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Introduction

Changes in weather patterns have been facing the globe in the current age. As a matter of fact, the past few decades have seen the rise in levels of global warming, contamination of the land and soil, rise in the sea level among other issues. The most disturbing issue among all the above listed ones though is the fact that water crisis is facing the globe at a very alarming rate. In our country, though, the problem is a major part of the dilemmas facing the various departments responsible for decision making in terms of various issues facing the commons. The state of California has of late come as a striking example of a place that is suffering the effects of global warming in a huge manner. Massive droughts and acute water shortages is becoming a common thing in California as it has even been already announced that may be for the very first time in the history of America, the growing demands of water supply may not be met by the supply system in California.

The water reservoirs in California have been at their lowest levels in history since the year 1992. This is according to a research that was conducted by the Department of Water Resources in California which found out that the main reason behind the situation is the fact that three dry winters that had precipitation falling at below average coupled with snow-packed winter. The water crisis in the city of California has led to uncountable losses in the past couple of years. As a result of this, a repot that came from the University of California indicated the fact that due to the persistent droughts, there will be an estimated 80,000 jobs lost with an equivalent of $2.2 billions of income (California Department of Water Resources 3).

It is therefore very necessary that strategic measures are developed so as to curb the problems that are being caused by the water supply crisis. Further analysis of the results from the studies indicates that the water usage that is resulting to the consequential water shortage owes 50% to landscape and lawns. The fact that domestic water usage has a huge half of it being dedicated to be used for the purposes lawns and landscapes indicate that if at all devices can be formed to reduce the amount of water spent in the lawns and landscapes then domestic water usage can fall largely. It is in this regard that this paper aims at discussing explicitly some of the strategic reasons as to why xeriscaping is considered as the most effective means by which water usage at home can be effectively reduced. This is in consideration of the fact that the method could be applied in all types of yards that are available in a particular residence.

Xeriscaping Background

Two Greek words have been used to develop the common term "xeriscaping" which is common in the modern world. As a matter of fact, the words are 'xeros' and 'scape'which are used to mean 'for dry' and 'a type of a new scene' respectively. From a general point of view or from the angle viewed by laymen, xeriscaping is used to mean landscaping that has slow rate of growth, utilization of crops that are drought tolerant and a huge reduction of the trimmings done to the yard. In this paper, the discussion aims at proving the fact that xeriscaping remains to be one of the best methods that can be used to offer a solution to areas like California that are suffering from a cute water shortage.

Benefits of Using Xeriscaping

The benefits of using xeriscaping as a system to offer a solution to the water shortage range mainly in a sphere of three main dimensions. Xeriscaping helps first of all to reduce the water usage in plants, it is a system that requires usage of less fertilizer and pest control and it requires less maintenance costs.

Reduction the amount or quantity of water usage that xeriscaping requires is a huge reason as to why the method of maintaining lawns is a very effective prospect to be used at this age. This is mainly enhanced by the fact that the system ensures that planting of drought resistant crops is done together with the elimination of areas with green grass. It is estimated that xeriscaping can be able to save the amount of water used to maintain lawns by a huge amount which runs to almost 70% (Las Pilitas Nursery 1). This indicates a huge save of money that is spent on the water bills. Translating this data into my own lawn results to a situation where the current lawn I have consuming 3,500 gallons of water in every month. This consequently means that in every year, I have to spend an amount of 42,000 gallons of water. By reversing the lawn into adopting the xeriscaping system, I would enjoy saving nearly 2450 gallons of water in every single month. This translates into 29,450 gallons in every other year. More analysis indicates that this would be a saving to my expenditure of water in the lawn to seventy per cent (SECWCD Xeriscape 1). Why then on earth would an individual refrain from adopting such an industrious move that is even very cheap to install.

The fact that xeriscaping requires usage of minimal amounts of fertilizer and pest control is very vital in ensuring that xeriscaping is used in California. This is aggravated by the fact that plants that are used in California or the native plants in this area have developed very complicated resistance against the pests and diseases as compared to other regular plants. The reduction on the use of pests and fertilizer on the lawns is a huge boost financially to any home owner since it wills means that the maintenance fees of lawns will be reduced significantly. From a different point of view, reducing on the amount of fertilizer and pests used on the lawns is a huge achievement in attaining a safer environment. By applying minimal amounts of chemicals and sprays in the name of pesticides and fertilizers than the home owner is assured of the fact that harm to living organisms is reduced as well as ensuring that the quality of the air, soil and water remain as optimal as possible.

