Tips for Landscaping
In Arkansas, a surprising A common water-efficient To conserve water and increase
amount of water is used daily in concept is known as xeriscape. the health of plants, add organic
home landscapes. Water authori- This is a concept developed in matter to the existing soil. This
ties have reported that as much Colorado in response to annual will increase the soil’s ability to
as 70 percent of water from water shortages. This style of land- store water for the plant to use.
municipal water systems can be scape design depends primarly on Mix organic matter in with the
attributed to residential use. Of rainfall and relies little on supple- top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Organic
all the water used in one house- mental water. Landscapes that matter also helps with drainage
hold during the summer months, follow water-conserving principles and to relieve compaction of hard
almost 50 percent is used to can remain beautiful, require less soils. Remove all weeds and
maintain landscape plantings. labor and are water efficient. grasses in areas; they will compete
with new plants for nutrients and
In some areas of the state,
water in the soil.
water supplies may be limited or Water Conservation
restricted and can be expensive to
purchase. However, the home- Principles Use Practical Turf Areas
owner does not have to sacrifice Turf is the largest user of
color and beauty in order to prac- Planning and Design water in the home landscape. It
tice water conservation in the Creating a water-efficient carries with it a high cost in
plantings and maintenance of land- landscape begins with a practical money and time to maintain. Use
scapes. Peak usage of water comes plan for design. Analyze your area turf only in areas where it serves a
during the hot summer months with locations of existing turf areas, purpose, as in areas of entertain-
(May, June, July and August). trees and shrubs. Consider the ment and play. When deciding on
During this period, it is very budget, function, appearance and a turf, select a variety suited for
important to follow water maintenance of the landscape the climate of Central Arkansas.
efficiency plans set forth by the plans. Be aware of different climate Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are
water authorities. aspects of the area: amounts of sun, the two best types of warm-season
shade and slope. Local professional turf that do well in the hot, dry
The Concept of landscape architects and designers
can help in proper decision-making
climate of this region. These turfs
are water-efficient grasses.
Traditional and and implementing the desires of Consider replacing nonessential
the homeowner. turf areas or shady areas with other
Xeriscape Landscaping groundcovers, patios, hardscapes
The traditional concept of Soil Analysis and Preparation or mulches.
landscape is characterized by large Soil testing is an important part
areas of turf with trees and shrubs
of every successful landscape. It
placed throughout. This type of
determines which nutrients are Always keep a well-maintained
landscape contains the two
needed to improve existing soil. and efficient sprinkler system.
greatest consumers of water in
Contact your local county Exten- Check your system regularly for
the landscape. Conventional
sion office for proper directions on broken heads, disrupted nozzles,
landscaping can be costly for the
how to collect a soil sample. leaks or faulty valves. Do not
homeowner to maintain.
water driveways, sidewalks or water by reducing evaporation. It
streets. Water only when necessary, also helps to eliminate erosion and
and adjust your irrigation system prevent competition for nutrients
with changes in weather. Rain shut- from weeds. Mulch should be
off devices should be installed on applied to the entire area at 1 to
all irrigation systems. These 3 inches in depth.
devices are a major contributor to
water conservation. Appropriate Maintenance
When using a hose-type Heavy pruning of plants leads
sprinkler, use a timer device to drought-tolerant plants are to excessive growth and extra
eliminate water running for exces- established, they use far less water needs. Lightly prune plants
sive periods of time. Use efficient water than other plants. to shape and direct their growth.
watering systems such as soaker or Homeowners can reduce weeds by
drip hoses that limit water output. • Group plants together hand pulling weeds in the early
Only operate irrigation systems in according to water needs. This stages, preventing the spread of
the early morning hours. This will help to properly utilize weed seeds. Properly timed appli-
reduces evaporation of water and is every bit of water that is dis- cations of herbicides and insecti-
best to maintain plant health. tributed. Local nurseries and cides can also contribute to water
Apply water infrequently and the county Extension office can conservation. Apply nutrients only
deeply to plants to ensure that supply needed knowledge of when plants need them, and use a
roots will grow deep and healthy. the plants that are practical for slow-release formula of fertilizer.
Always follow watering
Plant Selection guidelines or restrictions set forth
• Select drought-tolerant plants by the water municipalities. These
that are proven to grow well in Mulch any organic material recommendations are put into
the Central Arkansas climate. that covers the soil around plants. place to ensure water is available
Tree bark, compost or inorganic for household use. Homeowners
• Consider using native plants materials, such as lava rock, are should help educate their family
that grow and are adapted to options homeowners can use. and neighbors on the importance of
your climate zone. When Mulch helps the soil conserve water conservation.
This tip sheet was written by MARK BROWN, Pulaski County Extension Agent - Water Conservation with
the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture in Little Rock.
Printed by University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Printing Services.
University of Arkansas, United States Department of Agriculture and County Governments Cooperating
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.