How Much Does Xeriscaping Cost (Compared to Regular Landscaping)

Ben Collinsworth

xeriscapeThe term xeriscaping combines the Green word “xeros,” meaning dry, with the word landscape. It first appeared in 1981 in Colorado when the Denver area was experiencing a severe drought. The idea revolved around using as little water as possible and still maintaining interesting and attractive landscapes.

From a water conservation standpoint, xeriscaped landscapes can be very valuable for Texas commercial property managers who want to save water and money in both normal and drought conditions.

And, what’s more, the cost of a xeriscape can cost just as much as a traditional landscape. The elements that drive up the cost of xeriscaping are typically the same elements that drive up the cost of other landscape styles.


What Is Xeriscaping?

As a landscape practice, xeriscaping follows seven key principles.

  1. Proper planning & design. Planning takes into account typical landscape concerns and issues, as well as any drainage challenges and sun/shade exposure, etc.
  2. Improved soil. This is key for proper plant growth, as well as enhancing water drainage.
  3. Smart turf use. Know the turf and sun/shade/water conditions of the landscape and match them appropriately.
  4. Efficient irrigation. This includes setting up a smart system, as well as regularly checking that parts are working properly and that the system remains effective.
  5. Appropriate plant selection. Plants appropriate for water-wise landscaping are water conserving and drought tolerant.
  6. Mulching. Mulches minimize evaporation, retard weed growth, slow erosion and help prevent soil and temperature fluctuations.
  7. Appropriate maintenance. Proper pruning, weeding, fertilization and attention to the irrigation system will preserve and enhance the quality of a xeriscape.

Xeriscape landscapes can initially cost more than conventional landscapes due to the comprehensive nature of xeriscape design and plant replacement. Experts estimate conversion typically ranges from $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot. But they estimate a 36 cents per square foot savings annually, due to decreased maintenance costs of a xeriscape over time.

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Xeriscape Cost Is Impacted By Specific Elements

Xeriscaping costs will go up or down just like traditional landscape costs based on these specific elements that naturally impact installation costs.  

  • Increased hardscaping. Landscape elements made of stone, concrete or even pavers will always cost more when they are first installed. Hardscapes, as a rule, are usually more expensive than softscapes, or plants, when incorporated into a commercial landscape. However, hardscapes require less maintenance over time, in comparison to turf or plants, so savings add up over time.
  • Reduced lawn. Landscapes that have fewer expanses of turf will be more expensive initially because turf is so inexpensive to install. Lawns, however, require more maintenance and water to thrive than other drought-tolerant plants or hardscaped areas, so their costs increase over time.
  • Specialized irrigation. Drip irrigation, which waters plants at their roots, is usually equal in price or even less expensive to install than a traditional sprinkler system. It can also be cheaper over time because it directs water right where the plants need it without wasting any. Smarter irrigation systems that use specialized controllers that irrigate based on intelligence, such as precipitation and soil moisture, may cost more initially to install because of their advanced features, but that cost is typically returned later in water savings.
  • Custom additions. Landscape additions like rainwater harvesting used to collect seasonal rainfall and reuse it or even retention or detention ponds can cost more money up front but serve a unique purpose in your commercial landscape where water conservation is concerned.

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Decisions, Decisions

All of these considerations are important to keep in mind when looking at xeriscaping your Texas commercial landscape.  

But amidst all of these landscape elements that can impact your total cost, it can be challenging to make the right decision.

Native Land Design’s experts can help you evaluate your landscape needs and where to target your budget to enjoy the best of an aesthetically pleasing landscape and water savings simultaneously. Contact us for a free onsite consultation at 512-918-2270 or fill out our contact form online today.

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Ben Collinsworth

About

Before Ben founded Native Land Design in 2001, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University. He’s an active member of ASLA, HBA of Austin, NHBA, PLANET, and BOMA. Ben, his wife and their three children reside in the Cedar Park area.

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