Xeriscaping in Commercial Properties 

July 18, 2022 | By: Kathryn Kavanagh

Xeriscaping is a form of landscaping that requires little to no irrigation. This system can help reduce costs associated with installation and maintenance of plants and irrigation systems.  

Xeriscaping usually utilizes drought-tolerant plants like succulents and plants native to your property’s area.  

“It’s a technique that’s employed to reduce your irrigation requirements. Typically, you’re going to use native and adapted plants” says Joe Sorbet, Director of Engineering for Collaborative Real Estate 

According to National Geographic, Denver, Colorado was one of the first urban cities to utilize xeriscaping. In this instance, xeriscaping was implemented to reduce the effects of a drought.  

Effect of Xeriscaping 

Xeriscaping reduces maintenance costs and encourages landscaping professionals to utilize native plants. Native plants are enormously beneficial to pollinators like honeybees and butterflies and native birds who use these plants as food and shelter.  

Xeriscaping reduces water use and costs associated with high water usage. “Just by the nature of it being xeriscape you’re going to use less water” adds Sorbet.  

According to Sorbet, after his organization switched to xeriscaping, their irrigation water usage decreased by 90 percent. Additionally, xeriscaping not only reduces water usage but can also help reduce energy usage as well. The reduction of energy used to treat and deliver water to a property not only saves money but also reduces their carbon footprint.  

“Something that people don’t take into consideration is that there’s a carbon cost to water usage. Around 2 percent of the of the total electrical consumption in the United States is dedicated to treating and delivering water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use” adds Sorbet.  

Sorbet explains that planting drought tolerant or low maintenance trees provides shade which in turn can reduce a building’s air conditioning use. He also adds that the trees and shrubs help improve the air quality in the building’s area.  

How to Make the Switch 

Sorbet’s organization began their xeriscaping transition in an effort to reduce their utility expenses.  

However, xeriscaping looks different all around the world. Sorbet juxtaposes the colorful Hydrangeas and Encores in Atlanta, Georgia versus various succulents found in Phoenix, Arizona to explain the diverse needs of different regions. Making sure you’re choosing the right vegetation for your property is vital to the success of a xeriscape landscape. Native plants thrive in their known environments because they have adapted to certain climates over many years. 

The largest expense associated with transitioning to a xeriscape landscape is removing your current landscape to plant drought resistant or native plants. Altering your irrigation system to accommodate less need for water like a drip irrigation system can also be a large expense. 

These alternative sprinkler systems will save water as conventional sprinkler systems allow evaporation to take place, resulting in an ineffective use of water while drip irrigation targets lower areas on the plant to help prevent evaporation.  

After installation costs, xeriscape landscapes need little maintenance because they do not need regular watering or usually any watering at all. Xeriscaping saves time, money, water, energy, and more.  

Xeriscaping Technology and Research 

“The real forward-thinking technology is even though it’s a reduced irrigation requirement, still micromanaging that irrigation requirement for your xeriscape landscape and having satellite control of your irrigation and monitoring the weather conditions, et cetera” indicates Sorbet.  

Understanding xeriscaping is the first step towards maintaining a minimal maintenance landscape. Making educated decisions about your landscape can reduce spending down the line.  

“Ultimately, in the long run over the life of the of the facility, [xeriscaping] is going to save a ton of money” says Sorbet.  

Xeriscaping utilizes drought tolerant or native plants to reduce overall water consumption. But the benefits don’t end there. A reduction in energy usage because of building cooling provided by tree shade and reduced need for water transportation and irrigation systems.  

The trees and other plants provide shade for buildings and shelter for local pollinators as well as reduce water usage, transportation, and lower costs on irrigation system maintenance. Why wait? Explore xeriscaping at your property and explore all the benefits it can bring today! 

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Joe Sorbet, Director of Engineering for Collaborative Real Estate 

Xeriscaping | National Geographic Society 

Commercial Xeriscape Landscaping Services | U.S. Lawns (uslawns.com)