Finally, it was also mentioned among the benefits of xeriscaping that it requires less maintenance as compared to the landscapes that are used in the traditional set up. The fact that maintenance is required on a reduced scale means that gardening the lawn becomes more stress free and also simplified. This makes life very easy in the 21st century where there are way too many issues to be worried of in life than always checking on the lawn. The busy schedule that is always a characteristic of most of the people's daily schedule is made even more relaxed by the fact that lower weeds to maintain are found in the lawn and that less leaves are available for clean up. Apart from the time resource that is gained from the above advantage in using xeriscaping, it is important to take note of the fact that the reduced rates of maintenance helps ensure that less finance is spent on maintaining a good looking lawn at home.

Xeriscaping's Seven Principle

In order to optimally report the desired results of xeriscaping then it is important that the Seven Principle is followed to the very last step. Planning and design forms the very first step that ought to be followed in the Seven Principle. For a design to be termed as good, then it has to incorporate the fact that plants that have similar requirements for water are grouped together, optimizing the area covered by shade in the garden and preserving optimally the areas that are meant for native vegetation. Grouping plants ensures that very minimal water is used.

Soil improvement forms the next step in the principle. This can be achieved by having an addition of organic matter into the soil prior to the installation of a system of irrigation (Eartheasy 1). Planting ought to be done after the soil has been adequately improved so as to ensure that the root system of the plants develop so as to utilize the deep water in the ground. It is also aimed at ensuring that less water is used in the irrigation system.

Efficient irrigation then fits as the third step. Under this stage, irrigation is made to be optimally important then it is the best hours of the day that the irrigation is done. Hours which have the least amount of heat from the sun so as to ensure that water loss to evaporation is minimized helps reduce wastage of excess water in irrigating the lawns. In regard to the irrigation system that is used in the lawn, it is important to take note of the fact that drip irrigation is the one that ensures optimal water absorption by the plants. As a matter of fact, it ensures that water is released to the soil in manageable drips that are immediately absorbed by the plant. This is further supported by use of effective mulching on the farm. Mulching comes in as a way to ensure that the farmer has minimal amount of water being lost to evaporation. The soil is therefore left moisturized in most of the times.

The very last step involves appropriately choosing the right plants for the lawn. In order to ensure that the optimal amount of water is saved in irrigation, drought resistant crops are chosen to be used in the lawn. In California which is the specific case in the paper are California native plants. Choosing Californian native plants is to ensure that the plants that are planted in the lawn are adaptive to the environment around. It does not necessarily mean that the drought resistant plants to ne used in the lawn are ugly and lack the colorful site that is needed for the beautiful aspect of the lawn. An example is the cactus plant which is by far a very effective plant in both utilizing very minimal amounts of water and also brightening the site of the lawn. In my own personal opinion though going for cactus plants would not be an option that I would prefer for the xeriscaping in my lawn. I would actually prefer to have very colorful plants which would attract birds and butterflies to the lawn.

It is in this regard that I would prefer to have pallete for the garden that I intend to use xeriscaping for. The bright colors like yellow, red and blue would be preferred in this case I would be intending to blend these flowers together with other plants which are the Western Redbud, the California Mountain Lilac, Agave, the Desert Lavender and the Prince.

The beautiful colors coupled with the nice scent of the Wooly Blue Curls made me prioritize in having it as the very first option to be planted in my lawn. The fact that the plant is also an attraction site to humming birds is also another factor that led me into selecting it for the lawn to undergo xeriscaping. It is also among the top ten California friendly plants due to its tolerance to the climate in the region and the soil too. In regard to the flowers, I would snub them and go fro trees instead. This is due to the advantage that they offer in terms of the shading effect. I would therefore go for the Western Redbud, the California Mountain Lilac and the Desert Lavender.

The creation of the new lawn is then ready to go after the identified plants are bought either from Las Pilitas and Theodore Payne Society. choosing on Las Pilitas Nursery, the seeds of Desert Lavender for  could be acquired at $14.99 for a gallon, Wooly blue Curls $9.99 for a gallon, Western Redbud and Agave $8.99 for a gallon, California Mountain Lilac, Canyon Prince California Brittlebush and Dessert Willow $7.99 for a gallon. Based on the size of my lawn, I need approximately 14 gallons of Dessert Lavender, Wooly Blue Curls, California Mountain Lilac, 13 gallons of Western Redbud and California Brittle bush, 8 gallon of Agave and Canyon Prince, and 5 gallon of Desert Willow (Eartheasy 1). The seeds expenditure would be $844.11. Pine bark mulch would cost me around $150. Thus, a total cost of $554.69 would help facilitate xeriscaping my lawn. The long term benefits for the exercise are way too rewarding that the initial cost of the project should not be a bother at all.

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