A lot of talk this spring has been around the fact that this is the driest weather the metro area has experienced since the drought of 2002.
As drought-like conditions have returned, so too has the high cost of lawn care.
If we only knew then what we know now.
Xeriscaping, a concept developed in Denver in response to the water shortages of the last decade, seems to be just about everywhere one looks. A landscaping concept that requires little to no supplemental water, xeriscaping keeps water costs down, while still keeping a yard looking original and beautiful.
“It’s really a water-wise approach to landscaping,” said John Klassen, water conservation coordinator for Centennial Water and Sanitation District. “It promotes water efficiency and you can still have a healthy, colorful landscape by following the principles. It’s not just a set list of plants.”
“There is a misnomer out there that xeriscape is not permitted through the HRCA guidelines, but it is,” added Centennial Water’s community relations manager Sherry Eppers. “So many people think that it is just rocks and cactus, but it is so much more. You can really have a beautiful xeriscaped lawn full of flowers and plants.”
Not only is xeriscape permitted through the HRCA, it is actually encouraged.
The community association even has a xeriscape demonstration garden outside of Eastridge Recreation Center that shows many of the different types of plants one can grow with little to no water or maintenance. The garden, a collaborative effort between the HRCA, Centennial Water and Arapahoe Acres Nursery, is divided into four zones with each including drought-tolerant annuals, perennials, shrubs and grasses that homeowners can find at just about any garden center.
“When you think of xeriscaping you think ‘oh it’s going to look like a desert,’ but if you look at our garden, it does not look anything like that,” said HRCA community relations manager Jamie Noebel. “We really haven’t had a lot of rain this year and our garden is just beautiful. We encourage everybody to try to save water and to do a little bit of Xeriscaping in their yard.”
As with anything, though, the HRCA does have guidelines in place when it comes to xeriscaping, and some site plans are required to pass through the architectual committee before work may begin.
According to the HRCA’s Residential Improvement Guidelines and Site Restrictions, architectural committee approval is required for xeriscape projects only if a homeowner is proposing landscaping that contains less than 50 percent sod in the front or rear yards or a side yard wider than 15 feet.
For more information about HRCA xeriscape guidelines, visit www.hrcaonline.org or call 303-791-8958. A list of plants to get started is also available at the HRCA website.