Making a low-water flower bed [xeriscaped]
Why should you opt for low-water landscaping?
Well, the reasons are legion! We did a whole article on the laws in California and how home-owners are making the switch from water-guzzling lawns to low-water, environmentally friendly options, check it out here:
The rock & plant ratio
So, you’ve decided to get on the ‘water conservation train’, and you want to get started xeriscaping. But what is the right ratio?
There are no rules, but we suggest starting with a 90% rock and 10% plant, and if that is too barren for you, then you can bump it up from there. As long as you’re using native plants (which will be naturally water-friendly), you cannot go wrong!
What materials do I need?
In today’s example we’re going to discuss converting a small flower bed, (around 50 square feet).
The geniuses over at Home Advisor have done us all a huge favor and made a ‘landscape rock coverage calculator”. Check it out here, to determine how much rock you need to buy!
In addition to the rock, you’ll need contractor/garden staples (4 1/2 inch), and plastic bedding.
We need to lay plastic bedding in order to prevent weeds from growing up through the landscape rock.
How do I choose the color of the stone?
Remember that ‘contrast is key’ when it comes to design, and color. That doesn’t mean that you can’t break this rule or that it is ‘set in stone’ (pun FULLY intended), but it does mean if you want to make things a simple and no-brainer as possible, pick a stone color that contrasts with the rest of the grounds. If the grounds are light, then consider a darker stone. If your grounds are more of a dark color, then consider a lighter stone. Try to go with neutral colors, as you don’t want to compete with the color of your plants and flowers. The stones should ‘blend in’.
How do I install the landscape rock?
1. Measure out the space that you’ll be xeriscaping, and determine the square footage.
2. Ensure you have enough plastic bedding to cover the area.
3. Unroll the plastic bedding and start covering over the entire space. Start from one end and work towards the other end. Keep in mind, you are placing this plastic bedding OVER The plants, completely covering them. Don’t worry! We’re going to address that in the next step. For now, just cover the entire space, including all plants and flowers. If you have brick edging, tuck the plastic bedding under the brick, don’t cut it off.
4. Locate the top & center of every plant and flower in the bed. Take a razor and cut an ‘x’ into the plastic bedding. Then with your hands, stretch this ‘x’ shape out, so that it now can fit over the plant.
5. Ensure the ‘hole’ you make in the bedding for each plant has at least a radius of one foot around the edges of the plant, this will allow water to reach the roots.
6. Find the edges of the plastic bedding and take the contractor staples and push them through the edge of the plastic, into the soil, all around the perimeter of the garden/flower bed. Use intervals of three feet in between each staple.
7. Finally we get to the fun part! Pile on the rock! Use a wheel barrel to make carrying easier. Bring over batches of rock and spread it out, liberally over the space. You don’t want it so thin that you see the plastic bedding. In this case less is not more!
8. Stand back and behold your masterpiece!
Where should you get YOUR landscape rock?
At Kalamazoo we have a wide selection of rock for your landscaping needs. Check out our catalogs, we’re confident we have the size and color that you need, no matter what type of project you have!