While “xeriscape” and “waterwise” are essentially the same thing, in our minds there is a difference. Xeriscape celebrates the western scene with rocks and native plants with an overall high plains-desert feel. Waterwise, on the other hand, is what we all have to do with our landscapes—figuring out how to use our resources wisely. We love our hardscapes providing clean lines and organized space. But the land between the patios, sidewalks and pavements is critical for absorbing excess rainfall and preventing flash floods. And hillsides will wash away without either terracing or planting to keep the ground secure.

In starting a new landscape, if we allow new plants enough space to grow to their natural adult size without crowding and use mulch between the plants to keep the soil moist, most will gain their footing and grow. Left with bare ground the soil dries quickly and the plants can suffer. In many of these photos we have a cottage style garden; one that is completely filled in with plants. With good combinations plants with similar needs but varying heights and space requirements can become their own “eco system”. These systems collects, stores and recycles water and nutrients. They require less water and after maturity require less mulch too.