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October 5, 2023

4 Different Landscapes: Which One’s Right for You?

Smart Rain is obviously all about water conservation. There are things (other than irrigation) that can affect your water footprint. Developments around different landscapes and landscaping techniques have sought to decrease our water use for more sustainable landscapes.  

But with all this research and study, have we been able to effectively find a landscaping solution for the water conservation problem? Smart Rain is here to take a deep dive into the proposed landscaping solutions that have been put forth. We will be examining what these different landscapes are, how they are supposed to work, and if the proposed landscape has any downsides.  

Also, be aware that every piece of property is different. The solution that is right for you may not be the right solution for someone else. But, if you do choose to pursue one of these different landscapes, be sure to do so effectively, with the surrounding ecosystem in mind.  

With that said, let’s get into the landscapes:  


What is it? Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that focuses on conserving water. It requires little-to-no irrigation or other maintenance, and is typically meant to be used in arid regions.  

How does it work? One of the first steps is to assess your current landscaping. Often times, this will need to be removed. Much of the current landscape won’t be adaptable to the principles of Xeriscape. Once that has been done, you’ll want to find native, low water use plants that you would be able to install on your property.  

In addition to native plants, xeriscaping also incorporates various design elements such as grouping of plants with similar water needs, mulching, and efficient irrigation systems. By grouping plants with similar water needs, water can be distributed more effectively and efficiently.  

Xeriscaping also promotes soil health and conservation. The use of organic materials such as compost or mulch improves the soil's ability to retain moisture, making it more resilient to drought conditions. 

What are the downsides? It was mentioned earlier in this section, but at times, this kind of landscape will require you to remove existing landscape. We will talk about this later on in the post. It can also be quite costly to install the landscape.  

Xeriscaping isn’t for every region of the country. If you live in an arid region, this may be a good option for you. But if you live in an area that has more moisture, it would be a good idea to evaluate a different landscaping opportunity.  


What is it? In short, zeroscaping is dirt and gravel. Often times, this comes with few (if any) plants. Unlike xeriscaping, zeroscaping requires little planning. To understand the difference, read more to understand zeroscaping vs. xeriscaping.  

How does it work? You take everything out and replace it with dirt and gravel. You don’t water it, and you don’t take care of it. It’s just dirt and maybe a plant. Very simple. But is it effective?  

What are the downsides? It’s ugly. It’s very ugly. I guess beauty is supposed to be subjective. But at Smart Rain, we love gorgeous and luscious landscapes that we can admire and treasure. This isn’t just a drastic measure, but removing landscapes is harmful (which is something we will be talking about later in the article).  


What is it? Using hard elements to create an appealing landscape that won’t need to use much water. Some of the elements of hardscaping include pathways, patios, retaining walls, and fences. Hardscaping refers to the non-living components of a landscape design which are used to create structure and define spaces. 

How does it work? You don’t need water for hard features to survive and thrive. Like xeriscaping, hardscaping requires quite a bit of planning. Plants can be a component of hardscaping, but if they are, they are left to a minimum to conserve water. The general idea: less plants, less water, but you still have things in place in order to have some sort of aesthetic feature to please the eye.  

What are the downsides? This is probably the most expensive landscaping there is. Why? Because there are so many features that are added. At times, this may be an art piece that could cost quite a bit more than one might expect. And like with xeriscaping and zeroscaping, landscaping may need to be removed (I promise we will get to removing landscapes in this article).  

Natural Landscaping 

What is it? This isn’t exactly a style of landscaping overall, but a philosophy of landscaping. Elements are actually found in xeriscaping. Natural landscaping involves creating sustainable and environmentally friendly landscapes that mimic the patterns and processes found in nature. It is a way to design and manage outdoor spaces using native plants, soils, water, and other natural elements. 

How does it work? Meticulously plan out your plants, where they should go, and how you will water them. This process takes quite a bit of effort and time to get the perfect landscape for your region. This is actually the landscaping that Smart Rain would recommend the most. This is the landscape that conserves the most water without wasting existing landscapes.  

What are the downsides? Time and effort. This takes a lot of research. First, you need to understand what plants thrive in your area. Then, you will need to understand how to take care of those plants in a way that conserves the most water. Both of these steps require a lot of time and effort. But believe us, the investment is worth it. 

Landscapes that are classified as natural landscaping

Your Biggest Obstacle: Removing Landscapes 

Removing your landscaping is harmful. Plain and simple. There is already an existing ecosystem that exists on landscapes before you get there. When you are looking to install xeriscaping, zeroscaping, or hardscaping, you will be removing organic matter and living organisms that need that landscape to survive. This is just one of the harmful effects of removing landscaping.  

It’s also incredibly expensive to properly remove landscapes. If it’s improperly removed, it can leave behind organic matter, creating an abundance of nitrites in the soil. Those nitrites will get into our water sources and can cause major damage. To properly remove landscapes, it needs to be done by a professional, and it needs to be done in an environmentally safe way.  

Here is some more information about turf buyback legislation that is wreaking havoc on our landscapes. 


So, what should you do? You don’t want to remove your landscaping, but you also don’t want to be wasting water with non-native plants that you may have in your landscape.  

The best way to handle the situation is to slowly make a transition to natural landscaping. Begin planting native plants in your space. Then study, study, and study more! The best thing you can do is understand how to properly take care of native plants.  

In this way, you won’t be overwatering your plants and you’ll be able to let nature do much of the work of watering them. The result will be a well-maintained, green, lush, natural landscape that can be enjoyed by all.  

If we can be of any help in answering questions our experts are ready to chat. 

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