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Xeriscaping: What it Is and What it Isn't

With water prices in the town of Wellington going through the roof, everyone is looking for cost-effective solutions to reduce water usage. This page was put together in an effort to give Homeowners access to resources to help plan a xeriscape garden as well as provide the guidelines for such an endeavor. If you have additional questions or would like to add to the discussion, please come to our Meetings every second Thursday of the month.


What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. This means xeriscaped landscapes need little or no water beyond what the natural climate provides.

-National Geographic, xeriscaping | National Geographic Society, 2021


What's the Difference between Xeriscaping and Zero-scaping?

Another important note to make is the difference between two very similar sounding concepts.

Even though the pronunciation of both words is pretty close, there is a significant difference between the two. To put it simply, xeriscape is an organized landscape design that focuses on using plants that hardly need water, and zeroscape landscapes are made up of dirt/gravel and basically zero plants.

-Mellco Landscaping, The Difference Between Xeriscape and Zeroscape | Mellco Landscaping, 2019


Current Regulations for Xeriscaping

Some excerpts from the Residential Improvement Guidelines. Please make sure to read through the full document related to landscaping and xeriscaping to gain a more complete picture:

  • 2.68, page 14 Xeriscaping - (The following guideline pertains to areas of a lot where sod is being replaced, not hardscapes resultant of the original builds and landscaping.) Xeriscaping is defined as landscaping and gardening methods that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental irrigation beyond the quantity of water that falls as natural precipitation (rain, snow, etc). This is not to be confused with “zero-scaping,” where the landscape consists of rocks and other hardscapes, with very few or no plantings. Xeriscaping is not a ‘natural area’ and, while some decorative native species that are drought tolerant might be incorporated into the area, it is not an area that is free from the requirement of regular maintenance (pruning, weeding, etc…). Zero-scaping is prohibited beyond that which existed from the original build and landscaping (large aggregate beds between properties).

  • 2.68.3, page 15: On average, there must be one group for every 100 square feet (10’ x 10’) of Xeriscaped area. A group is defined as three (3) or more plants and collectively, one quarter of the groups must contain or consist of mature plants (4 groups of 3 plants = 3 mature plants minimum.)

  • 2.68.4, page 15 Artificial turf or plants are prohibited.

  • Remember: The Town of Wellington has requirements for landscaping and types of trees acceptable for the front and back yards of individual lots. The Town should be consulted prior to ensure compliance with Town ordinances.

Looking for More Information on Xeriscaping?

Please see http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1907.html for plant types recommended for Colorado Xeriscaping.


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