Re: Xeriscaping
From: Becky Weaver (
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 10:15:02 -0600 (MDT)
I think the idea that xeriscaping allows the soil to heat up arises from a
misconception. Real xeriscaping can be wonderfully lush and cool. Here in
Austin we have a summer that's hot and dry, but like most places, even in
the West, it's by no means desert. Here xeriscaping involves a huge variety
of beautiful plants, including lots of shade trees and leafy shrubs.

I suspect Colorado is much the same. People tend to think "sun beating on
cactus" when they hear "xeriscape," but unless sand and cactus are all you
see in the nearest state park, there are many more choices than that. Even
lawn grasses! My xeriscaped backyard has big pecan trees shading the house
(and producing lots of nuts every 2 years), leafy seaoats grass (looks like
miniature bamboo), and native flowers and shrubs. I even grow roses without
extra water - I just had to find the right varieties. The xeriscaped areas
are cooler than the front lawn (which I haven't gotten around to landscaping
yet), and require no extra watering to stay green and leafy all summer. When
the (clay) soil gets dry it cracks and shrinks, and I have remind myself to
water *the house,* to keep the foundation from being demolished. The plants
look so green and happy that sometimes I forget.

Even sandy or shallow soils often have some plants that will grow thickly
and greenly upon them. Xeriscaping just involves making good use of those

Becky Weaver
Central Austin Cohousing

> From: Elizabeth Stevenson <tamgoddess [at]>
> Reply-To: cohousing-l [at]
> Date: Wed, 07 May 2003 07:47:58 -0700
> To: <cohousing-l [at]>
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_Xeriscaping [was: Cohousing available in Colorado Springs
> Somewhere I read that xeriscaping is actually not so great for water use. I
> wish I could back that up, but the general principle is that there is a net
> use of more energy/water because the xeriscaping allows the ground to heat
> up more than grass does, causing a rise in ambient temperature so the
> homeowners need to use more air conditioning and more water to keep the
> plants alive in the higher heat.
> -- 
> Liz Stevenson
> Southside Park Cohousing
> Sacramento, California
> tamgoddess [at]
>> On Tue, 6 May 2003, Louise Conner wrote:
>>> We at Colorado Springs Cohousing Community are happy to say that we've
>>> completed the construction of our 34 home plus common house community that
>>> goes by the name of Casa Verde Commons.
>> ....
>>> and expecting our xericscaping any day now .
>> What is xeriscaping?
>> Literally, the word xeriscaping comes from a combination of two other
>> words: "xeri" derived from the Greek word "xeros" for dry; and "scape",
>> meaning a kind of view or scene. While xeriscape translates to mean "dry
>> scene," in practice xeriscaping means simply landscaping with
>> slow-growing, drought tolerant plants to conserve water and reduce yard
>> trimmings.
>> from:
>> [Note that I think the prefered spelling is with one "c" tho
>> I found both in my search.]
>> Fred 
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