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Old 08-12-2013, 12:07 PM
2,633 posts, read 5,324,213 times
Reputation: 2867


Howdy folks,

Water restrictions have hit my area pretty hard. I planned for this in the back yard, going with very drought tolerant Bermuda hybrid for the grass area in the back yard, some shade trees, natives, etc. This area is doing quite well, even with almost no irrigation.

The front yard is another story. It is currently builder-installed St Augustine sod, with a few mulch/flower beds. I've got some youngish oak trees (Red and Pin) that will handle the climate, a fig tree in the front flower bed and some native Texas Sage to eventually create a hedge to hide a utility box. Everything else has either been yanked since it ate water and looked terrible (SW-facing yard, gets brutalized by heat/sun from noon - sunset) -or- deer have eaten it.

So, I'm working on ideas to replace all of the sodded area. So far, I've come up with a "dry creek" (river rock, small boulder, gravel) that will run from the sidewalk, between the trees and into the side yard. I'm on a decent grade (5%ish?) so when it does rain, this should channel the runoff to the back yard and I'm going to try and divert some of that runoff to feed the trees.

I'm struggling with what to do with the other areas, and would really like to avoid the decomposed granite look that seems to be come prevalent with these xeriscape projects. There will likely be a couple of triangles between mulch beds, the walkway and the dry creek that I don't want to just dump mulch or gravel on - so, long story short - I'm looking for ideas for very drought tolerant ground covers that are deer resistant (some good deer resistant plant suggestions too for the front flower bed) to fill in these spaces. If you have pictures or website links to check out the suggestions, that would be awesome.

- Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:40 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,434 posts, read 41,608,566 times
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google is our friend
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:53 PM
2,633 posts, read 5,324,213 times
Reputation: 2867
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
google is our friend
Really? Gee, hasn't tried that. Ever occur to you that some folks like to get input from multiple sources? Or possibly get design ideas from folks who may have done the same thing?
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:18 PM
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EzPeterson NoKudzu is right about Google being your friend. You went into depth about what you have done and what you don't like but xeriscopic planting is pretty specific to each locality. You never once said where you are so there is no way to give you any ideas. What works in northern NM might work in Utah or in Denver and it may not work in Houston, and it most certainly won't work the same in Boston or Portland and Anchorage. Each requires different plants for different sun, altitude, humidity and rainfall conditions.

So with the limited info you gave to work with.... your best bet is to Google xeriscape gardens, regulations and landscape with your city/town/region added to the title. I did this for Denver, which has water restrictions, cold and snow, high altitude and low humidity and not the best soil conditions. Examples of sites I found:

The 20 Best Xeriscape Plants for Colorado | Lot Lines

Xeriscape: Remodel Your Yard | Denver Water

Black Forest Landscape Design - Do It Yourself Landscape Planning - Landscaping Horticulture & Architecture - Denver, Colorado

Download Design | Plant Select

Denver Landscaping - Mountain High Tree, Lawn & Landscape

Where I live we have more than adequate rainfall some years and none others and then this year we got a full year's worth in the first 6 months and are still going strong. I can and do plant very differently than you would if you lived in Bend OR but I still plant with minimal watering on my part in mind. That would still be considered xeriscape planting.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:42 AM
Location: California
454 posts, read 565,927 times
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You didn't mention your state/city/region, but here's something you might find useful... from our San Diego Water District garden information... shows several pages with lots of photos and images of water-wise landscaping.

hope it gives you some ideas

Garden Gallery - Landscape photos grouped into multiple categories
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:30 AM
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OP where is your location and can you post a few pictures of your yard that needs help. That is really needed for what you request.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:53 AM
2,633 posts, read 5,324,213 times
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Sorry, thought the location in the upper right corner was turned on. It's Austin, TX.

Guess I was looking more for design ideas, or input from people who have done this. Google can almost end up with info overload.

Oh well, back to the search engines.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:37 PM
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I was wondering if anyone else saw the location on the top corner....guess not.

Anyway, I live north of Austin but have similar terrain, etc. My neighbor has xeriscaped his front yard since he doesn't have a sprinkler system and wanted something low maintenance. He put different types of rocks, mostly river and volcanic and different sizes and made a design that covered about three quarters of his yard. In between the rock areas, he planted ornamental grasses, lantana and salvia, as well as put out some decorations like weathered driftwood, metal artwork, etc. It looks pretty good without being junky.

As for me, we have a large rock barrier/rock bed on the side of our hill (we live on over an acre) to help with water runoff and we have spineless cacti, red yucca, lantana, guara, pinks, esperanza, skullcap, salvia, turks cap, mexican petunia, daylilies, muhly grass, maiden grass, rosemary, thyme, sage, century plants and agave throughout the rock bed and some of our flower beds. These have done better than I could ever have imagined. They are all perennials and pretty drought tolerant since I can't reach some areas with water, it is pretty much up to mother nature. Maybe this will help with some ideas. Good luck!
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:02 PM
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,474 posts, read 13,403,963 times
Reputation: 6404
WOW OP, it sounds like you are doing a good job planning. I should learn from ye.

You might like the following blog by a fellow Texan. She's a Master Gardener, and I think her garden's pretty. Plus she writes that she uses "native and adapted plants" and says her garden has survived drought ooh aaaah:
Go Away, I'm Gardening!
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