How to Xeriscape this much area?

mrsfox(6)October 19, 2013

I bought my house newly-built on a lot with no landscaping whatsoever. I planted the line of trees and grass myself, but I want to xeriscape the rest of the lot somehow. I will eventually have a big shed in the back-right corner with a gravel driveway possibly, but I would like some ideas for what else I could do with the area behind my lawn. Thoughts? The weeds were a killer to keep under control this summer. :(

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Other side of the lot...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:12AM
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For starters ... don't water it.

Where is this? City and state?

What does "xeriscape" mean to you? Zero care immediately? Low-care after a couple of years of moderate care?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I am definitely not watering the weeds! They all have taproots and grow despite drought conditions. In the pics above they are all yellow because I have been spraying them all summer long with weed killer so that they don't get even more out of control. This is in South Central Oregon with high-desert climate (little moisture, cold winters, warm summers, dry year round). I would like zero care immediately if possible.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 2:00AM
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trilliumgreen(7 PNW)

I have about 5 acres of upland habitat, formerly pasture, in central WA and average about 10" annually. I am looking at similar issues. The lowest maintenance option is to mow the weeds during the growing season, as needed, to keep seed production to a minimum. This would help keep the weeds from spreading to other areas. This is what we are doing in the interim while we focus on other areas.

There are other options, but they will require more work, at least initially. I would think about if you want some kind of grass ground cover, and if you want any trees or shrubs. You also need to identify how manicured you want the area to look, and how many weeds you can tolerate.

For a grass groundcover you could seed the area with a dryland pasture mix appropriate for your area (check out local farm supply stores) or could use a native bunchgrass mix. I would expect native bunchgrasses to require more weed control, but to provide a better opportunity to mix in wildflowers.

Native plants (I'm assuming rocky mountain juniper, sagebrush, rabbitbrush) would require extra water to get established, but not after. Ponderosa pine may require some supplemental water even when established. If you have the room to tolerate suckering, I think sumac is beautiful when given extra water.

If you are interested in heading in this type of direction, I have some more ideas.

There is a garden in my town which does a beautiful job using native grasses and plants. It is stunning in the spring when lush and green. In the summer it takes on more tan tones. See the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: shrub steppe garden

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 12:51PM
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