Why Xeriscape?

If you want your garden to give you the maximum enjoyment and value for your expenditure of time and money, xeriscaping is the answer! Xeri (rhymes with terra) is the Greek word for dry. Xeriscaping is gardening with the natural environmental conditions you live in rather than fighting against them.

How to Xeriscape will guide you in creating beautiful, sustainable, water-wise landscapes. Rather than a specific look, xeriscaping is a method of landscaping that can be applied to almost any style of landscape or garden. There are hundreds of plants that thrive in low water conditions. Many of them are plants we commonly use in our gardens now.

By following the Seven Principles of Xeriscape, including choosing plants which thrive in the Okanagan’s specific region and climate, you can have a lush, healthy garden which requires minimal irrigation, maintenance, and pest control.

By adopting xeriscape techniques you can create a beautiful, sustainable landscape, eliminating chemical use, conserving water and creating habitat for birds and butterflies.

Most important:
RELAX and ENJOY your garden!

The Okanagan Environment

View of Okanagan Lake from Paul's TombThe Okanagan Valley features a string of seven lakes along its length of approximately 160 kilometres (100 miles). The valley was carved out by glaciers during the last ice age occurring in about 16,000 B.C. Today, the Okanagan Valley is a semi-arid climate, and includes the only desert in Canada at its southern end. The average annual precipitation is about 280 millimetres (11 inches).

Okanagan hillside showing natural xeriscapeNatural vegetation along the valley bottom, which is at about 300 metres in altitude (1,000 feet), is predominantly Ponderosa Pine and Bluebunch Wheatgrass habitat, along with cactus, Rabbitbrush and sagebrushes in the south.

Arrow-leaved BalsamrootThe land slopes up on either side of the mainstem lakes to 500 metres (1,700 feet) on the benchlands. Here in spring, the showy Arrow-leaved Balsamroot turn the hillsides yellow with their blooms against a backdrop of abundant white-flowered Saskatoon bushes. In summer the hills turn brown as the grasses die back for lack of rain. A fall feature is the red berries of the sumac, paired with the grey foliage of the sagebrushes and vivid yellow bloom of Rabbitbrush.

Mule deer in the Okangan landscapeWildlife include white-tailed and mule deer, yellow-bellied marmot, coyotes, cougars, lynx, black bears and the occasional grizzly bear, as well as moose and elk at higher elevations, and small populations of California bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

The valley has the greatest diversity and population density of bats of any region in Canada and it is host to more than 330 species of birds, more than 200 of which breed locally. Many plant and animal species are found nowhere else in Canada and due to development and human activity many are threatened with extinction.