The Importance of Drought Resistant Landscaping in New Mexico

10 Drought Resistant Landscaping Ideas

In New Mexico, as well as other areas of the Southwestern United States, summers are notoriously dry and arid. In 2021, 88% of New Mexico is under a severe drought warning, with other areas of the state also in an extreme drought. These weather conditions must be considered when determining how to effectively and sustainably landscape your property.

For homeowners, achieving a beautiful landscape year-round can be challenging. New Mexico’s climate adds to that challenge. However, that does not mean a beautiful property is out of reach. Drought-resistant landscaping (sometimes called xeriscaping) is a popular practice, especially in the south and west.

If you’re unfamiliar with the practice of drought-resistant landscaping, we’ve put together a quick primer for you.

3680 Santa Cecilia - backyard - drought resistant landscaping

What Is Drought Resistant Landscaping

Growing in popularity because of its durability and because it uses fewer precious natural resources, xeriscaping is a landscape design that needs virtually no irrigation or watering. This doesn’t mean that your backyard will be bland. In fact, there are many colors, textures, and styles of plants to choose from.

In addition to lowering water use, this type of landscaping is also incredibly low-maintenance. This is the kind of yard you want if you prefer to spend weekends with friends rather than mowing the lawn and pulling weeds! And, those who enjoy gardening will still have a lot to do if they pick hardy, flowering plants (or vegetables).

Choosing Drought Resistant Plants

Whether you are building your new home or wanting to redo your current landscape, it is important to choose your plants wisely. Even with drought-resistant landscaping, some plants do require more water than others. You’ll also need to be aware of how much sun each plant can tolerate.

There are several types of grasses and ornamental plants that work well for xeriscaping. Note the benefits of, and differences between, each of the following examples:

  1. Buffalo Grass

    is an excellent option if you want grass, but are looking for a low maintenance lawn on your property. It grows quickly and does not require frequent mowing, fertilizer, or pesticides. Additionally, it does best with a lot of sunlight and is known for tolerating heat and drought quite well. The water requirements for this type of grass are low. Approximately 1.5 inches of rain per month is enough to keep buffalo grass green. It is an excellent choice for drought-resistant landscaping.

  2. Bermuda grass

    is another great low-maintenance option for your drought-resistant landscaping needs. While it favors sunlight, it can also do well in the shadier areas of your property. Once it begins to grow, it is easy to maintain without much effort. Approximately one inch of rain per month to maintain Bermuda grass makes it a great option for New Mexico landscaping.

  3. Zoysia grass

    has a deep root system, thrives in heat, but also tolerates cooler temperatures (great for those cold desert nights!) Zoysia grass is especially appropriate for areas of your property with shade as it can thrive there if needed. While it grows beautifully in the sun, it can grow well with as little as four to five hours of sunlight.

  4. Artificial grass

    has many obvious benefits for an arid climate. The main benefit, of course, is that artificial grass does not require any watering whatsoever! You also do not need to worry about mowing, fertilizer, or pesticides. It is also incredibly easy to replace, and environmentally friendly.

  5. Rocks and stones

    are a popular landscaping choice for several reasons, especially in the Southwest. Once rocks and stones are placed, there is no maintenance and no replacements are necessary. Rocks are also excellent weed deterrents.

  6. Aloe plants

    are often used in drought-resistant landscaping for several reasons. Aloes come in a variety of sizes. They are also excellent for adding visual interest and style to your landscape design. Plus, you can actually use the aloe from the plant as a healing balm if you get a bit too much sun. Aloe plants grow well in arid climates and don’t require much maintenance.

  7. Fountain grass

    is an eye-catching choice for your landscaping needs and is quite a popular choice in New Mexico due to its low maintenance and beauty. It is adaptable to many different soils, does extremely well in the sun, and can also tolerate some light shade.

  8. Artichoke plants

    aren’t grown just for eating; they are often used as ornamental plants in landscape design as well. Artichoke plants are a nice choice for arid climates like New Mexico especially when the intent is ornamental, although they can also be grown for food in an arid climate. They are adaptable, resilient, and come in many different varieties.

  9. Lavender

    is an especially drought-tolerant plant. It is native to arid climates in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and grows beautifully in New Mexico. Lavender thrives in full sunlight and attracts butterflies and bees to your garden.

  10. Geraniums

    do rather well in the desert and are a common choice in drought-resistant landscaping. They grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade. These sweet flowers don’t require much water and are overall a very hardy plant, usually unbothered by pests and disease.

Watering In A Drought

There are some key guidelines to follow when it comes to watering your drought-resistant landscaping. Keep these guidelines in mind to ensure you are caring for your landscaping properly.

Water during off-peak hours. The best times to water are either before 10 am or after 6 pm for better absorption. During severe drought, your city or state may have restrictions on days of the week you are allowed to water, so be sure to check with your local officials or neighborhood association when watering.

You may also want to consider a drip irrigation system. These systems apply moisture directly where it’s needed and use far less water than the standard garden hose.

To find out more about exactly which landscaping designs we use on our custom homes, or to start the home building process, contact us today.

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