Steve and I took a GRI class last week in pursuit of more knowledge about current real estate trends and practices. I always find these educational courses to be informative and helpful.
My biggest “take away” from this class was when one of my fellow classmates, who drove over 900 miles from El Paso for the 4-day class, shared with us the current landscaping requirements in El Paso. ALL new homes there are now being required to use xeriscape landscaping in the front yards because of the water shortage.
I wonder how long before the same requirement comes to Austin?
So Saturday as I was taking my buyer clients around looking at different houses, I was pointing out features that I may have overlooked in the past. One home had full gutters and a rain barrel capture system in place which I highlighted as a plus. Also, in the very small fenced in front yard where there was mostly Bermuda grass, I suggested, “You can take this grass out and put in xeriscape with native Texas landscaping”.
This whole idea of “no grass” front yards has really got me thinking.
Why do we have all our front yards full of St Augustine and other grasses that need so much water to maintain? Why not take out all or at least some of the grass in our front yards and replace it with xeriscaping which will be much more beautiful and need much less water?
“What is xeriscaping?” you may ask. Here is Wikapedia’s definition:
“Xeriscaping and xerogardening refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift. Although xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening, it is usually promoted as a substitute for Kentucky bluegrass lawns.”
With the population of Austin expected to double by 2030 to over 3M people in the metro area, and water supply quickly becoming a bigger issue, we are going to see a lot more landscaping requirements and watering restrictions. It might be a good idea to be prepared and get ahead of the game starting to invest in more native and drought resistant plants now. Looking at my own yard, it’s mostly lawn like, most of our neighbors’ yards as well. I’m already starting to think of some design ideas.
One of my favorite sources for landscaping plants and supplies and knowledgeable attendants that can answer any of your questions about your project large or small is The Natural Gardener Located on Old Bee Cave Road. Here is a link to their website: http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com.