use of plant materials (usually native plants) and practices that minimizes water use. Term for environmentally friendly form of landscaping (see minimum irrigation).
Xeriscaping is the process of landscaping or gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other regions as access to irrigation water is becoming limited. Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening.
In some areas, terms as water-conserving landscapes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and smart scaping are used instead. Plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate are emphasized, and care is taken to avoid losing water to evaporation and run-off. The specific plants used in xeriscaping depend upon the climate. Xeriscaping is different from natural landscaping, because the emphasis in xeriscaping is on selection of plants for water conservation, not necessarily selecting native plants.
Public perception of xeriscaping has frequently been negative as many assume that these types of landscapes are ugly expanses of cactus and gravel. However, studies have shown that education in water conservation practices in the landscape can greatly improve the public's perception of xeriscaping.