Responsible Hotels sobre la gestión ética y responsables de establecimientos hoteleros. Nos preocupa el medio ambiente y la biodiversidad. Nos encantan los viajes, investigar sobre sostenibilidad y los fines de semana largos. Leer más de este autor

Este artículo está también disponible en: Spanish

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