Summer is the time when we turn to our yards for playing, entertaining, and relaxing. It’s known that a well landscaped yards increase property value — and your own enjoyment of your home.

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

But this year, hot and dry is summer’s hallmark. Record droughts and potential water restrictions can lead to deteriorating lawns and high water bills. So what’s a homeowner to do?

If you’re considering updating your landscaping either to improve your home’s value or increase your daily enjoyment, it’s time to consider xeriscaping. With proper planning, xeriscaping can bring gorgeous landscaping that needs 50% – 70% less water than a lawn to thrive. Xeriscaping typically relies on local plants accustomed to the climate, which makes them easier to care for, according to a recent article in It can include turf, but in less of your yard. And colorful perennials can be part of the picture, too.

Here are some tips on adding sustainability and value to your home with xeriscaping from and Colorado State University (CSU) Extension.

Tip #1: Work in sections
Divide your yard into sections and tackle one at a time, defining the project into areas you can finish in a weekend. When you are ready, you can take on the next section.

Tip #2: Reduce irrigated turf a bit at a time
Avoid narrow strips of turf, hard to maintain corners, and isolated islands of grass that need special attention, advises CSU extension experts. Not only is maintenance more costly, but watering becomes difficult, often wasteful. Start with areas out of sight, but requiring valuable water — like behind the bushes or that narrow strip of lawn that runs beside your house. Replace the unseen areas with mulch and redesign your side lawn with native grasses, flagstone walkways and decorative rock.

Mulches can be either organic or inorganic. To improve your soil, use organic mulches including wood chips and bark. Rock or gravel is inorganic much.

Tip #3: Get to know your grasses
CSU notes native grasses — one of the dominant plants in the Colorado plains — have become popular landscaping additions. “Ornamental grasses add important elements to gardens that no other group of plants can — texture, color, and movement,” writes CSU. “Few plants can match ornamental grasses for ease of cultivation, their glowing beauty, and movement.”

Tip #4: Plant drought-tolerant perennials
Lavender, yarrow, echinacea, and coreopsis are just a few of the perennials that describes as ideal plants for your landscaping. These four and many others thrive in Colorado. Check with your gardening specialist for suggestions on how to add color and texture to your landscaping.

Tip #5: Plant in zones
To conserve water and have a thriving landscape, put plants that need similar amounts of water and sun together. Then you can install drip irrigation and set the timer to water each area as frequently — or infrequently — as needed.

Tip #6: Make a plan
Get a visual perspective and make a layout of your plan. Software can help, but even a simple hand-drawn sketch can work. Turn to the Internet for examples to guide you.

Tip #7: Go low-flow
Sprinkler mists are no longer needed. Instead, sprinkler droplets and drip irrigation water your plants more efficiently. For some plants, “watering more than once a month can serve as overkill,” writes

Tip #8: Relish freedom from mowing
Native grasses, perennials, mulches and rocks don’t need mowing. With much less turf grass, you’ll spend far less time mowing or listening to the sound of someone else mowing. Can you say peace and quiet? It’s one more benefit of xeriscaping your landscape.

Tip #9: Enjoy added home value
Prospective home buyers love a well-designed and easy to maintain yard. With the hotter, drier trend of Boulder County weather now and likely in the future, the benefits of xeriscaping are clear.

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By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, email Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit