xeriscaping DIY |  How to save water in Boise lawncare

xeriscaping DIY | How to save water in Boise lawncare

When Yoni Melchert’s North End home’s watering system began to fail last fall, that was the end of her garden line—but not because she wasn’t able to water it.

The Boise native recently replaced her fence and will have to dig up her garden to remove failed watering lines. Melchert decided it was the perfect time to overhaul her property with drought-tolerant plants that can withstand heat and direct sun to expose her south- and west-facing home.

Melchert is one of a growing number of Boise residents turning to xeriscapingor landscapes that conserve water, to reduce their water use, restore native plants and help local pollinators.

“I am tired of fighting our heavy clay soil,” Melchert said.

She started renovating her yard this spring. Six months later, the property was transformed with gravel mulch, cherry blossom buds, and a patch of freshly seeded drought-tolerant grass that would require no mowing to maintain. Melchert said she still has other plans for the space, but the process taught her a lot about landscaping in the Boise desert environment — including how others might do the same.

Boise homeowners can perform hair removal on their own

milshirt work with Teravita Landscaping Company To build a blueprint for her property, taking into account the intense sunlight on both sides of her property and the shade of her backyard. Then she rolled up her sleeves.

“We tried to do as much as humanly possible,” she told the Idaho Statesman. “We can dig holes, we can put plants in the ground.”

Peggy Faith, Owner and Headquarters of Boise Sherik Landscaping Company, he said, that many people choose to go down the same road as Melchert. Faith offers landscaping, remodeling and installation services – she does landscaping at the Modern Hotel downtown – but also consults with those who want to do the work themselves.

“A lot of these things homeowners can do on their own,” Faith told Statesman in an interview. “I can participate as people wish.”

The first step for most people is to remove the existing lawn. Faith website Define some options To do this, including the use of herbicides or a lawn cutter. She said her preferred method—and the least labor-intensive method—is to smother the grass. This can be done with plastic tarps left on the lawn long enough to block out the water and sun, or with thick layers of natural materials such as cardboard or newspaper. The latter can be left on the ground, Faith said, where it will act as a barrier for weeds before they decompose and release nutrients into the soil.

Faith also encouraged planting in the fall, when drought-tolerant plants have more time to establish the deep root systems that keep them alive in Idaho’s dry summer conditions. Before you plant, here are some tips from Faith and Melchert on clearing your property.

Do your research

Melchert said one of the most helpful parts of her renovation was asking questions in the community. I bought plants in Riders Wing High Desert Nursery, a local zerk plant nursery, and got guidance from owner Diane Jones. I was able to find plants that were excited about their growth and knew how to take care of them, including those that create habitat and food for native pollinators like bees.

At Faith Consulting, she helps educate homeowners about what will work in their yards and how to care for their new plants. Sometimes clients have unbreakable trees or plants that they hope to keep, she said, and she has to work with them to make sure their new dry plans don’t cause existing plants to die.

We have a plan

When it comes to landscaping, there is a lot to consider. Which parts of your property get the most sun or shade? What types of plants thrive in these conditions? What areas may require more or less water, and how can you group plant species to avoid over- or under-watering?

Melchert said she noticed a spot in her yard that collects water when it rains. She created a dry riverbed with stones to help direct rain to her plants in the future.

Planning can also be crucial to keeping plants alive. Faith said she often installs plants when they are very young, so she uses small wire cages to protect them from being stepped on by people or gnawing at hungry critters.

start small

Melchert said it’s not necessary to complete Xeriscaping in one fell swoop — especially because it can be expensive at times.

She advised starting with a small area like a lawn mower – a patch of grass between the road and the sidewalk – to start conserving water without undertaking a huge project.

“Find a place that drives you crazy and come back on the few weekends,” Melchert said.

Tailor made to your needs

Millert kept a small drought tolerant garden for her dogs. Faith said many of her clients are also concerned about removing the lawn altogether if they have pets or children. She recommends planting buffalo grass or other native herbs that use less water and require less maintenance.

Clover said her meadow Became famous Having been featured on TikTok, it’s also an option, although it feeds non-native honeybees rather than native Idaho bee species.

Faith said she also tries to create realistic gardens for her owners. You’ll recommend different plants to someone who doesn’t want any more maintenance than someone who doesn’t accept spending a few hours weeding.

“I want them to love their garden, so I want to design it to match their lifestyle,” Faith said.

While xeric gardens need regular watering while the plants are established, many do not need additional watering once they are mature.

be patient

Faith has a saying about xeric gardens: “The first year sleeps, the second year crawls and the third jumps.”

It can take a bit for drought-resistant gardens to start growing, and even as the plants mature they are not as showy as some traditional garden plants. It takes about three years for her designs to begin to show their full potential, Faith said, and continue to improve over time.

“Most people at first are like, ‘Oh, three years, that’s too long! ‘But you know, it just flies,’ said Faith.

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Nicole Blanchard is part of the Idaho Statesman Investigation and Oversight Teams. They also cover the Idaho outdoors and frequent trails around Idaho. Raised in Idaho, Nicole graduated from Idaho State University and Northwestern University with a master’s degree in journalism.
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