Hello, and welcome to the first design that we are going to present and discuss about. Hopefully we could explain and elaborate clearly enough about some sound Xeriscaping practices.
The first design is for a small residential. One of the trees in the front yard didn’t survive last year’s drought and must be replaced asap because of neighborhood regulations. The client decided to get a professional design and a free bid for installation from us. The owner wanted for some lawn to remain, but a good chunk of it to be converted to some drought tolerant native plants landscaping. The property was mainly in full sun.
One consideration for the tree was its size. The adjacent lot to the left is about to be developed and the client feared that a bigger tree will cause issues down the road. Excellent small tree options would be a Texas Redbud, Desert Willow or a Texas Mountain Laurel. We chose Texas Mountain Laurel because from all the smaller trees it is the most drought tolerant and an evergreen as well. Plus it smells like bubble gum and the owner have some young ones roaming about. We placed a pair of Texas Mountain Laurel in the front.
The owner did not like the previous foundation planting and wanted to replace it. An always popular option is off course Texas Sage. It is very common in Austin and for a good reason: It is an evergreen, will get up to five feet tall and wide (Although I have seen Texas Sages bigger than 8 feet!), requires very little water and has a beautiful explosion of tiny purple flowers after a good rain. It’s called a Barometer Bush for that fascinating feature! We like to leave ours unpruned for more natural aesthetic.
In front of the left Texas Mountain Laurel we placed a Bottlebrush plant. Bottlebrush plants are great bang for your buck in the sense that they get quite big and pronounced and have very showy and bold red flowers. A well tended Bottlebrush will grow to be a behemoth; up to 7-8 feet tall and 5-8 feet wide! Another major advantage is it being an evergreen, and in combination with its low water requirements it is clearly a winner. A single well placed Bottlebrush will go a long way.
Behind the Texas Mountain Laurels, are five Flame Acanthus plants. Those are lovely and gorgeous plants with brilliant orange color. They are very drought tolerant and are a classic Austin and Central Texas Xeriscape plant. Hummingbirds swear by this plant and enjoy feasting on it through its long blooming period. Native to Mexico and Central Texas, Flame Acanthus shrubs will thrive on as little as 12 inches of rain a year.
Full sun, low water and explosion of yellow flowers? Texas Lantana fills those categories quite nice. Butterflies enjoy its many flowers that begin colored yellow and slowly turn to orange. Texas Lantanas are a bit more drought tolerant than then other Lantanas in the genus.
Next is one of my own personal favorites; Fall Aster. Compact and tidy, this perennial showers the landscape with dozens of gentle purple flower. And best of all, it does it in the fall while the rest of the plants are vacationing. Fall Asters should find a spot in everyone’s yard here in Austin. Low water + Fall Color = Win.
Last and certainly not least, to add a nice wild looking low growing layer we choose to use Blackfoot Daisies. This is another favorite of ours as it is a quite a jack of all trades: Very low, Xeriscape worthy water requirements. The plant has a relatively long blooming season. It’s an EVERGREEN. It is also perfectly short and compact which makes Blackfoot Daisy an excellent candidate for any and all wildflower scatterings.
That’s it for now folks and fellow Central Texans! I hope you all enjoyed reading my plant babble and some of my thoughts regarding different considerations when designing drought tolerant flowerbeds here in Central Texas.
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We are going to try and post a new design every two weeks, so be sure to subscribe, or just visit often. Next design features boulders, agaves and grasses. And who doesn’t like that combination?
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