Xeriscaping on a front lawn

Fall offers an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate if your yard met your expectations over the summer. If you are looking to cut down the work in maintaining your yard, decrease watering costs, eliminate the need for fertilizers, and improve your eco-footprint, consider a xeriscape or zero scape plan. 

What Is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping is considered an eco-friendly, low maintenance option for yards to cut down on maintenance and water use. It uses a mix of edgings, gravels, and mulches, interspersed with plants and even turf patches. It is especially good for areas that are drought-prone and utilizing native perennial plants that thrive in your home’s growth zone. Xeriscaping will also save money on annual nursery costs. 

You may want to tackle this yourself, but seeking advice from a professional landscaping company will pinpoint some of the trickier aspects of the process. Another reason you may wish to retain them is because of the heavier lifting involved when it comes to adding and spreading the rock and soil.

There are seven steps to replace your current yard landscape features with xeriscaping.

Plan & design

Like any other yard landscape plans, this is the most important step in the process. Measure the area of redevelopment. Then plan the general shape, fixed structures, tree locations, plant and borders, mass plantings, accent plants, perennials or shrubs. 

Identify where you want to have plant placements and groupings, walkways, and recreational areas. Removal of turf may be needed. Digging down about 6 inches below grade will give you enough room for good soil and mulch cover. Then tamp the base, and place a high-density, construction-grade barrier cloth.  

Lighter grade barrier cloth leaves more chance for weed penetration, so construction grade is money well spent. Some people stop at this stage over the winter to increase weed kill under the barrier. In the spring, if weeds come up, or weed seed blow in, they can be removed before placing soil. 


With the barrier and borders installed, soil fills in where plants will grow. Organic compost added to the soil provides a loose structure for good root growth. Add bone meal and soil additives at this time. Some people get bags of soil and place them in areas for planting and leave them unopened until spring. When spring arrives, they slit the plastic bag, leaving it in place as an extra barrier and spread the soil on the spot.

Xeriscaping on a front lawn
Xeriscpaing is a way to keep your yard still looking great, while conserving water


If you are constructing this in the fall, you could move existing perennials and shrubs to the correct areas. The more time before frost you give them, a better chance the plant has to settle in. Tamp in the plants and water. Wind-breaks can also be incorporated to limit moisture loss to plants. Extra water in the fall may be needed, but don’t overwater if temperatures fall below 4 C/40 F. 

Alternatively, perennials and shrubs can be potted, watered, and stored in a cool area like garages or garden sheds until spring.

Turf areas

The idea is to cut down turf areas to reduce maintenance, but children’s or pets play areas can utilize drought-resistant grasses that use less water. New artificial turf might also be a good choice for smaller areas. If you want to leave larger grass areas, you might want to convert to cover crops like clover that requires less maintenance. Many covers are attractive and can be walked on, requiring less attention than grass.


Place irrigation and drip water systems before mulch is applied. 


The project should be topped off with about two to three inches of mulch. There are a variety of products like bark, gravel, moss, pine needles or grass clippings.


Hopefully, the landscape revamps results in less work. But those determined weeds will seek out the dust that filters onto the mulch or gravel cover. A thick layer of mulch material will deter growth and make them easier to pull. Some people use boiling water to remove weeds. Investigate a weed pre-emergent treatment. But seek advice on usage, as they have some explicit directions for use. 

Why A Zero Scape Is Beneficial  

For those who fly south for the winter and don’t want spring maintenance worries, zero scapes might suit you to a tee. It utilizes different textures and types of rock and building materials. Often mixed with paving stones, water features, and decking to keep yard work to a minimum. Some plans even use coloured glass chunks for effect. 

Potted plants can be added later if desired, or a no-maintenance edging like evergreens can soften yard edgings. The landscape installation process is the same as xeriscaping, except there is no need for soil or water systems, which saves money both in installation and utility costs. Check out some of the plans online to see how architecturally pleasing zero scaping can be. 


Whether you are looking to add a touch of polish to your outdoor space or if you need a full-scale landscape design & construction solution, Curb Design has you covered. Give us a call today to and find out what we can do for you, your family, or your business.