The Achenbach Garden, designed by Waterwise Landscape Design, placed second in the professionally designed category of the 2011 Okanagan Xeriscape Garden contest.
It had been a front yard of poor lawn and an unkempt water-thirsty cedar hedge. First, the lawn, weeds, and cedars were removed. A few weeks later, more weeding was done before bringing in high quality topsoil for planting areas. Plants were chosen for low maintenance, and low water needs. They are well-spaced to allow for mature size. A drip watering system was installed with custom emitters used to accommodate plants with different water needs. The soil was then mulched with three inches of Ogogrow.
With two exceptions, the xeriscaping principles have been followed well. The existing birch tree will need extra water, especially as it is surrounded by gravel. The theme of the garden, “Japan meets Okanagan”, includes a very water-thirsty Japanese Maple. For the record, I strongly recommend against using them as they do not do well in our heat and dry air. This one is getting extra water, is well mulched and a distance away from the hot reflective rocks so it may manage, but it would be happier in a shaded spot.
The steps taken in the xeriscaping process were:
- Landscape plan in place before work started
- Cedars and lawn removed
- Top layer of weeds removed and more weeding done before installation to reduce weeding maintenance
- Excellent quality topsoil brought in
- Low water, drought tolerant and low maintenance plants used
- Drip irrigation installed with custom emitters to each plant for its particular water need
- Tree with higher water need (Japanese Maple) given extra irrigation emitters
- Soil mulched with 3” Ogogrow.
Photo credits: Kathleen Achenbach