In New Mexico we have been in the worst drought in history since the 1880's.  Due to the lack of water there are many water restrictions put into place to help preserve the water that is available.  

Lush green yards are not something you will often find in the area due to the lack of water to maintain a healthy yard.  Many residents are turning to a zeroscape or xeriscape yard to help keep their yards looking nice but not utilizing more than their share of the water.  

I always thought that Zeroscaping and Xeriscaping were the same thing, but there is a difference.  

What is Zeroscaping? 

Zeroscaping uses the philosophy of low-water landscaping, focusing on native plants and succulents.  Many times rocks and gravel are used to create scenery around plants.  This often includes a great deal of cacti.  Due to the drought that New Mexico has seen for the past few years, zeroscaping is encouraged to help preserve water.  

Because zeroscaping focuses on native plants, it gives a natural look, where as non-native plants can look artificial.  Placing non-native plants in your yard may require more work to help them thrive because they are not accustomed to the conditions.  

One  of the perks of a zeroscape backyard is the minimal effort they take to maintain.  The initial set up requires a lot of work and detailed planning, however maintenance after that normally consists of just weed control.  

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping (pronounced zeer-i-scape) focuses on creating beautiful gardens in dry and harsh landscapes.  While many times the plants used are native to the area, the main purpose of a xeriscape garden is to utilize plants that are resistant to a drought.  Many times, a xeriscape garden is less work to maintain than a traditional garden or lawn.  A properly designed xeriscape yard is planned utilizing appropriate planting design, soil grading and mulching and takes full advantage of rainfall retention.  

In a traditional garden, the ornamental plants used may not survive when water restrictions are implemented.  Xeriscape plants are designed to thrive throughout these periods.  Although the plants do need to be watered, you can install a drip system or water by hand to save water from being water being thrown into the air by a oscillating sprinkler.  

Which type of landscaping should I use? 

Either type of landscaping is good for the Albuquerque area.  The most important thing to remember when landscaping your yard is that New Mexico has a lot of direct sunlight and harsh water restrictions.  Both zeroscape and xeriscape are a good bet for any home here.  

Posted by Alfonso "Fonz" Salazar on
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