Xeric Gardens (Water-Wise)

house with a wall in front and shrubs with gravel mulch

Drought tolerant plants, gravel mulch, and walls were used to create this water conserving landscape. Photo credit: teofilo Flickr CC BY 2.0

Xeric gardening (xersicaping) is increasing in popularity as urban populations grow and drought takes its toll on water supplies nationwide.

The term xeric (pronounced zerik) simply means ‘dry’ in Greek. Xeric plants are adapted to dry conditions and require little to no water during the growing season depending on conditions.

Planting a xeric garden does not mean zeroscape!  Many beautiful drought tolerant plants are available to meet your needs and those of your landscape.

Use plants adapted to the natural rainfall patterns of the local area. Native plants may be the best choice as they tend to be adapted to naturally occurring periodic drought cycles and help blend the garden into the local landscape. Contact your local Extension office or reputable plant nursery for more information on xeric plants in your area.

Seven basic principles were developed to guide the creation of xeric gardens to reduce water use in the landscape.

  • Planning and design
  • Soil analysis
  • Practical turf areas
  • Appropriate plant selection
  • Efficient irrigation
  • Use of mulches
  • Appropriate maintenance
Even a cactus garden can seem lush.
Photo credit: bloomnfool Flikcr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Additional Resources:


Colorado: Xeriscaping: Retrofit Your Yard
Colorado: Xeriscape Plant Choices 
Oregon: Xeriscaping in the High Desert
Texas: Landscape Water Conservation


South Carolina: Xeriscape: Landscape Water Conservation in the Southeast
Florida: Xeriscaping