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Zeroscape Vs Xeriscape Differences + Benefits

Want to save money and water around your home? Xeriscaping, a type of landscaping that uses plants and other materials adapted to your local climate, is one way to do that.

However, be careful to distinguish the process of xeriscaping from zeroscaping if you want to enjoy a beautiful green yard with plants and flowers. Learn more about the differences between these landscaping approaches and some ideas to create your beautiful xeric backyard.

Zeroscape Versus Xeriscape: What's The Difference?

It’s easy to confuse xeriscape with zeroscape primarily because they sound similar. Let’s look at the main differences between them before starting on your project.

Zeroscape: A Simple Landscape, With Stones And No Plants

A zeroscape is a landscape design made entirely of dirt or gravel with few or no plants. Because few plants can survive in such hot and dry climates, these are also popular in desert areas. Because zeroscape landscapes require no planning or design, you won’t necessarily need to hire a landscaper if you go this route.

If you add plants, your yard will be made of gravel, regular soil, and possibly a few plants here and there. Zeroscape yards are pretty plain, but if you want one of the cheapest, low-maintenance landscape options, zeroscape is your best choice.

succulent in dry weather

Xeriscape: A Green Garden That Preserves The Environment

On the other hand, xeriscape is an organized landscape design that does incorporate plants. However, the key to a xeriscape landscape is using native plants that hardly need water. If you live in a dry climate, xeriscape designs are a great idea to implement because you can have a beautiful yard with little maintenance.

Xeriscaping can also help reduce water usage by up to 50%, using native, drought-tolerant plants and an efficient irrigation system. A xeriscaped yard can look just as good as any traditional garden. You can play with rocks, boulders, decorative stones, and other features.

And the best thing about it, besides the low water requirements, is that its low-maintenance plants will allow you to spend more time with your loved ones and less time caring for the landscape.


What Are The Seven Principles Of Xeriscaping?

Xeriscape landscaping is one of the most suitable landscaping options for dry areas such as Colorado. 7 principles guide a xeric landscape. Let’s take a look at them below.

Good Planning and Design

Consider your landscaping needs, and create a design that fulfills them. For example, you should carefully choose plants for specific exposures in your yard, like dry or wet areas or near downspouts. Consider hiring an expert in xeric plants, trained to select the best species, install proper irrigation systems, and give seasonal maintenance tips and watering recommendations.

Appropriate Turf Areas

While you might want to reduce the amount of turf as much as possible, it is recommended that you keep some turf areas for visual appeal and open space.

Native Plants

When creating a xeriscape garden, you must use plants that are native to your specific area, which ensures that these plants can survive without issue once established.

Efficient Irrigation

The top two methods to use when watering your garden include drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses, which are efficient and designed to conserve water.
sprinkler on lawn in colorado

Soil Improvements

The soil you use in your xeriscape garden should be able to store water and drain very quickly simultaneously, which can be a challenging balance to strike. This process, if done well, will allow an excellent plant selection.

Mulch Use

Mulch can consist of anything from pine needles and wood chips to compost and leaves. Because mulch can retain the moisture levels and temperature of the soil, it’s ideal for xeriscaping. Inorganic mulches like rocks and gravel are also a great choice that hardly needs replacing.

Appropriate Maintenance

Xeriscape gardens require very little maintenance. Typically, one spring cleanup and one fall cleanup are enough to keep your landscape thriving, with the occasional watering.

Benefits Of Xeriscape Landscaping

If you live in Colorado, there are many benefits in choosing a xeric garden compared to a traditional one. They are far more beautiful than zeroscape options. Discover some below and get inspired to transform your yard into a beautiful space.

More Free Time For Your Loved Ones

A traditional yard requires periodic care: watering, thinning, mulching, fertilizing, cultivating, seeding, and pest and disease control.

A Place For Relaxation

Just because we live in a dryer area doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beautiful garden. If you have the time and financial means to transform your yard from a zeroscape to a xeriscape yard, it will create a beautiful place for you and your family to relax and will help with your water bills, too.

Water Conservation

Xeriscaping is critical for water conservation: Native plants specifically adapted to your region, climate, and soil type) require much less water than turfgrass, and many don’t need any additional water once their root system is established. Plus, hydroscoping (grouping plants based on water requirements) reduces overwatering and underwatering.

Ideas For Creating Your Own Wonderful Xeric Yard

If you want to do xeriscaping on your own, you might need to consider some important aspects. Check some useful xeriscaping tips below.

Change the grass for gravel

Gravel can be replaced for grass in a xeriscape. When you consider the time and effort required to rake and maintain a lush, grassy lawn, xeriscape begins to sound appealing. Consider using gravel and hardscape pavers as an alternative to ground cover in dry or heavily trafficked areas.

Consider seasonal interest

Carefully choosing plants allows you to enjoy the beautiful effect of dried bouquets billowing throughout the garden in autumn and winter. This way, you can enjoy a custom-made garden all year round. Planting different flowers, cacti, and succulents will make your garden look perfect, combined with rock and other garden materials.

Select plants carefully

According to Love Your Landscape, you should choose your plant material for drought tolerance and for its overall aspect. Since various areas of your property might have different amounts of moisture and sunlight, you should choose plants accordingly. Native plants in your area usually make good xeriscaping choices.

Improve your soil

Good soil retains moisture and promotes healthy plant growth. Consider incorporating compost or other organic soil types. Keep in mind that different plants have different soil requirements. For example, there are native plants that require a lot of organic material. It’s always a good idea to consult a landscaper for more information.

Tend your xeriscape regularly

Once established, xeric landscapes require little maintenance. However, a landscape is dynamic and requires proper care to maintain visual and safety standards. Pruning, fertilizing, aerating, and other tasks should be done regularly to keep your landscape looking perfect.
plants for xeriscaping and a set of stairs


Your choice when choosing between zeroscaping and xeriscaping shouldn’t be too hard now. If you still need help deciding, here’s our expert opinion:

Redoing your entire yard can be challenging to follow on your own. Consider working with a professional landscape architect when you plan to create a xeriscape yard. It is easier for you to get the garden of your dreams and ensure that your specific landscape requirements are met.

At Land Designs By Colton, we match refined creativity with professional installation to give you a perfect xeriscape landscape. As certified landscape architects, we offer landscaping services and deck building services in Denver, Englewood, Arvada, Centennial, Littleton, and more of Colorado.