Benefits and Detriments of Xeriscaping

Published: October 28, 2021

Xeriscape landscaping or short xeriscaping is a sustainable design approach with water-vise principles, drought-tolerant vegetation, and lawn alternatives such as rock, gravel, or mulch. Nowadays this type of design is becoming more and more popular because environmental education is stepping up to a higher level.

Let’s explore some pros and cons of this design method and find out if it's just a trend or a real deal.



Reducing environmental footprint must be a priority for all of us therefore water conservation should be implemented into all landscape designs. That is exactly what xeriscaping is meant to do. Drought tolerant plants with mulch or pebbles as a groundcover instead of grass will save a lot of water. Drip irrigation systems are recommended considering their ability to efficiently deliver water and nutrients directly to the plant roots.


Xeriscaping might be considered boring but proper plant selection and design can lead to outstanding results. Choices are endless with many different types of succulents, flowy ornamental grasses, flowering perennials, and shrubs as well as a number of tree and palm species. Combinations of contrasting textures of plants and rocks bring interest all year round.


While xeriscaping is typically achieved in dry climates it doesn’t mean that it can’t flourish in other locations as well. Try using this method in stubborn areas of your garden where other plants don't display their full potential. Be careful to choose native and non-invasive species, consult with a landscape architect, and check for the special requirements that your city might have.


One of the main reasons why my clients ask for this type of design is because it offers low maintenance. Drought tolerant plants need less pruning since they grow much slower, don’t need expensive fertilizers, and their ability to resist pests and diseases makes them a perfect candidate for your garden. With our busy everyday schedules having a low-maintenance garden is a plus. Many people would rather spend quality time with their family and friends than mowing the lawn every weekend.


The initial investment in a good design and plant material may be higher but when considered in the long term it will save you a lot of money through less maintenance and lower water bills. You don't need to spend money on expensive contractor services especially if the designed area is small, search for some DIY videos on how to install gravel and plant by yourself. The end result will be much more rewarding and you will learn new things.



Lawns require a lot of water for irrigation so it is a huge NO for xeriscaping. For some people, this may be a serious downside since many like the look of a freshly cut lawn and want to use it for relaxation, physical activity, or as a children’s play area. Create a list of the pros and cons of a lawn and decide whether it will be a good investment or just an impulsive purchase.


Xeriscaping may not be considered the most eco-friendly design because the focus is shifted from native to drought-tolerant plants. Every native plant is not drought tolerant but is important for ecosystem empowerment. Creating a disbalance in the environment will affect diversity causing the spread of invasive species, less insect pollination, and dysfunction of natural processes.


Many succulents have thorns and sharp leaves which can be a hazard for small children. Rough groundcovers as chunky rocks with sharp edges may be harsh on their little feet, so make sure to use pea gravel instead of lava rocks. From a young age, kids should learn about plants and what is and isn't safe for them. Spending time connecting with nature is really important for children's upbringing and development.


Early stages of landscape installation may require a lot of money and time, especially if you need to do a dig out all the existing landscape. On top of that pebbles and rocks are harder to transport and more expensive at first than a traditional lawn.

In conclusion, the best option is to start small, do a test with a limited xeriscaped area in your garden to follow the development and results. A good alternative to all xeriscape would be to keep the backyard lush and green while implementing a water-vise design in the front yard.